Father’s Day BBQ

Father’s Day is June 21st and the perfect day to entertain in the backyard. Even if you do not have an “outdoor kitchen,” moving the party outdoors is easier than you think. Create a functional and fun space for family friends with these five simple ideas.

The Prep

Before the party comes the planning. Planning out your bbq will help ensure that when the time comes, you will actually be able to enjoy the party instead of stressing about what needs to be done.

Choose a simple menu: The classics are there for a reason. Keeping the menu simple will prevent you from being in the kitchen the whole party or spending too much time on food prep. People don’t expect gourmet meals at a bbq, they will just be happy with a burger and chips!

Check your tools: Before the party, it is important to make sure you have all the tools and equipment ready. This includes things like grilling tools, fuel, enough dishes and serving utensils for the food, plates, napkins, etc. Nothing puts a damper on a party more than not being prepared.

The Food

The most important part of your BBQ party is, of course, the food! As mentioned, your menu does not have to be fancy and extravagant. Simple, classic menus are perfect, just make sure you have plenty of options.

Make it a potluck: One way of making sure you have plenty of variety and enough food to go around is to make your party a potluck. This way, you do not have all the burden of providing all of the dishes, and your guests will get to show off their favorite dishes as well. Suggest that everyone bring a side or dessert, and you take care of the main course.

The grill: Burgers, burgers, burgers! A classic at BBQs, and for good reason. The standard beef patties are a must at any bbq party, but have some other options available as well. You can make flavorful and delicious burgers out of ground turkey, fish, or various forms of veggie burgers. You can even throw in hot dogs and sausages for even more options for your guests. With the grilled food, also make sure to have plenty of condiments! Create a condiment bar with a variety of options so you guests can build-their-own-burger and customize their meal to their liking.

Side dishes: The grill might be the main feature when it comes to food, but your bbq party meal is nothing without the side dishes. There are dozens of options when it comes to what sides to serve, but again think of the classics when deciding. Some options include veggie trays, fruit salad, meat and cheese trays, potato salad, macaroni salad, chips, corn, and deviled eggs. Again, making your bbq a potluck will help with creating an array of side dishes. Even if you make your own, many of these can be made in advance, so you won’t have to worry about them on the day of the party.

Desserts: After all this delicious food and party fun, guests will want to finish the night with some sweetness. Since Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer, choose desserts that give that summer-y feel. Some suggestions include fruit skewers (especially red and blue fruit for a patriotic touch), homemade fruit popsicles, cupcakes, brownies, and cookies. If you have a place for a fire, you can even create a DIY smore’s station. It is both fun and delicious!

The Drinks

What party is complete without drinks? When planning your drink station, take a few things into consideration, including what type of drinks you will serve and what options you will have for both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinkers. Also, plan your drink station ahead of time, either with self-serve pitchers or buckets filled with ice for bottles, so you don’t have to spend your party playing the bartender.

Water: Water on its own seems a little boring at a party, but it is highly necessary. If you don’t want to offer plain water, just add some fruit slices to the pitchers. The fruit will slightly flavor the water, and it will make the pitcher look beautiful as well!

Sangria: Sangria is a delicious party option, and easy to make ahead of time. For a summery feel, choose white wine over red, and add fruits like peach or anything citrus. It is both delicious and refreshing.

Help-Your-Self Bar: An easy way to provide drinks to your guests is having a beer station with a variety of bottles and brands to choose from. This way, guests can choose what they want and you don’t have to worry about being the bartender. There are a lot of classy and fun ways to create a bar station, like a tin bucket or wagon filled with ice, so it can even serve as part of your decor.

For kids, have options like sparkling soda in fun glass bottles or pitchers of Shirley Temples. It will make the kids feel like they have fun drink options too rather than just being limited to water.

The Atmosphere

Namely, the decor and the fun! Once you have your food and drinks all figured out, you can get started on the details. It is the little things, like patriotic decorations and a jamming playlist that will tie your party together.

Decorations: One of biggest elements to pull your party together is the decorations. Memorial Day is a time to honor and remember those who have served our country, so stick to a red, white, and blue theme. American flags, streamers, balloons, flowers, and tablecloths (all in red, white, and blue of course) will add fun and patriotic touches to your party.

Games: Many of your party guests will probably spend the majority of the time just conversing and having a good time with each other, but it is important to have some options for entertainment as well. Cornhole is a popular and classic backyard game and easy to play, even for those who have had a few drinks. If you really want to bring back the childhood-party fun, you can even go for a water balloon fight! Just make sure not to hit someone that isn’t planning on getting wet.

Music: The tunes are an essential part of any party. Choose your perfect playlist, set speakers up in the party area, and jam away! Just make sure the music doesn’t overpower the volume of conversation. You still want your guests to be able to talk with each other!


