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Themed BBQ Party Ideas

Updated on June 14, 2013

10 Great Reasons To Barbecue

10.You are outside, hopefully in the sunshine, what's not to love about that?

9. You don't actually need to own a grill to barbecue, you just buy two or three of those disposable ones. They're cheap and cheerful and can be bought pretty much anywhere.

8. It is very light on crockery use because you can use a bun as a plate for burgers and hot dogs or you can do what I do, buy paper plates. Stuff like sweetcorn and kebabs can be scewered and eaten straight off the grill shelf.

7. It is very interactive, you can share the grilling with almost anyone who offers to help.

6. It's pretty healthy, the fat drips all over the coals instead of staying in the meat.

5. Disposable barbecues are mobile - you can take them to the beach, to the park or to a friend's garden.

4. Barbecued meat goes with every side dish under the sun. If you do a barbecue on a whim, you can just raid your salad drawer and grab all of your dressings, boil a few eggs and cook some pasta to mix with a tomato sauce; boil some rice, you can serve it hot or cold.

3. Your neighbours will have their curtains twitching to see you and your friends and family having fun - it can break down barriers if you're new in the area, wave 'em over, join the fun.

2. Barbecues are not just for meat - try doing a barbecued dessert, they are yummy. I split the skin of bananas and stuff pieces of chocolate in to the banana, rap them in foil and them put them on the grill - very easy and totally delicious.

1. There is NOTHING better than barbecued meat and barbecued fish and seafood eaten outside with the sun on your face and a cold drink in your hand.

An animated barbecuer
An animated barbecuer

Themes For Barbecue Parties

If you're going to throw a barbecue, and it is one that you have planned rather than one of your 'hey everyone come round, the sun is out and I'm firin' up the grill', then I cannot recommend enough throwing a themed barbecue; a barbecue party!

I am lucky that my own birthday is in the Summer so every year, I throw a barbecue party but I always theme it so that everybody gets to dress up for the barbecue.

Last year, we had a 'bad taste' barbecue where everyone had to come dressed in bad taste.

In 2010, I had a 'Jerry Springer Barbecue', guests could only come if they dressed as someone who could be a guest on the Jerry Springer Show, this was hilarious as you can imagine.

I have had a 'Trailer Park Trash' Barbecue Party, I even had lots of junk in my garden and bought a few blow up pink flamingoes.

The list is endless. This year, I have having a 'Hollywood BBQ', complete with a red carpet and I expect some stars to turn up!

Make your own invitations if you are throwing a themed barbecue.

There are lots of fun photos and fonts online to create something on your PC and it will add to the fun.

I also have quizzes at my barbecue parties; music quizzes and photo quizzes are quite fun and you can buy cheap prizes to give to the winners - I buy things like Chinese Lanterns as gifts which people can set free after the barbecue is finished. It is rather nice to see them drifting away in the dusky sky with the sound of people chatting and laughing in the background.

Barbecue goodies
Barbecue goodies
Barbecued kebabs - they look like a work of art!
Barbecued kebabs - they look like a work of art!
The last three burgers on the grill!
The last three burgers on the grill!

Barbecue Party Must Haves

  • Plenty of meat - I stick with kebabs, sausages and burgers but I have done Tiger Prawns and also vegetarian kebabs made with portobello mushrooms, peppers and halloumi cheese.
  • Salad (yeah right, like anybody ever eats it!)
  • Pasta with sauce
  • Sides like coleslaw, humus, breadsticks, buns, baked potatoes, chips, dip, nuts. People are, by nature, nibblers, so always have plenty of nibbly things and you can't really go wrong.
  • Paper or plastic plates and plastic glasses. On your invitation write 'bring a bottle (not milk!), that way people will bring their own booze. You could get a few in for emergencies but I have never had anybody turn up empty handed.
  • Lights in your garden - these don't have to be expensive solar lights, I use candles in those glass cases, I bought them at a Pound Shop, they have citronella in them so this keeps the bugs at bay. Barbecues go on until well into dark and if it's warm, people will happily sit outside in the darkness.
  • Seats - borrow your neighbours if they're invited and just use whatever you have. I have cheap fold up chairs and also some nice wrought iron ones. I have a table outside all year but you can buy a fold- up table fairly cheaply. I also lay a blanket on the lawn.
  • I don't know what it is about being outside that makes people happy but I have yet to go to a barbecue where people have not had the time of their lives; being outside in the sunshine just seems to make people happy.

