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Having a Great Summer BBQ

Updated on May 30, 2011

It’s summer time and what better way to spend the sunny days than to have a summer BBQ. A truly great summer BBQ has three main components. The first being great food, followed by great atmosphere and great people. This may seem like common sense, but sometimes bringing it all together can be a little challenging. I have put together a few tips and recipes to help you bring together all the components of a great summer BBQ.

Great Food

Well when most people think of a BBQ the first thing they think of is the food. So obviously to have a great BBQ you need to have great food. You don’t have to get fancy with the food you just have to make sure it is good. There are a lot of different options; you could go traditional with hamburgers and hot dogs, or you could branch out a bit by adding chicken and steak or ribs. Personally I also love to have shish kabobs at a BBQ.

Now that we’ve talked about the meat, let’s talk about the side dishes. There are any number of side dishes you could go with. And as with the meat selections you have a couple of different routes the simple or the more diversified. The simple route would be something to the effect of potato salad, baked beans, and maybe some corn on the cob. The more diversified route may include pasta salad, fresh steamed veggies or a fruit salad. I usually like to limit side dishes to three the exception being if you’re having a fruit salad since it can serve as a dessert. That gives guest a variety to choose from without being overwhelmed.

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Great Atmosphere

Since food is the first thing you think of when thinking of a BBQ; I like to tie that into the next component of a great summer BBQ which is the atmosphere. The best way to tie those together is by having interesting and tasty appetizers and of cool refreshing cocktails.

One of my favorite quick easy appetizers that is always a crowd pleaser is fresh fruit with dip. It takes less than 15 minutes to put together depending on how much fruit you need.

Fruit Dip:

1 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
2 c. Kraft Marshmallow Creme (7 oz. jar)

Blend cream cheese and marshmallow creme until smooth. Chill until ready to serve.

I told you the dip recipe was easy didn’t I. Now for the fruit I like to get a water melon, honey dew, grapes, and strawberries. The grapes and strawberries are easy just rinse them off and your good to go. For the water melon and honey dew grab a melon balled and started making little melon balls. You’ll want to save any extra water melon and strawberries for the cocktails. (see below)

Once you’ve put the dip together and cut up the fruit all you have to do is pop it in the fridge until the BBQ starts. To keep everything cool put some ice in a bowl and set it on a platter or a large plate. Put the dip in a smaller bowl and sit it on top of the ice then arrange the fruit on the platter around the bowl of ice.

Now for the cocktail (my favorite part!);

Watermelon Slushy

About 4 or 5 cups of watermelon (seedless)

2 oz simple syrup*

2tbsp lemon juice

1 ¼ cups vodka

2 oz melon liqueur

1. Puree water melon in blender

2. Split water melon into 3 fairly equal part and place in the freezer (you can also put into ice cubes and freeze) for about 3-4 hours

3. In blender combine frozen water melon, simple syrup, lemon juice, vodka, and liqueur. Blend until smooth.

4. Serve in martini glasses and garnish with water melon chunk or lemon zest.

I can’t take all the credit for this recipe I ran across it on the internet a while back and have loved it every since.

The best non-alcoholic summer drink recipe is a Virgin Strawberry Daiquiri:


Strawberry Daiquiri Mix

Strawberries (optional)

Combine all ingredients in blender. Blend until smooth.


The great thing about this is that they taste great and kids love them and you can always add a little rum or vodka to it and turn it into a yummy adult beverage.

Now that you have the appetizers and drinks you are half way to having great atmosphere for you summer BBQ. Next you’ll want to burn a couple of CD’s; for one I would suggest fun, relaxing, tropical tunes, for the other I would suggest a mix of oldies and new songs. I say oldies because they more popular ones everyone knows and that’s always fun. The final piece to build atmosphere is going to be an inviting and fun setting. I like to have either summer themed décor on the table. Keep it simple and use summer paper plates and brightly colored disposable silverware.

Yummy appetizers, tasty cocktails, good music, and a fun table come together for a great atmosphere.

Great People

This one’s easy call up your friends and invite them over. Tell them they are in for a great summer BBQ. Full of fun, food, laughs, and smiles.


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    • profile image

      Stewart 3 years ago

      Hi Lisa, I hope you really enjoy your flganimo peppers. They're so fun to work with. Since this recipe is embedded in the photos, there isn't a print function, unfortunately. A smart phone or tablet propped up on the kitchen counter is probably a good bet. I hope you enjoy!

    • Treasuresofheaven profile image

      Sima Ballinger 6 years ago from Michigan

      Nice hub on how to have a BBQue. I will do the Virgin Drink. Great ideas. Thanks!

    • profile image

      trys2 8 years ago

      Great first hub!! It made my long for the smell of smoky meat...and I’m a vegetarian!

    • iyoung03 profile image

      iyoung03 8 years ago from OH

      haha well you could just move the party inside ; )

    • LondonGirl profile image

      LondonGirl 8 years ago from London

      great first hub! here in London, a barbeque has to involve a Plan B in case it's wet (-:

    • iyoung03 profile image

      iyoung03 8 years ago from OH

      Dame Scribe -- Thanks for leaving a comment.

    • Dame Scribe profile image

      Dame Scribe 8 years ago from Canada

      Now that sounds like a great BBQ plus music and we would be set. :) good hub!

    • iyoung03 profile image

      iyoung03 8 years ago from OH

      earnestshub -- thanks for commenting. I also love BBQ so I thought it would be a fitting first hub ; )

    • earnestshub profile image

      earnestshub 8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Excellent first hub. I am Australian. We love barbecues!