Create designated spaces. Rugs and easily define space and create natural boundaries. Put a rug under a large farm table or under a patio table to create the dining room. Decorate the table with bright tablecloths, cloth napkins, fresh flowers, and votive candles. A second rug can be used to create a cozy outdoor living room. Add pillows and blankets to couches, chairs, and benches to give warmth and color to the area. Simple color combinations turn an urban backyard into a tropical paradise. Think of tropical punch colors such as tangerine and fuchsia or greens and blues like the ocean. Many homes in Long beach are built close to one another or have low brick fences. Hang colorful curtains. This creates dividers as well, however it also adds instant and removable privacy.

Grilling Area

It is important to have both a cooking and prep space. Move the grill away from the living and dining areas in order to reduce smoke. Be sure to have a prep table next to the grill. This makes it easy to handle and plate food. Decorate the table with bright colored linens, and mason jars of fresh cut flowers. A lantern can add additional lighting at night. Also, include necessary cooking utensils, spices, and serving platters.

Food and Beverage Islands

Six food tables and folding card tables are perfect and movable buffet stations. Old dressers, end tables, even wine barrels make great service areas too. Be sure to add mason jars of flowers and candles for soft lighting. Galvanized buckets make great beverage coolers. Ice chests also work great for simple beverage stations, and use wood pallets to keep coolers off the ground. Add a little paint to the pallet and it will blend in with rest of the décor. Do not forget to have bottle / wine openers on the table along with glass ware, cocktail napkins, and lots of ice. Water pitchers are great for holding juices, mixers, and of course water. Make the water interesting by adding fresh sliced citrus fruit, berries, or even cucumbers. Flavored water is very refreshing. Ace Hardware stores always has plenty of mason jars and metal buckets.

Ambiance – Set the Mood

Colorful flowers beds, lighting, and music are simple and inexpensive ways to create a party ambiance. Dress up the patio, deck, and gardens with flowers. Decorative boxes, planters, and clay pots add instant color to any space. They are easy to plant, move, and can be painted a variety of colors. Lighting is important because it enhances the way people look. Dim lights with warm amber tones helps skin look healthy and wrinkle free. String lights or paper lanterns above the table. Fabric Barn in Long Beach has inexpensive paper lanterns in every color. Lastly, music is a no brainer. If you do not have outdoor speakers, then just use a portable system. An IPhone is the perfect portable music system. Place it in a glass coffee mug and you have instant speakers.

Perfect Father’s Day Gift – A Unique Fire Pit

A wash machine tub makes the perfect fire pit. Contact any appliance store and ask if they have used washing machine tubs for sale. The best part is this gift will cost less than $50. This gift not only produces heat, but it is also great for toasting marshmallows. Place an iron frill on top and you can cook on it too.

An outdoor Father’s Day Dinner does not have to be expensive. Think repurpose, reuse, and homemade. Here is a recipe for a simple homemade BBQ sauce to start the creative process. This sauce is great on pork, chicken, and even tofu.

Homemade BBQ Sauce:

BBQ Sauce – Yields (2) cups

  • 2 cups Ketchup
  • ½ cup Water
  • 1 Tbl Turbinado Sugar
  • 1 Tbl Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Tbl Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tbl Spicy Brown Mustard
  • 2 Tbl Orange Juice
  • 1 Clove of Garlic – chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • ¼  teaspoon Sea Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Ground Pepper
  • Mix all ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a boil
  • Reduce heat and simmer for (7) minutes
  • Let cool before serving

Father’s Day is about celebrating the men that help shape many lives. Show love by sharing a great homemade meal in your new outdoor dining room.

Looking for more Father’s Day inspiration? Check out our Pinterest Father’s Day board:

Follow The Shannon Jones Team’s board Father’s Day on Pinterest.

About the Author

Shannon Jones has been selling real estate since 1998 and specializes in listing and marketing homes. She has consistently been one of the top Realtors in the Long Beach area. Prior to her award-winning career in real estate with the Shannon jones Team, Shannon has had successful careers in journalism and public relations. She holds a bachelors degree from UC Irvine and a masters degree from UC Berkeley. Shannon holds E-Pro, CDPE (Certified Distressed Property Expert), and PSC (Pre-Foreclosure Specialist) certifications. Shannon is very personable and maintains a very strong moral compass, always putting the best interest of home buyers/sellers above monetary goals. A California native, Shannon enjoys gardening, travel, reading, cooking and poker when she’s not selling homes MY DESIGNATIONS Lic# 01247705 | CDPE (Certified Distressed Property Expert) | E-Pro | PSC (Pre-Foreclosure Specialist) MY SERVICE AREAS Anaheim Bellflower Buena Park Carson Cerritos Cypress Downey Fountain Valley Garden Grove Huntington Beach La Palma Lakewood Long Beach Los Alamitos Los Angeles County Norwalk Orange County Rossmoor San Pedro Seal Beach Signal Hill South Bay Westminster

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