Backyard BBQ Ideas for Fun Summer Entertaining

Summer has arrived, and that means it’s time to fire up the grill and enjoy the weather with good friends and family. Check out these recipe ideas for hosting a great backyard BBQ!

It’s barbecue season! I just love firing up the grill and cooking outside. It keeps the house cool and gets us outside using our backyard and enjoying every moment of nice weather we have, which is a must during a short Alberta summer. I love cooking outside just for my family, but summer is also the time for backyard BBQ parties and as you know, I love having guests and sharing our space and food with them!

In this roundup post, you will find lots of recipe ideas for main meals, side dishes, and sweet treats all with a backyard BBQ flair that will work for a crowd or just your own crew. So, skip the oven and mix and match these ideas to create your own backyard barbecue feast! Let’s get to it shall we? 

Main Meals 

Of course, the star of the show at any backyard cookout is the meat! Whether you’re looking for recipes for barbecue classics like chicken, burgers, or steak, or whether you’re looking for something more new and exciting, I’ve got you covered here! 

BBQ Turkey Breast

First up, turkey! Turkey is one meat you may not think to grill on the BBQ, but it’s a perfect grilling protein. It’s lean, healthy and so versatile, and when cooked right it is so juicy and tender. One of our favourite ways to serve turkey from the grill is this BBQ Turkey Breast with a Brown Sugar Rub and BBQ Sauce. The homemade brown sugar rub adds so much flavour. Once the meat is almost done cooking, we smother it with our favourite BBQ sauce and roast it a little longer, until the sauce gets nice and sticky. Then we slice it up like a flank steak and enjoy! 

Jalapeño Bacon Cheddar Burgers

Fire up the grill, it’s burger time! These Jalapeño Bacon Cheddar Burgers are like a beef burger crossed with a jalapeño popper! So flavourful and delicious. So if you’re looking to take your classic burger up a notch, try these burgers! They’re so easy to assemble…just add chunks of cheddar cheese, chopped bacon and diced fresh Jalapeño peppers to your beef, mix, shape and grill.

The BEST Ribs!

This really is the BEST Rib Recipe! The key to the deliciousness of these ribs is all in the rub. It’s a simple 4-ingredient recipe that I think ALL RIBS must have. This rub is generously applied to the ribs before they are slow roasted in the oven, and finished off on the barbecue. These ribs always come out tender, rich and flavourful.

All Dressed Lumberjack Turkey Burgers

These All Dressed Lumberjack Turkey Burgers are perfect for your next summer BBQ! They’re made with lean ground turkey, then they’re all dressed with beer braised onions, a maple BBQ aioli, and all of your favourite burger fixings like fresh baked buns, slices of tomatoes, red onions, lettuce and of course cheddar cheese. Oh and don’t forget the bacon…bacon makes a delicious addition to this burger!

Beer and BBQ Flank Steak Marinade

Would this even be a backyard BBQ ideas post if we didn’t mention steak? This Beer and BBQ Flank Steak Marinade is a classic recipe that will please everyone at your table. Flank steaks are inexpensive cuts of meat that are great for marinating. Chances are you have most of the ingredients for this marinade in your pantry and fridge right now.  One of the great things about this recipe is that you can tailor the flavours to your tastebuds! Just use your favourite beer and BBQ sauce. I hope you enjoy this recipe! 

Oven Roasted Pulled Pork

Now you may not think of an oven roasted meal for a backyard barbecue menu, but think again! This Oven Roasted Pulled Pork is PERFECT for pulled pork sandwiches. I love making this for big gatherings because I can make it ahead of time, and it’s also great because everyone can just help themselves…buffet-style meals are the best. Serve with homemade coleslaw, pickles, and corn on the cob.

Barbecue Sides

Once you’ve selected the meat of your choice, you need to narrow down the side dishes! Cooking your entire meal on the BBQ means less kitchen clean up (yahoo!), and not only that, there’s just something about cooking outside that makes food taste SO good! And if you can’t cook it outdoors, you can enjoy it outdoors! You can’t go wrong choosing two or three of these bbq side dish options to go with any of the meats listed above. Just pick what you like and have fun with it! 

Grilled Corn on the Cob

Corn on the cob is such a delicious side dish, and boiling it is not the only way to prepare it! Try this Grilled Corn on the Cob with Cilantro Butter and Lime for a delicious barbecue twist on a classic vegetable. Cilantro is one of my favourite toppings for everything, and it makes this corn come to life! Simply add the seasonings to the melted butter, brush each cob generously with the butter mixture and wrap it up in its own individual sheet of tin foil, and throw it on the barbecue. So easy and so tasty! 

Classic Potato Salad

A backyard barbecue just doesn’t feel complete without a good old potato salad, does it? I’m sharing my Classic Potato Salad recipe with you, the one I come back to again and again because it’s just so good, with the perfect texture and creaminess. Enjoy! 

