Ideas for BBQ?

Updated on June 15, 2009
M.H. asks from Gresham, OR
18 answers

So were having a First Birthday Party/BBQ the end of this month. I am wondering if any of you moms out there have any ideas for sides and or meats that arnt your typical BBQ. We will have hamburgers and hot dogs of co urse. And probably some baked beans or something. But I would love a cold pasta salad or cold bean salad or ???So does anyone have any recipes or ideas?

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Thank You everyone! Now I have some really good ideas! I will get back to you all and let you know how it went :)

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answers from Seattle on

I just made a delicious quinoa salad. It has 1 cup quinoa toasted and boiled, 1 carrot chopped 1/3 cup parsley, 1/4 cup sunflower seeds tossed with a dressing of 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 T lemon juice, 2 cloves chopped garlic and 2 T tamari. Super easy and quite tasty.



answers from Portland on

A great, healthy option that is pretty budget friendly is pork loin. You can google marinades, there are a zillion out there! It's super easy to prepare and goes great with potato salad! And, it's a great meat for kiddos, we even serve it with apple sauce and it always goes over well! Also, flank steak or tri tip are other great options that you can usually buy already marinaded. Good luck! Congrats on the first year!

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answers from Seattle on

My favorite pasta salad:
You will need Butterfly Pasta (Farfalle), a small head of napa cabbage (Asian cabbage) and a cucumber.
1/2 pack of cream cheese (reduced fat works fine)
1/2 cup Condensed milk or water
Juice of 1-2 lemons (depending how sour you like it and how big the lemons are)
Salt, Pepper
1/4 cup of chopped chives

Make the dressing first:
Bring the cheese up to room temperature and mix in the lemon juice. Slowly add condensed milk or water to achieve to a smooth and liquid consistency.
Add a pinch of salt and pepper and the chives.

Boil 4 servings of butterfly pasta (Farfalle) just beyond al-dente. They should be a little softer. Add a drizzle of oil or cooking spray to the water, this will keep them from sticking later.
While the pasta is boiling cut a small, peeled cucumber into thin slices and add to your bowl. Chop a small head of napa cabbage (Asian cabbage) into thin strips and add to your bowl on top of the dressing. When the pasta is done, drain, let cool slightly and add the still warm pasta to the bowl. Toss thoroughly and let cool down before serving.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

M. - We do BBQ's all the time at my house, and we do it with a Mexican flair!
Carne Asada - Marinate it in your favorite beer. Seriously. Also, Johnny's seasoning. Squeeze some limes on before you get ready to cook.
You can go to a Mexican Carniceria, you will get "real" carne asada at a better price, and you can buy 20-40lbs without having to wait. I didn't look where you are from, but I know that in Everett, WA there are two places we always go. La Chapala and Rancho Grande.
We also love Pollo en Achiote. Again, better deals at Mexican stores, but you can find achiote almost anywhere. It comes in a little box, it's a red paste. My husband puts it in the blender with fresh orange slices and viniger. It will be runny, pour it over chicken. (we get breast usually and then slice breast in half so it's nice and thin). We usually marinade all our meats the night before the party.
Both things served with warm tortillas.
ALSO, I make an easy pinto bean in the crock pot.
I small bag pinto beans. Cover with water until about 2 inches from top of crock pot. (not the HUGE crock pots!) Put some garlic cloves in, salt to taste, slice up half an onion, cut up 1/2 to 1 lb bacon (NOT cooked) and put it all in crockpot. Cook on high for one hour, low for 6 ish. Frijoles Rancheros!!
Have fun, L.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Spokane on


The best salad in the world:
Romaine lettuce
Bean sprouts
Regular Sprouts
Green Olives (drained)
Feta Cheese

No dressing required.
The juices from the olives acts like a dressing, yummy!

Basic Pasta salad:
Your favorite pasta
Halved grape tomatos
Black olives
Cubed Motzarella
Your favorite Italian dressing

Easy and delicious.

Next best salad:
Orange and yellow Bell peppers
Red onion
Rice wine vinegar

I would experiment with some Flank or Skirt steak...easy and quick to cook and the men go crazy for it. Find a recipe for Carne Asade (basically lemon juice and some beer) cut some cilantro and white onions, throw it on some heated corn tortillias and everyones happy. Oh, Yeah- Dont forget the cut up lime wedges!

Dont forget that you could just soak some corn on the cob in the husks and then throw them on the barbie and they are good to go! Pull back the husks but leave them attached and you have a built in handle that looks pretty and doesn't require any tools to eat---my kids love this!!


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

My favorite BBQ side dish is healthy, quick and easy. You can use canned corn and tomatoes, but I prefer fresh tomatoes and fresh or frozen corn. You can cook your own black beans, if you have the time.

Corn and Black Bean Salad

1 can black beans, drained
2 cups cooked corn kernels (fresh, frozen or canned)
2 cups chopped tomato
1/2 cup finely chopped onion (more or less to taste)
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1 TB sugar
1/3 cup red wine or cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients. It tastes good at room temperature, or chilled. Serves 4-6.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on


I would try any recipe for fresh fruits/veggies. In the Better Homes and Garden Cookbook is a great recipe for a broccoli salad...had mango, mandarin oranges, cashews...Loved by most when we take it anywhere. I make enough to leave leftovers for the house we take to, or for us if we are serving at our house.

If you are interested, send a note and I will provide the recipe.

Good luck,



answers from Seattle on

One of our most successful BBQ's was kabobs. We used chicken, steak, pineapple, onion, various pepper, mushrooms and tomato. Everyone made what they wanted and seemed to enjoy! It was also relatively easy for us to prepare. You could do prawns or whatever meat you like too! Sometimes there are recipes on the sides of the pasta package and although you would think they weren't good, they always have been. You can also buy some boxed/ refrigerated salads that you just put together. I know Costco normally carries a bean salad this time of year.



answers from Seattle on

Some of my favorites (BBQ schtuff, party or otherwise),

All can be served directly off the grill hot, or dished and served at room temp:

Carne Asada
Shrimp or Scallops
Portobello Mushrooms.
Ridiculously easy Tomato "Basil" Mozerella Arugula salad (not grilled)

Easiest first:

Combine small mozerella balls with a couple tablespoons of pesto, a bunch of cherry/grape tomatoes, and baby arugula leaves. Toss to coat evenly. Done.

(BIG HINT: Make sure you buy ones that are TOTALLY in the husk, no strip torn off... you can still slit and pull open in the store to judge the kernals inside, just don't rip it open.)
-Leave it in it's husk, but break off any silk sticking out.
- Stick ears on edge of grill or on top rack
- Rotate occasionally
- Take off after about 10 minutes
- Shuck and serve

Portobello Mushrooms
- Wash and cut off stems. leave whole
- Drizzle gills with olive oil, salt & pepper
- Grill on edge of cue, or upper rack, gill side up OR down, until soft & juicy
- Pull off, cut into quarters, serve

- Wash and break off tough bottom part of stem
- Coat in olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper
- Grill perpendicularly to slats, directly on grill, until tops are crispy and whole is bright green with a little char

- Buy a cheap big stockpot (20 bucks at safeway type). Metal, big, tall, thin (aka no double walls or heavy base), unless you have one already that you don't mind scorching over open flames.
- Fill with
* A few pounds of mussels (washed and debearded, discard any broken ones)
* A handful of chopped garlic
* A bunch of parsley, with the stems cut off, then rocked over a few times with a knife.
* A couple sticks of butter
* A few cups of dry white wine (I like Black Box Chardonnay, in particular, for this recipe)
(optional, mostly for color) A half cup of diced purple onions or a couple cloves of shallots diced
- Place lid on top of pot and set on the grill.
- Stir occasionally until they've all steamed open (discard any that don't)
- Use a slotted spoon to pull them out and put them in a bowl, shells still on.
- Pour over about a cup of the liquid & serve
(Optional...cook the sauce down/add a bit of cornstarch or flour to make a fantastic linguine sauce...or to dip bread in...or freeze to use as a base for clam/seafood chowder

Carne Asada:
(BIG HINT: Use skirt steak. It not only tastes better then flank steak, it's cheaper, and it cooks faster)

-Coat skirt steak with Santa Maria Seasoning
-Marinate for 1-6 hours in:
* Lime Juice (enough to cover)
* Cillantro (one bunch per two steaks, chopped, including stems)
* Purple onion
* Olive Oil
- Place flat on really hot grill as close to the coals as possible.
- Flip
- Check for rare/med/medW/well done (as you like it)
- Pull it off and let it rest a few minutes
- Cut into 1/4 - 1/2 inch strips
- Serve with tortillas, pico de gaillo, rice and beans, avacado, whatever.

