Backyard Barbecue Menu Ideas

Get some new ideas for BBQ menus and learn to create your own.

In the warmer months, barbeques are a great way to entertain. Not only are they a fun and informal way to cook for others, but they are also a relatively inexpensive and hassle-free way to enjoy a meal. The outdoor scenery provides a great atmosphere for diners. Grilling adds a great smoky flavor to foods without adding fat or calories.

Planning menus for barbecues is pretty easy. Most of us rely on a classic menu. Hamburgers, cheeseburgers, hot dogs and sausages provide basic barbeque fare. Side dishes are most often potato salads, baked beans, macaroni salads and green salads. Simple, hearty foods that taste even better outside have become the standard. Though it is true that classic barbeque foods have become mainstream for a good reason, it is fun and exciting to break from the ordinary on occasion.

When planning a new and fun menu, think of themes to put together a cohesive meal. Almost any meat can be grilled (though some are harder to deal with). Veggies and breads can also be grilled or heated through on a grill. Side dishes can be used to help expand on a theme and accentuate grilled items. Below are some themed menus that taste great on a grill.

BBQ Style Surf-n-Turf Menu: Marinate butter flied jumbo shrimp in lime juice, garlic and hot sauce before skewering them (kabob style) and grilling them. Use beef filet or tender steaks to complete the "turf†portion of surf and turf. For a glamorous meal, serve with a mixed green salad dressed with simple vinaigrette. Garlic bread made from fresh baguettes can be heated until crispy via indirect heat on the grill as well.

Hawaiian Style BBQ Menu: Relying on the classic pairings of sweet and salty tastes, this menu capitalizes on the classic ham and pineapple combination loved by many. Pork chops can be brined ahead of time and then grilled. Use a sweet and tart glaze (concentrated fruit juices work well) to keep the meat tender and flavorful. Thick slices of pineapple can be grilled as well. Use them to either top the pork chops for an exotic treat, or top them with vanilla ice cream and hot fudge for a delicious dessert. Pair the pork chops with a nutty rice pilaf for a great meal.

Italian Style BBQ Menu: Use classic Italian spices and herbs to create a unique and flavorful menu. Grilled chicken, rubbed with sage and thyme, can be topped with sun dried tomatoes and roasted garlic. Baby Yukon Gold Potatoes, roasted on the grill after being combined with rosemary sprigs and a light coating of olive oil, make a great side dish. Skewer and lightly grill cherry tomatoes until their skins start to blister. Use the roasted tomatoes with fresh mozzarella and whole basil leaves for a new take on a caprese salad as an appetizer.

Asian Style BBQ Menu: A delicate soy and citrus glaze can add a great flavor to grilled foods. Mix a low-sodium soy sauce with fruit juice and ginger to create a glaze. Reserve part of the glaze to be used as a dipping sauce. Marinate veggies and meat in the sauce before grilling. Serve the grilled foods with rice and the reserved dipping sauce.

Do not be afraid to create your own menu as well. Be creative and enjoy the results.

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