BBQ Menu Ideas and Checklist

Sauces, Condiments, Recipe Ideas, & More

Whether you're planning a big backyard BBQ party or just want to get family or friends together for some casual summertime grilling, this checklist will keep you on track with great BBQ recipes and menu ideas—from sides to desserts and everything in between.

You'll also get the skinny on the best BBQ sauces and artisan condiments so you can cut down on prep time in the kitchen and enjoy the outdoors with your guests.

Along with this checklist, remember to grab some cold drinks, extra gas...MORE or charcoal for the grill, and a nice spot to prepare your meal and you're sure to have the perfect BBQ any time of year.

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    BBQ Chicken and Onions on Grill
    Envision / Getty Images

    Even if you swear by your own personal, super-secret, homemade BBQ sauce recipe, these outstanding prepared BBQ and grilling sauces are worth a try. Changing up flavors and sauce styles keep things exciting, and since you'll save time in the kitchen, you can spend more playing grillmaster and entertaining guests by using one of these gourmet sauces. If you do want to try to make your own before guests arrive, check out this list of the Top 10 Best Barbeque Sauce Recipes.

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    No matter what's coming off the grill, BBQ parties always feel more festive when there are lots of condiments for customizing those burgers, dogs, or kebabs. So why not give your toppings an upgrade, with these ​gourmet spins on classic condiments? You'll find everything from artisan ketchup and pickles to tantalizingly spiced mustards, mayos, and chili sauces.

  • 03 of 05

    Of course, an essential part of planning any barbecue is figuring out what to throw on the grill. Whether you're making Slaughterhouse-Five ribs or saffron citrus fish kebabs, these recipes for the grill are sure to sure to surprise and delight your guests at your next cookout.

    Consider making some sticky bbq beef ribs, or if it's the holiday season, check out these 25 favorite Christmas BBQ recipes. For more inspiration, you can't go wrong with these top 10 books about grilling.

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    Sure, coleslaw and potato salad are BBQ side dish classics, but it's refreshing to change things up. Heartier pasta and grain-based side dishes not only complement grilled meats and fish, they give vegetarians a real meal option, too. 

    Alternatively, charring vegetables on the grill ​are not only easy, it brings out the amazing flavor of each ingredient. Consider making soba with cashew butter sauce, forbidden rice salad, grilled corn on the cob, or just a regular mix of grilled vegetables to...MORE spice up your meal.

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    Cookout Desserts

    No BBQ is complete without a sweet (and preferably fruit-filled) finish. Keep it simple with fresh melon or some strawberry salsa spooned over sorbet, or treat summer's succulent tropical or stone fruits for a few minutes on the grill once you learn how to grill fruit. Alternatively, consider making a seasonal fruit pie like the streusel-topped peach mango pie or even a  jam-filled Czechoslovakian cookie bar.