Shrimp or scallops (these are actually easier then they look, and cook in nothing flat)

( A grill pan -a frying pan or wok with holes all over it- makes this go faster for the shrimp ((since you don't have to take the time to skewer them)) and is essential for the scallops)
- Defrost under running water
- Toss in bowl and coat liberally with olive oil
- Add chopped garlic, salt, pepper
(Optional: Mix up what the marinade is. Ginger, garlic, soy, & honey is fantastic, as is cajun seasoning, as are garlic and italian herbs, as are slices of any pepper, bell/anaheim/etc, cillantro & lime (don't marinade lime or lemon with seafood longer the 5 minutes), whiskey and brown sugar, phad thai sauce, what have you + salt and pepper with all variations)
- Allow to marinade for as long as you feel like. 10 minutes to 2 hours. (as long as you aren't marinading in citrus, the citric acid will cook them)
- Place grill-pan on grill and scoop shrimp or scallops onto pan. Try not to dumo all the marinade on the coals or it will smother the fire. The drippings of oil are fantastic though, because they flame up which creates wonderful flavor.
- Shake grill pan occasionally, to cook evenly and to get a few more flames sizzeling around the scallops/shrimp.
- It's done cooking in about 2-3 minutes max. The edges should be seared, and the seafood opaque. Pop one in your mouth to "test", they're like candy. They're done if they're not cool in the center. Seafood cooks in next to nothing, and continues cooking from residual heat for the next few minutes.
- Pour into a dish or on a plate, and serve hot or at room temp.



answers from Medford on

Google (barbecue menus) and get about 16 million ideas...
Good luck (yum,yum)
C. M Hamlin



answers from Yakima on

My MIL had a great pasta salad that was easy, cheap and a crowd favorite. Since she passed away, I have been making it for family get-togethers and I rarely have leftovers.
1 16 oz package of spaghetti noodles
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 orange bell pepper
1 white onion
2 largish tomatoes
1 bottle Italian dressing

Cook the spaghetti until done and when you drain it, run it under cold water for a while. Chop the peppers, onion and tomato into bite size pieces. Toss everything together with the entire bottle of dressing. And you're done!! Store in the fridge until eating time. Good Luck!



answers from Bellingham on

7 item green salad:

green peppers
green onions
frozen peas (keep frozen until you make it - or add them frozen a couple hours before party)

Chop up everything (except peas) very, very small.. Mix in peas, crumbled bacon, and stir in mayonnaise. This is a huge favorite in our family.

The other thing we really love is Greek Salad:
Cucumbers, onions, tomatoes cut up and tossed;
add kalamata olives,
mix in olive oil and vinegar to taste;
liberally mix in Oregano;
crumble (or put cubed) feta cheese in salad and mix again.



answers from Seattle on

Hi M.,
A really easy pasta salad recipe:

-Colorful corkscrew pasta cooked until done, drain
-bottle of italian dressing
-diced olives
-diced tomatoes

After the pasta is cooled, mix in the olives, tomatoes and 1/2 the bottle of dressing. Mix through. Right before serving. Add a little more dressing, mix again and you're done. Very good and always a big hit :)



answers from Portland on

I have a favorite mediterrainian pasta salad:

1# small pasta (sm. shells, rotini, orzo, or cous-cous)
5-6oz feta cheese (plain or flavored)
1 pkg grape tomatoes, halved
1 can olives, sliced (I like Burgandy Pearls Italian flavor)
~1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
~1/3 bottle of vinigarette salad dressing
(I like Kraft Light asiago parmesan balsamic vinigarette, or Safeway Select's light vinigarete)
optional: celery, cucumber, or whatever sounds good!

Cook pasta al dente, then drain and cool completely. Add ingredients and mix! Use more or less of any ingredient according to your taste. Refrigerate and serve.

Have fun!



answers from Anchorage on

Check out the website, they have tons of rated recipes and a grilling section. I love it, because other people rate the recipes and give advise with their rating, so you can find what works best for you. I also have a cool kabob recipe I use with beef, pork and chicken. I marinate the meat and poultry and arrange them, so that people can build their own kabobs, and then I don't put things on them that they don't like. You can use a store bought marinate for this or make up your own. I would suggest marinating the veggies also for more flavor. Good Luck and enjoy.



answers from Portland on

Chicken or steak kabobs are fun and easy. Cut up fruit works well.
We like Suddenly Salad pasta salad mixes, and we mix in cut up tomatoes and cubed cheese.



answers from Portland on

I did the same for my little ones first bday. We had mac salad and you could look on line for a recipe for a 7 bean salad. Hope this helps! Good luck and congratulations!



answers from Richland on

yiu can always try chicken or ribs for meat. When i make pasta salad i like the different shapes of pasta so I put water in the pan and get it to boiling then put in the longest cooking sanf keep adding the other shapes and they all get done at the same time. after rinsing in cold water and letting dain. I squeeze in mustard for taste not a lot. I grate a couple dill pickles for crunch and the tartness of pickle juice besides adding pickle juice. Sometimes adding chopped hard boiled eggs, imitation crab meat or drained shrimp. Be careful of seafood allergies. I like to sprinkle with season salt. I do not like to eat onions or celery but will use onion powder. My preferance for dressing is miracle whip salad dressing and I try to make it a day ahead. I might need to add more miracle whip, pickle juice or season salt for flavor before serving. Hacee fun

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