How do I Plan a Menu for a BBQ?

With summer right around the corner it is time to break out the grill and invite some friends over for a tasty BBQ. But while you eat hot dogs and burgers, your friends may not. So what do you do? You need to take some time out and plan for your event so you can properly cater to everyone. Provided below are some things to take into consideration when planning your BBQ as well as a few different recipes you can use.

Who is Coming?

This is the most important thing to keep in mind when creating a BBQ menu. The reason being, is that people are so different in what they like to eat or even what they are allowed to eat. For example, you may have someone watching their carb intake or maybe watching their sugar intake. You would maybe consider offering other condiments for the person watching their carb intake and maybe some healthy options as fruit and veggies for the person watching their sugar intake. Other people may have religious beliefs that prevent them from eating various meats or you may find that someone is allergic to something. A few things to keep in mind when making a list of things to eat:

  • Religion
  • Kids
  • Vegetarian
  • Allergies
  • Likes/Dislikes

It really will be difficult to satisfy everyone. So do not stress yourself out over it. You will need to make a list of people coming and just go through the criteria above and call around to see who may fit those needs.

BBQ Grocery List


Once you have determined who can eat what, then it is time to make a grocery list. The most important thing to remember here is the location of the BBQ. If you are having it in a park somewhere, it is important to buy lots of ice and if possible, get as few things that need to be refrigerated as possible. The last thing you want is to give your friends and family food poisoning. So if possible skip the potato salad and maybe do a pasta salad of some kind. Anything with mayonnaise should be avoided if possible.

As far as quantity of food, make sure you have enough food to satisfy your list and maybe a few others. It will not hurt to be overly prepared as some unexpected visitors may show up. Not to mention that the leftovers are great!

Beverages will vary. If possible, take the stress of yourself and have everyone bring their own favorite beverage and maybe something else to share. Sort of like a potluck. Not everyone likes the same kind of pop, beer, or juice so that may work out the best. If all else fails, water is the best thing to provide.

As you can see, it really is not that hard to plan for a BBQ menu. The most important thing is to make sure there is a little something for everyone and you are sure to have a great time. As we mentioned above, we have provided a couple recipes below for more picky eaters as well as a short list of things to maybe have on hand as well. Enjoy!

BBQ Must Haves

  • Veggie Platter
  • Veggie Burgers
  • Crackers
  • Cocktail Weenies
  • Chips
  • Jell-O
  • Water
  • Juice
  • Pop
  • ICE X 2

BBQ Recipes

Here are two quick and simple BBQ recipes to get you started.

Grilled Veggie Portobello Mushroom Burger


  • 6 large Portobello mushroom, stems removed
  • 1 eggplant, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
  • 1 winter squash – sliced lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 (16 fl oz) bottle balsamic vinaigrette
  • 1 (4 ounce) package crumbled blue cheese
  • 6 hamburger buns, split and lightly toasted


Place the mushrooms, eggplant, winter squash, and zucchini into a shallow bowl or baking dish. Drizzle with the balsamic vinaigrette, turning to coat evenly. Cover, and refrigerate at least 2 hours, or up to 24 hours, stirring occasionally.

Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

Drain vegetables and discard marinade. Place vegetables on preheated grill, and cook until lightly browned, turning once, or about 3 minutes on each side. (Note that cooking times vary between grills.) Sprinkle the mushrooms with blue cheese, and let the cheese melt slightly.

Open the 6 hamburger buns and divide the eggplant, squash, and zucchini among bottom halves. Place the Portobello mushrooms on top of the vegetables, cheese side up. Top with the remaining 6 hamburger bun halves. If necessary, use toothpicks to hold the buns in place. Serve immediately.

Chicken Berry Salad


  • 1 (.75 ounce) packet honey mustard salad dressing mix
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 8 cups mixed salad greens
  • 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
  • 8 ounces sugar snap peas
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans


In a medium bowl, prepare the dressing according to package directions, using vinegar and oil, and substituting orange juice for the water; set aside.

Preheat the grill for high heat.

Lightly oil the grill grate. Grill the chicken 6 to 8 minutes on each side, or until juices run clear. Remove from heat, cool, and slice into strips.

In a large bowl, toss together the chicken, salad greens, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, peas, and pecans. Pour in the prepared dressing, and toss to coat.

For more information about how to plan a menu for a BBQ, read: