The barbecue season is fast approaching, and everyone’s got their fingers crossed for a warm, dry summer so we can all get out into the garden, fire up the barbecue and get grilling. There’s nothing to match a barbecue for a casual family get together, or just to relax in the garden with friends while watching this summer’s big sporting events such as the Commonwealth Games or the World Cup. Having a theme for your party gives some sort of direction as to what sort of food to prepare, and can help you with your decoration too.
Everyone has already done the traditional English garden party barbecue themes, and there will be no shortage of Brazilian barbecues this summer either. But what sort of ideas are out there for something a bit more unusual?
If you’re planning a barbecue around the beginning of July, then this ties in very neatly with American Independence Day on July 4th. The good thing about hosting an all American barbecue is that it is very easy to pull off. Most barbecue food such as hot dogs and burgers have a distinctive American theme already, and all you need for decoration is lots of red, white and blue balloons, an American flag and plenty of American music on your sound system.
Other American food and drink which is great for a barbecue party are desserts like key lime pie or brownies, and serve root beer or American beer and wine to your guests.
For a more unusual barbecue, go further south and into a Mexican theme. We all love Mexican food like fajitas, burritos and quesadillas, and these are easy to cook on a barbecue and good for vegetarians as well as for the meat eaters. Make your theme come to life by begging or borrowing colourful Mexican style blankets or sombreros to decorate your garden, or source inflatable cacti or large Mexican flags online. Buy a piñata to fill with sweets or other toys for the children to play with, and keep your guests fuelled with Mexican beers or tequila.
For more Mexican barbecue ideas, read our Barbecues Around the World: A Mexican Barbecue article.
Everyone loves a pirate party, and if you are thinking of asking your guests to come in fancy dress, this is one of the themes which takes the least effort to pull off. Pirate party accessories are widely available in the party sections of large supermarkets or online at value for money prices, and when it comes to food and drink, pretty much anything goes. Tropical cocktails, pineapple kebabs and fish are particularly pirate-y and of course, all good pirates need a supply of grog to drink.
Kids can be kept occupied by “walking the plank” in your garden, and a supply of soft foam pirate swords will keep them occupied for hours.
The traditional British seaside day out is becoming a thing of the past but makes a great barbecue theme. Deckchairs both decorate your garden in a seaside theme and provide somewhere for your guests to sit, and you can even provide them with knotted handkerchiefs to keep the sun off their heads. Keep the food traditional with fish, sausages and burgers, and keep a large tub of ice cream in the freezer for desserts.
Buy a cheap sandpit and fill it with play sand to let children make sandcastles and experience all the fun of the seaside in your back garden.
If you’re after a sophisticated theme for your barbecue, then look no further than 007, the nation’s favourite secret agent. Everyone likes the opportunity to get dressed up now and again, so encourage your male guests to dress as their favourite Bond or bad guy, and the women can go for all-out Bond girl glamour. Classic British dishes go best with a Bond barbecue, so think steaks, prawns, salad, delicate cupcakes or a selection of British cheese and crackers.
Kids can have hours of fun playing “goodies and baddies” while the adults chat, or you could set up a treasure hunt around your house and garden to help them find and defuse a pretend bomb. When it comes to drinks, it wouldn’t be a Bond party without the classic Martini, shaken and not stirred of course.