Backyard Barbecue Party Ideas to Impress Your Guests

RWL Bengal Masala Lampchops

Is there anything more quintessentially summer than a good, old-fashioned backyard BBQ party? Whether you’re the reigning grill master on your block or have a hidden talent for throwing super soirees, dining al fresco is the perfect way to soak up every minute of these long (and long-awaited) summer nights.

Made In Washington Must-Haves for Your Best Summer Ever

Take it from us: Made In Washington makers, artists, craftspeople, and small business partners have all the essentials for a BBQ shindig that’s sure to impress your neighbors. From supremely snackable nibbles to mouthwatering meats, we’ve compiled some of our favorite backyard barbecue ideas.

Get ready—this summer’s hottest new club just may be your patio.

Our Top Picks for Things to Eat (and Drink!) Outside

No matter if you gravitate toward fancy fare or vibe with picnic finger food, there’s one thing we can all agree on: Outdoor cooking is an instant endorphin boost on any summer day!

And if you ask us, the best food and beverage essentials for a BBQ come from right here in Washington. Here are a few recommendations—each one sure to add a uniquely PNW flair to your cookout.

Step One: Set the Mood With Starters

Before grilling all the meat, give your guests an array of Washington-based favorites to nosh on. We’re talking about Oh My Gouda snack bites from Moon Cheese and literally anything from BobbySue’s Nuts (although their Original Jar is a classic you can’t go wrong with). And because Ranch seasoning is life, your spread is incomplete without a bowl of Cascade Ranch Popcorn from Monroe-based Jaspen’s Inc.

Moon Cheese Gouda

For something on the all-natural side, Organic Freeze-Dried Blueberries from Chelan Beauty are the non-GMO, melt-in-your-mouth snacks that’ll make you the king (or queen) of the cul-de-sac.

Psst…for more appetizer inspo, check out our blog on all things charcuterie.

Step Two: Select Your Main Course Menu

The best thing about your BBQ party is that it’s yours. We know you have excellent taste, so set your menu with confidence—not to mention some help from SeaBear Smokehouse and Dan the Sausageman.

SeaBear Smoked Salmon Trio

SeaBear has been a Washington mainstay for more than six decades and prioritizes salmon that is pure, natural, wild, sustainable, and handcrafted in small batches. The result? Flaky, delicious smoked salmon unlike any other in the world. Try it for yourself—our favorites include the Smoked Wild Salmon Trio, the Captain’s Feast, and the Pacific Northwest Icons Smoked Salmon gift boxes.

Dan the Sausageman was a featured maker in our round-up of gift ideas for first-time dads, and their Favorites in a Wooden Crate is the perfect set of apps and snacks to put out for your guests upon their arrival. Best part? It looks great and requires zero prep from you. 

Step Three: Choose Your Rub

What’s a BBQ party without a savory selection of spice rubs that bring the zing? Lucky for you, legendary Washingtonian Tom Douglas has the seasonings you need to level up your grilling game. The Rub With Love Gift Set offers a trio of Tom’s signature spice blends for salmon, chicken, and steak. We’re also partial to his All Star Rub, a limited release honoring the 2023 celebration of baseball in Seattle this summer. There’s no striking out with this versatile blend for chicken, beef, pork, or veggies.

Tom Douglas All Star Rub Product Image

For a twist on a summer backyard bash, give the Serious Pie Pizza Spice Rub a try—an excellent addition to homemade, delivery, or frozen pizzas. Now that’s amore.

It bears repeating: Tom Douglas is iconic in our neck of the woods, and his accolades from the James Beard Foundation have only cemented his legacy. After putting the finishing touches on your perfect backyard BBQ, be sure to check out Tom’s Maker Story.

Step Four: Don’t Forget the Drinks and Dessert

A BBQ party isn’t complete without after-dinner drinks and dessert—and while we admit that s’mores are a crowd favorite, there are other options you can serve up, too. One PNW classic to consider: Chukar Cherries. From several varieties of chocolate-covered cherries to the simpler (but just as delicious) Dried Cherry Medley Mix, Chukar Cherries offer a sweet way to end the day.

Whiskey Glass from NARBO engraved with Seattle Washington

As for drinks? Indulge partygoers with a spirit of their choice, but make it Seattle with a one-of-a-kind whiskey glass from NARBO. Stunningly designed and dishwasher safe? We’ll take two, please. Also, there’s nothing more summery than a warm patio mixed with a cool drink. Check out our cocktail category for all the inspiration you need to keep your guests warm from the inside out. 

Bonus Recommendation: Mood Lighting

Around the Fire Canteen Candle from Good & Well Co

Whether your guests congregate around the patio or the bonfire, remember to set the scene with lighting—including an Around The Fire Canteen Candle from

 Good & Well Supply Co. The scent of these candles—highlighted by notes of incense, clove, amber, sandalwood, and smoke—is second only to their sustainability. With more than 65 hours of burn time, you don’t have to worry about these candles going dark anytime soon, but when they do, they can be cleaned and reused as canteens. Talk about a new lease on life!

Lean On Us for Your BBQ Party Essentials

We’ve only scratched the surface. In addition to the Made In Washington makers featured above, there are a hundred more that can help you throw the Insta-worthy BBQ party of your dreams. Meet them for yourself!