After the Barbecue

Leave 2 trash bags at the end of the garden or back yard and get people to put bottles and cans in one of them and food waste in the other one. You can recycle the cans and bottles and dispose of the other bag very easily.

Take lots of photographs! I make a 'film' of the barbecue with streamed photos, captions and background music and I burn it to CD. I sometimes have a 'premiere party' and show it at my home, inviting a few friends around for drinks to watch it or I make copies and give them to my friends to watch at home.

It's great to have some memories of the themed barbecues to look back on, it's well worth the effort.

In the Northern hemisphere, Summer is just around the corner. Happy Grilling Everyone!


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    • Jools99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jools Hogg 

      6 years ago from North-East UK

      Mary and Josh, so far us Brits have had no summer to speak of - hoping the start of the Olympics will being in some sunshine and I can get grillin'.

      The Jerry Springer party is still the best one I've ever had - it was a hoot!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      Who doesn't love to barbecue! I loved your ideas..especially the Jerry Springer, I thought that was hilarious. I also loved #3...isn't it our duty to entertain our neighbors?

      Lots of fun to read. Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • josh3418 profile image

      Joshua Zerbini 

      6 years ago from Pennsylvania


      This was a very enjoyable read! Funny, clever and informative all wrapped up into one hub! No wonder it spiked up to 100! Awesome job, and keep up the great work!

    • Jools99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jools Hogg 

      6 years ago from North-East UK

      Debbie, and I would be happy to have you at one of my barbies - in your fancy dress costume of course. The chocolate bananas are so easy to make - and deliciously indulgent!

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 

      6 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      Well we love to barbeque...the idea about banana and chocolate sounds great...wonderful ideas for themes for partys..i would love to come to one of your parties...debbie

    • Jools99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jools Hogg 

      6 years ago from North-East UK

      K9, I have to say, I do like a good barbie and all of my best ones have been 'themed' - I also make videos of them afterwards by streaming photos of them with music etc and make a copy for everyone who was there - when we have a girly night, we watch them again and have a laugh at some of the old barbies and our outfits :o)

    • K9keystrokes profile image

      India Arnold 

      6 years ago from Northern, California

      I love this idea, what better method is there for tempting curious neighbors to join in the fun and get to know you, "wave 'em over" as you say. Fun, good spirited, and full of keen Grilling party ideas. Here's to hoping Brad and Angie got your Hollywood Themed BBQ invitation in time! You got my vote, and my FB share!


    • Jools99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jools Hogg 

      6 years ago from North-East UK

      Audrey, yes barbecued salmon is lovely as is any kind of barbecued seafood. Thanks for commenting.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 

      6 years ago from California

      I love Barbequed fish!! And your hub reminds me that I need to pull out my barbie and clean it up!

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Living in Florida we have BBQ's year-round. There is just something about the flavor of meat cooked on the grill that makes it yummier! You posted some great ideas! Happy cooking!:)

    • Jools99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jools Hogg 

      6 years ago from North-East UK

      Deb,! Ut would never have occurred to me but I love pizza ao why not now that I know it will cook okay on there!

      Angela,dressing up for a bbq is a hoot, I never have one without a theme now - and it's strange how many of my friends look forward to them now, most people love dressing up! (or dressing down).

    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 

      6 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Oh my the themes are so funny! Lot of fun!

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 

      6 years ago from Iowa

      I love a good backyard party. Thanks for sharing your fun ideas. And in reference to your #2 reason to barbecue (it's not just for meat), have you ever tried cooking pizza on the grill? When it's too hot to turn on the oven and we're craving homemade pizza, my husband and I will throw a pizza stone on the grill and cook a pizza.

    • Jools99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jools Hogg 

      6 years ago from North-East UK

      Lobster here in a restaurant would set you back about £50(about $80, I've only ever had it once and it was gorgeous. I can just imagine what it's like barbecued. I have marinaded meats for the bbq. I do it for 24 hours and the flvour is really intense. One of my favourite things ever are the barbecued ribs from Rainforest Cafe at Downtown Disney, amazing!