Classic Coleslaw

The dressing on this Classic Coleslaw is creamy, tangy, a little bit sweet and it pairs perfectly with colourful cabbage, carrots and green onions. A delicious salad served with barbecue!

Apple Beet Slaw

This Apple Beet Slaw is a crunchy, flavourful, fresh salad that’s delicious served alongside any barbecued meats. It’s a perfect summery side dish. Not only is this salad beautiful, it’s also loaded with the flavours of fresh beets, apples, and a tangy dressing. So good!

Bruschetta Pasta Salad

This Bruschetta Pasta Salad combines tomatoes, basil, garlic, and cheese in a perfect flavour combo. Add pasta and you’ve got a lovely summer side dish! 

A serving bowl of Bruschetta Pasta Salad

Italian Tortellini Pasta Salad

This Italian Tortellini Pasta Salad is a perfect summer side dish! Loaded with tortellini, tomatoes, olives, cheese, salami, artichoke hearts, and fresh basil, all tossed in a tangy parmesan garlic dressing. Make it ahead and have it ready to go!

a top down close up view of a wooden bowl of tortellini pasta salad. three small bowls of salad sit off to the left

No Flour Cornbread

If you’re looking for a delicious cornbread recipe, this No Flour Cornbread is it!  Eat it warm from the oven all slathered in butter (and even honey!) and enjoy it with ribs.


A backyard BBQ ideas list would not be complete without a list of easy summer desserts! Finish off your outdoor barbecue party (or weeknight meal with your family) with one of these delicious sweet treat options.

No-Bake Blueberry Cheesecake Dessert

This Easy No Bake Blueberry Cheesecake Dessert is a light and delicious dessert!  Made with a graham cracker crust, creamy cheesecake filling and a blueberry pie topping. A perfect make-ahead dessert for your next barbecue.

Rhubarb Cloud

This Rhubarb Cloud is a simple and delicious dessert made with just four simple ingredients: whipping cream, rhubarb, vanilla and sugar. That’s it. I call them clouds because that’s what it feels like you’re eating….fluffy clouds of cream with bites of fruit. Yum! 

Cups of Rhubarb Cloud Dessert decorated with purple pansies

Sour Cherry Pie

I’m cheating a little bit with this dessert option because it DOES involve baking. But cherry pie is what I think summers are made of so I just couldn’t ignore it! Making this Sour Cherry Pie from scratch is easy and definitely worth it! You really can’t beat homemade cherry pie filling in a flaky tender pie crust. Yum.

Easy 3 Ingredient Angel Food Cake Dessert

This 3 Ingredient Angel Food Cake Dessert is the easiest dessert you will ever make, and I’m sharing it as a reminder that we don’t need to make everything complicated or fancy! Made with a bakery-bought cake, whipped cream and fresh berries, this recipe is divine and super easy for the host of the party to prepare.  

The MOST Simple Ice Cream Sandwich Idea

Whether it be a small gathering amongst friends and family, or an all out summer bash, keeping the menu simple is key. So if you’re looking for a simple and delicious dessert idea to feed a crowd, big or small, these Ice Cream Sandwiches are a great idea! Made with store bought ice cream sandwiches, these are decorated with fun sprinkles…there are so many great colours you can use to dress them up!


Don’t forget the drinks! Whether it’s drinks for one or two, or a punch bowl of deliciousness for a crowd, here are some tasty recipes to try.

Classic Canadian Caesar

The Classic Canadian Caesar is one of Canada’s most loved drinks! Made with Clamato juice, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce and a blend of delicious spices. The Caesar is like a meal when it’s garnished with celery sticks, pepperoni sticks, pickles and a wedge of lime! Is it even a Canadian barbecue without caesars?!

Ruby Red Grapefruit Punch

This Ruby Red Grapefruit Punch is SO simple and delicious, and it’s a punch both kids and adults can enjoy! Ruby red grapefruit juice is the base of this punch, and has an orange simple syrup, club soda (or you can use grapefruit Italian soda), lime juice and slices of grapefruit and limes added to it. Refreshing and perfect for summer. 

Summer Sangria Slush

Did you know that you can turn sangria into a slushie? YES. Best summer drink ever. This Summer Sangria Slush is everything you love about sangria, but frozen. Refreshing and scrumptious which is perfect for hot summer days.

Summer Sangria Slush

BONUS! Appetizer

Grilled Coconut Lime Shrimp

This recipe isn’t exactly a main course and it isn’t quite a side dish either, but it needs to be shared so I’m including it as a bonus appetizer idea! This Grilled Coconut Lime Shrimp with Prosciutto and Mango is something different that is sure to impress your party guests. Made with lime juice, coconut milk, mango, mint and Thai Kitchen Pineapple & Chili sauce for a dip, this little beauty looks so good and tastes even better!  

PIN IT for later!

There you go! A nice list of backyard BBQ ideas ranging from the classic standards to a few new recipes to add to your repertoire. I hope you find something inspiring, I would love it if you tagged me @aprettylife with your menu selections! Happy grilling!

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