35 Classic Recipes for a Perfect BBQ

35 Classic Recipes for a Perfect BBQ

Meghan Splawn
Jun 8, 2017
(Image credit: Christine Han)

Summer BBQs are my favorite way to entertain throughout the season. Adults can mingle, drink in hand, while the kids can run around burning off energy before dinner. Plus, barbecuing feels more effortless — no need to stress over a super-clean house or real napkins when you're grilling out. The menu is also up for grabs, although you can't go wrong with the classics. Who doesn't love burgers paired with creamy coleslaw?

From sweet and tangy barbecue sauce to buttermilk ranch potato salad to finger-lickin' grilled chicken, here are 35 essential BBQ dishes for all your backyard soirées.

Sauces and Marinades

Whether you use one for marinating a flank steak or you serve it up in squeeze bottles for sandwiches, your BBQ needs at least one sauce.


Remember what I said about drink in hand? Pitcher drinks and cocktails are the easiest way to satiate guests while you grill.

Classic Side Dishes

All the all-stars are here: baked beans, coleslaw, pasta salad, and potato salad. The best part is that almost all of these can be made ahead!

Grilled Vegetables

Throwing vegetables on the side doesn't just need to feel obligatory. These dishes bring a ton of flavor, can help fill up vegetarians, and make for welcome side dishes alongside the classic side salads.

Classic Kebabs

Almost anything is more fun to eat from a stick. Let guests build their own kebabs for even more fun.

Finger-Lickin'-Good Chicken

Chicken is one of those iconic BBQ foods. Serve with plenty of sauce and paper towels.

Juicy Burgers

BBQ burgers are a really easy way to please a crowd. Don't be afraid to divert from the beef burger to something juicier or even meat-free.


My BBQ dessert go-to is ice cream sandwiches or Popsicles — they are fun and easy. But if you're feeling fancy, these are easy and can be eaten with one hand while chasing down a 5-year-old with a water gun.

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