How to Host a Banner BBQ
Wendy Kedzierski
May 2, 2023 — Read in 3.8 mins · 755 words

If you aspire to have your friends and family describe your backyard barbecues using words like “epic” and “legendary,” our hosting guide will help you plan a shindig that’s sure to please. The popularity of the neo-Western television series “Yellowstone” will undoubtedly elevate interest in this entertainment option. Take it up a notch and draw from these tips to create an unforgettable BBQ bash.

Pre-party Pump-up

Create a buzz early by sending fun invitations out to your guest list. Include cute graphics and catchy phrases: “Grill and chill,” “We’re fired up,” “Pig out at our cookout,” “Smokin’ hot,” – you get the idea. Consider asking your guests to dress the part in denim and cowboy hats!

Set the Stage

Your decor will help guests get into the spirit of the party. When gathering items for decorating, think thematically: cowboys, ranches and farms, upscale rustic, the wild west, “Yellowstone.” Here are some ideas to keep your design unified:

  • Gingham tablecloths, table runners
  • Bandana napkins
  • Faux cowhides
  • Denim
  • Rustic wood
  • Wildflowers (buckets of daisies, Queen Ann’s Lace, etc.)
  • Mason jars
  • Lanterns
  • Hay bales
  • Galvanized metal

Set the Tone: Music

If you Google “Yellowstone playlist,” you’ll be able to create yours based on all the songs that have been included in the hit series. You’ll also find other options within the same musical genre. If you want a “Yellowstone” vibe, here’s a sampling of what you can include:

  • “What Cowboys Do” by Casey Donahew
  • “Summertime Blues” by Zach Bryan
  • “Watermelon Moonshine” by Lainey Wilson
  • “Last Call” by 49 Winchester
  • “Hands on the Wheel” by Willie Nelson
  • “Life of Sin” by Sturgill Simpson
  • “Wrong Side of the River” by Myon Elkins
  • “Far from Home” by Aubrie Sellers
  • “Off the Wagon” by Isaac Hoskins
  • “Dance the Night Away” by Shane Smith and the Saints
  • “Mule Skinner Blues” by Dolly Parton
  • “Peace in the Pines” by Kolton Moore & the Clever Few
  • “Chess” by Honey County
  • “Dear Rodeo” by Cody Johnson
  • “The Cowboy in Me” by Tim McGraw
  • “West Texas in My Eye” by The Panhandlers
  • “Cowpoke” by Colter Wall
  • “The Low Road” by Shooter Jennings
  • “Hey Delilah” by Blackberry Smoke

Fun and Games

When it comes to backyard BBQ games, let’s face it: you’ve got to have horseshoes and cornhole. Consider creating a customized cornhole board and/or beanbags.

Let kids pan for “gold” by setting up a kiddie pool filled with sand. Bury coins in the sand, add water and provide metal pans for kids to search for their loot.

Set up a checkerboard station. You can use black and red painted stones and a flat stump painted with a checkerboard pattern or create an oversized checkerboard table using painted mason jar lids as checkers.

Make an Instagram-worthy photo “booth” for guests to take pictures behind a giant “WANTED” poster frame.

Here are more ideas to keep kids and adults entertained:

  • Wild West themed Trivial Pursuit
  • Croquet
  • Lawn bowling
  • Giant Jenga
  • Water balloon bin
  • Fire pit for s’mores
  • Ring toss using old soda crates with vintage glass bottles 
  • 9-hole mini golf using the naturally challenging elements of your yard
  • Sidewalk chalk

Be a Pitmaster


Make sure to prepare as much food in advance as you can. Marinate meats and vegetables, cut and refrigerate meats, fruits and vegetables, and chill beverages. Make sure to also offer vegan options like grilled or Buffalo cauliflower wings, vegetable skewers, mushroom BBQ ribs, Portobello mushroom fajitas, mushroom burgers, etc.

Create menu item signs with fun names that go with the BBQ theme. Some possibilities include “Grazing Board” (charcuterie), “Cowboy Caviar,” “Cheesy Ranch Potatoes.”

Make a “Watering Hole” beverage station and a “Soda Float Bar” for fun refreshment. (For less work during the party, ice cream can be pre-scooped into cupcake liners and kept frozen until ready to serve.) You could also create an old-fashioned lemonade stand with optional spiked varieties.

Freeze red and black water-filled balloons and place them in galvanized metal tubs for a fun take on a beverage cooler.

Party Favors

Gifting your guests with inexpensive but useful items will make your event even more memorable. Consider packaging these items in a bandana, cowboy hat, or other cute container:

  • Cheap sunglasses
  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Hand wipes
  • Bubbles
  • Hand fans
  • Sidewalk chalk 

Post Party 

Store all your reusable decor to make the next BBQ bash even easier!

And to make the BBQ buzz linger longer, your post-party plan can include social media posts featuring flattering pictures of your party guests having fun!

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