Throw a Next-Level Backyard BBQ
Summers in Canada are short, but nothing short of glorious. When they come around everyone tries to enjoy every minute of it. Backyard BBQs are a big part of that enjoyment. We have them often, and try and make them epic each time. It’s an easy way to make it the best day of the week.
Our group of friends will take turns hosting, and there’s usually a bit of potluck action for it to all come together. You never want to go to one empty handed, but as a host there’s definitely a lot of pressure to deliver some good eats. Menu-wise, it’s good to switch it up once in awhile, but you’ve also gotta serve up some old standbys. I think we can all agree that sausages and hot dogs/veggie dogs are 100% a staple for any BBQ, and quite frankly (see what we did there?) what our dream BBQ is made of.
So, we decided to centre our BBQ around sausages and build it out from there. We took it to the next level by setting up an over the top condiment station, individually portioned bags of chips, three different sides, beer galore and an epic bbq cocktail: mesquite-infused bourbon peach lemonade. If you follow our lead with this menu, you’ll definitely impress your friends and family and pretty much win summer.
Let us tell you more about this condiment station, because we’re pretty jazzed about it. We served up twelve (twelve!) different options for dressing your dog. Because there’s more to life than just Ketchup (but Ketchup is sick). It was a build your own dog scenario with Ketchup, mayo, mustard (yellow AND Dijon), relish, pickles, olives, hot peppers, hot pepper relish, onions and tomatoes. Our only other suggestion would be sauerkraut if that’s your jam.
Every backyard BBQ has to have chips. And it’s not the best day of the week unless you have at least one chip with some sort of cheese flavouring. Cheesies will do. Doritos are better. Both are best. Also, regular chips are a must for vegan friends (and people who prefer a simple chip). We packaged ours up in individual brown bags, so you don’t have to be that guy that keeps leaning over to grab chips. Each person can grab one and snack on it throughout. We lined the bags with parchment paper first, otherwise the bag will absorb the grease from the chips. It’s not only visually more appealing to go this route, but we also like to live in ignorance about how greasy chips are.
Top notch BBQ sides are also crucial. There should be at least three (assuming you’re hosting have six or more people), with variety. Our BBQ included a potato salad, kale Caesar salad and a corn and bean salad (recipes below!) but you could also do a pasta salad or fruit salad. Sky’s the limit really, but make it easy for people to eat throughout a couple of hours and control their own portion size.
Let’s talk about beer. We suggest offering up a couple different brew options, all of which should be highly crushable. We chose Bandit Brewery’s Watermelon Hibiscus Pale Ale Mr. Pink and their Guava Gose called Wizard of Gose. We also got our hands on some Bog Wave from Kona Island Brewing Company, Bud Light Lime (quote possibly the most crushable beer of all time) and Moosehead. They went over really well. Also, there’s nothing wrong with encouraging a BYOB scenario, it’s just good to have a variety of beers ready in case someone goes through their reserve, or you want to swap with each other and try some new brews. This is a true badass host move.
Also, if anyone ever asks you what they can bring to your bbq, always say ice. You can never have too much ice for your cooler, and straight up, ice is pretty expensive considering it’s just frozen water.
For the BBQ:
- Sausages and veggie dogs
- Condiments (we put out Ketchup, mayo, mustard (yellow AND Dijon), relish, pickles, olives, hot peppers, hot pepper relish, onions and tomatoes)
- Sides (we served three, recipes below)
- Paper bags (with parchment paper for lining)
- Mesquite-Infused Bourbon Peach Lemonade (recipe below)
- Flowers (optional, but ambiance is key)
Black Bean and Corn Salad
For the salad:
- 3 cups of corn kernels (we used canned, but if you’ve got the time to grill the corn and shave it off the cob then even better!)
- 1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup packed fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 cup chopped red onion
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tbs lime juice
- 1/4 tsp salt
For the dressing:
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- 2 tbs lime juice
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp cumin
Greek Yogurt Potato Salad
- 6 red skin potatoes, chopped into cubes
- 6 hardboiled eggs, chopped
- 1 cup of dill pickles, chopped
- 3 tbs of chives, chopped
- 2 tbs of dill, roughly chopped
- 1 1/2 cups of plain greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup of whole grain dijon
- 4 tbs of pickle juice
- 1 tsp of salt
- Pepper to taste
Kale Caesar Salad
- 5 cups of baby kale leaves or chopped kale
- 3/4 cup of cooked turkey bacon, chopped
- 1 cup of croutons
- 1/4 cup of parmesan, grated (ideally fresh!)
- 3/4 cup (or more if you like it saucy!) of Renee’s Mighty Ceasar salad dressing (not sponsored, we’re just fans!)
- Optional, but encouraged: 1/2 cup of fried capers (toss capers in all-purpose flour and fry in canola oil until golden)
Black Bean and Corn Salad:
- Make the dressing by combining the ingredients. Set it aside while you make the salad.
- In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients aside from the onion. If the onion sits in the salad for too long, it will make the whole thing taste very onion-y. Once it’s ready to serve, add the onion in and combine with the dressing.
Greek Yogurt Potato Salad:
- Start by cooking the potatoes. Add the potatoes to a large pot and fill with water until the potatoes are submerged. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiled, let simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the potato can be pierced through with a fork. You don’t want them to be too cooked, as they’ll got softer once the yogurt is added.
- While the potatoes are cooking, combine the greek yogurt, whole grain dijon, pickle juice, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Add the potatoes, hard boiled eggs, pickles, dill and chives to a large bowl.
- Mix in the yogurt mixture and stir until combined.
Kale Caesar Salad:
- Add the kale, turkey bacon, croutons and parmesan to a large salad bowl.
- Add the dressing and stir to combine.
It’s also nice to bust out a signature cocktail for your backyard BBQ gathering. We created the perfect backyard bbq cocktail to go along with this epic feast: Mesquite-infused Bourbon Peach Lemonade. You can grab the recipe here.
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