Summer Picnic & Barbecue Planning Guide – Part 1 of 5

Summer picnic and barbecue - planning your menu

Photograph Credit: Microsoft Images

As I sit in a comfortable air-conditioned room writing this post, my outside garden is feeling the full weight of the summer heat.

It’s hot this week, and my kids are ready to meet friends for another visit to the water park to cool off.

In keeping our home comfortable and enjoying visits with friends, summer picnics and backyard barbeques win my choice for summer entertainment.

A summer picnic and barbecue with friends does not need all the bells and whistles. You do not need a Martha Stewart centerpiece nor spend hours preparing for some outdoor fun.

To share my simple strategy for a summer picnic and backyard barbecue, I will cover the following topics in this 5-part planning series:

Summer Picnic and Barbecue Planning Guide

Part 1: Planning the Menu

Part 2: Distributing the Responsibilities

Part 3: Creating an Inviting Space

Part 4: Keeping Refrigerated Dishes Cold

Part 5: Enlisting Cleanup Helpers

Part 1: Planning the Menu

When planning a summer picnic or barbecue, I start with these 3 broad food topics to choose the menu:

1. Meat (choose 1-3 types)

      • Hamburgers
      • Hot Dogs
      • Bratwurst
      • Chicken
      • Beef
      • Shrimp

2. Sides (add 2-5 options)

      • Salads: green, pasta, potato, etc.
      • Corn on the cob
      • Veggie cups or tray
      • Fruit tray
      • Deviled eggs
      • Mac and cheese
      • Chips

3. Dessert (top off with 1-2 choices)

      • Watermelon
      • Strawberry shortcake
      • Homemade ice cream
      • Apple pie
      • Brownies

With the menu decided, I then create a list with all the items needed at the picnic. This list would include condiments, sauces, dips, buns, paper products, and beverages.

Knowing the big picture helps me answer questions and distribute the responsibilities evenly, coming in Part 2 of this 5-part series.

As you endure the summer heat, consider hanging out with friends at a summer picnic or backyard barbecue hosted at your home or at a local park. To begin this adventure, start planning your menu and look for a free evening on your calendar to host your summer bash. I’ll walk you through the process. It’s painless, I promise. 😉  Happy planning!

Question: What foods do you enjoy serving for a summer picnic or backyard barbecue?

2 comments to Summer Picnic & Barbecue Planning Guide – Part 1 of 5

  • Jen

    LOVE barbecues! we actually had to replace ours this year and have been enjoying it – perhaps too much! LOL we hit the market the other weekend and got a great deal on some steaks, so we have been splurging on those 🙂
    love your menu planning suggestions. it really does make everything seem easier to plan!

    • Glad you are enjoying your new grill. We will need to replace ours after this season. We definitely get our money’s worth. 🙂

      Yeah, for menu planning! I’m glad you find these posts beneficial. Woo hoo!