      Thanks for your comment!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      It's the same in the USA! lol. I think the cheapest lobster was like $30 here? I know the lobster-tails go for like $15. Still, We splurge on it once a year!

      Oh, have you tried marinating your barbecued meats? You could try grilling a steak that's been marinating in a Hickory sauce!

    • Jools99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jools Hogg 

      6 years ago from North-East UK

      Keith, lobster...yummy, but sadly beyond my humble means, UK is an island but fish and seafood is still very expensive! I'll have to stick to burgers, sausages and maybe king prawns.

      Thanks so much for your comment!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      No one ever eats the salad...well, maybe 1 person out of 50 does! Every summer, my family and I have quite a few of simple barbecue get-togethers, but we never thought about a theme! I'm definitely gonna try that out. Oh, have you ever tried freshly grilled lobster (from coal, not gas!) with some garlic butter? It is absolutely the best!

    • Jools99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jools Hogg 

      6 years ago from North-East UK

      Stephanie, thanks for the clicking :o), the best one I've done so far was a bad taste one for my 40s (9 years ago now, urgh!) which was an absolute hoot; I still lok at the photos now when I need a cheer up.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 

      6 years ago from USA

      I never thought about a themed BBQ party, but it sounds like fun! Love the "bad taste" theme...some of the guys who wear shorts with white socks and sandals will fit right in without even trying! :) Well written, interesting and useful hub. Shared and pinned!

    • Jools99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jools Hogg 

      6 years ago from North-East UK

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting Rolly, your BBQ sounds very nice too :o)

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 

      6 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Great hub with many ideas... there are no limits when it comes to the barbecue on my back deck. Anything is fair game. I great time to have the iPad out there and enjoy the smell of something cooking slowly.

      Hugs from Canada

    • Jools99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jools Hogg 

      6 years ago from North-East UK

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting Phil, weather here still freezing, can't wait for some sunshine to get the BBQ going again.

    • Phil Plasma profile image

      Phil Plasma 

      6 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      You've got some good tips in there - the theme idea is a great one. We just yesterday had our Cinco de Mayo party and it was a BBQ.

      Voted up and interesting.

    • Jools99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jools Hogg 

      6 years ago from North-East UK

      Momster, thanks for dropping by and commenting; sunshine, food, drink, friends and family - a perfect combination.

    • momster profile image


      6 years ago

      Awesome hub. Great ideas for just having a good time. Thanks for answering my question. Sorry so long to see your hub. Voted up.

    • Jools99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jools Hogg 

      6 years ago from North-East UK

      Peggy, I certainly do! They have become almost 'legendary' (in a small, just amongst my friends sort of way) :0) Thanks so much for your comment.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      It sounds like you have a lot of fun with your barbecue parties! Voted up and useful. :)

    • Jools99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jools Hogg 

      6 years ago from North-East UK

      Lesley, thanks for your comment. Yes, roll on summer, we can watch the Olympics on our laptops in the garden while the bbq is cooking!

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 

      6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Jools, your party's sound great fun!

      Let's hope we get lot's of great BBQ weather this year, really enjoyed this and voted up.

      Best wishes Lesley

    • Jools99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jools Hogg 

      6 years ago from North-East UK

      KoffeeKlatch Gals, Thanks for your kind comments. I am counting down the days to my Hollywood BBQ. Can't wait!

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      6 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I had a good time reading your article. It was full of humor and information. Up and interesting.

    • Jools99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jools Hogg 

      6 years ago from North-East UK

      Chris, many thanks for your kind comment. I am really looking forward to some sunshine here in the UK and a chance to get the barbie fired up! A few months to go before we get any decent sunshine I think.

    • Chris Achilleos profile image

      Chris Achilleos 

      6 years ago

      I have really enjoyed reading this hub Jools99, Voted up and useful :)

    • Jools99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jools Hogg 

      6 years ago from North-East UK

      Nare, many thanks for your kind comment, glad you liked it.

    • Nare Anthony profile image

      Nare Gevorgyan 

      6 years ago

      This is so unique and funny and useful! Thanks.


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