Easy BBQ Party Menus & Ideas for Summer

Bbq grill with sausages, chicken, skewers, and various meats over a flame.

If you’re looking for some easy bbq party menu ideas you’ve come to the right place. We’ve even thrown in some game suggestions and tips to make your event a smashing success.

When to Host Your BBQ

As summer approaches, our thoughts turn to barbecues and outdoor entertaining. Needless to say, with sizzling temperatures above 110 degrees in Arizona summers an outdoor BBQ party can be a challenge.  

However, we Arizona residents have learned to “beat the heat” with backyard swimming pools, misting systems, and awnings. Outdoor entertaining after 6 pm during the months of June, July, and August is always advised.  If you do choose to entertain in the afternoon, be sure you and your guests are well hydrated and that shaded areas are available.  


Where to Host a Summer BBQ Party

Backyards (particularly those with swimming pools for a refreshing dip and misting systems) are always great for intimate parties. Local parks are another good option.  However, BBQ parties do not necessarily need to be outdoors. It is possible to create a casual BBQ style aesthetic in an indoor space.

Warehouses, in particular, are great choices and Arizona has a diverse selection of warehouse event spaces.  If choosing outdoors, we might suggest the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts or Heritage Square, two of our preferred venues with unique outdoor areas.

Or consider a BBQ catered event in a remote desert area for the opportunity to get as creative as you wish. Creations in Cuisine Catering offers a list of venues throughout Arizona.

Theme and Menu Ideas for Your Summer BBQ

American BBQ Party

A 4th of July Traditional American BBQ Party is a favorite of ours.  A patriotic theme of red, white, and blue enhanced with American flags, stars and stripes as the decorative theme sets the tone for a meal of grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, corn on the cob, and apple pie.

If you’re looking for something a bit more sophisticated than hamburgers and hot dogs, our prime steaks and slow-smoked Prime Rib is an excellent option. And don’t forget the home-made ice cream to accompany the apple pie!  Our home-made ice cream is always a big hit at a catered event! And it pairs well with root beer to create fantastic root beer floats.

Western BBQ Party

Western-themed events are very popular in Arizona and the desert provides the perfect setting for Western-themed events.

Think covered wagon, cowboys & cowgirls, checkered tablecloths, cowboy boots, boot-scootin’ music, and throw in a mini-rodeo to truly enhance the event!

When it comes to Western, we suggest this kind of menu:

  • pulled pork
  • brisket
  • grilled sausage
  • cornbread
  • baked beans
  • pecan pie.  

Mouth Watering Pulled Pork Our pulled pork receives many accolades!

In preparation, we brine the pork butt for 24 hours then rub it in oil with our secret spice blend.  We allow it to sit seasoned for at least 24 hours then slow smoke it for almost 5 hours.

To finish our pulled pork we place it in the oven for 3 to 4 hours, covered, on a low heat until the meat literally falls apart.  

Our pulled pork sandwiches are served with three popular BBQ sauces: Apple, Chipotle, and Hawaiian.

pulled pork sandwich on a bun with cole slaw and bbq sauce

Pulled pork sandwich on a bun withcoleslaww and bbq sauce

Mexican Fiesta BBQ Party

What’s not to love about a Mexican fiesta?  The vivid colors and festive music sets the tone for enjoying Mexican cuisine.  Our smoked pork tenderloin quesadillas with mango papaya salsa are a huge hit as are our street taco stations or Tecate marinated flank steak buffet item.

Hawaiian Luau BBQ Party

We have been catering Hawaiian luaus for many years.  

In a desert locale, it’s desirable to create an “island” atmosphere.  A plethora of green, vivid, big flowers, leis, grass skirts, and Hawaiian music… all create the tropical environment.  

Consider a whole suckling pig for a Hawaiian luau. We rub the inside of the pig with a special herb and spice mixture and marinate overnight.  

Our preference is to cook the pig in a fire pit, but we can also cook it in a smoker or on a rotisserie. Plan on at least 12-14 hours preparation time.

Once fully cooked, we serve your suckling pig on a large platter accompanied by beautiful roasted vegetables and our Hawaiian BBQ sauce of course! Additional suggestions for a Hawaiian luau include Kalua pork, chicken katsu, white fish, and shrimp.

To view items from our standard BBQ menu here. And of course, we are always happy to customize a menu for any event.

Games for Fun

Because of the casual atmosphere of BBQ events, games are a great addition to create a fun event and camaraderie.  It’s a great way to bridge the gap between generations and encourages people to mix and mingle. Corn hole remains very popular and can easily be played by all ages, and you might consider “custom” cornhole boards for your event.

Another popular game is ladder ball or ladder golf. This is a newer game, it consists of tossing a golfball bola onto a ladder-like frame.

The ladder has three rungs: top, middle, and bottom. The top rung is three points, the middle; two, and the bottom is three points.  You win by being the only player with 21 points.

A western themed event calls for a game of horseshoes and volleyball or badminton are perfect for a 4th of July event. For a backyard pool BBQ event, pool volleyball is a must!

Summer BBQ Tips

Having had 22 years of experience catering events, we have a few tips for a BBQ catered event:

Buffet or station style is your best choice for BBQ events.  It’s a more casual manner of serving than plated and the types of food served lend themselves well to buffet or stations.  

Weather: Be prepared for weather elements.  Always have a backup plan such as tents or an indoor facility should the weather turn inclement.  Be prepared for wind with decorative weights to secure napkins and paper plates. A catering company will ensure that all weather issues are addressed.

Trash: Plenty of trash cans is a necessity and be sure they are covered to protect from flies and bugs. (Nothing is worse than tons of flies buzzing around your event).

Hydrated Guests:  Be sure your guests are well hydrated! Have plenty of chilled water available and serve cool summer beverages such as flavored lemonade.

Beer, of course, is refreshing, but make sure your guests are drinking plenty of water if indulging in alcoholic beverages. For those guests visiting from outside Arizona, it is especially important that they understand the importance of hydration.

BBQ events are some of our favorite events to cater. We enjoy the casual atmosphere and are continually creating new menu items and new décor ideas to craft unique events for our clientele. Summer season is fast approaching so call today to plan a unique Arizona BBQ Party.