The MVPs of Backyard Grilling

We’ve all been to that last-minute, thrown-together BBQ where we’ve had to make do without condiments, cutlery, or considerable cuisine. While it’s the thought that counts, no one wants to be responsible for a subpar picnic.


That’s why no backyard grilling is complete without a few BBQ must-haves. While you can’t always anticipate exactly how an outdoor gathering will go, you can plan accordingly by including these grilling MVPs. 


Photo by José Ignacio Pompé on Unsplash

Essential Equipment 

Your BBQ grill is not enough. If you’re cooking in your own backyard, there’s a decent chance that you’ll run into the house last minute to find backup equipment (or even food). If you’re cooking at a park or in a friend’s backyard however, you might want to make sure that you have these grill accessories in tow. 

Grill Tools



Table Utensils 

To simplify cleanup, choose disposable items. If you prefer to go with the environmentally friendly option of reusable table settings, make sure you choose durable pieces that won’t break if they get dropped on the ground or melt under hot food. Be sure to include: 


  • Table cloth 

  • Napkins 

  • Ice

  • Cups 

  • Plates

  • Bowls

  • Forks

  • Knives

  • Spoons 

  • Cutting board 

  • Serving spoons

  • Bottle Opener

  • Corkscrew

  • Cocktail shaker

  • Resealable food containers or plastic/foil wrap to cover food before and after serving

Safety Tools 

From the typical risks that come from outdoor spaces to BBQ-specific injuries and illnesses, it doesn’t hurt to keep some safety equipment on hand in case of an accident. 


  • Meat thermometer 

  • Hand sanitizer

  • Fire extinguisher

  • Sunscreen

  • Bug repellent 

  • First aid kit 

  • Burn ointment

Mouth-Watering Meals

A backyard barbeque doesn’t always have to be a masterclass on grilling different types of meat. The outdoor grilling possibilities for these staples, vegetables, and even fruits and desserts are truly endless.

Drool-Worthy Entrees


  • Steaks

  • Hamburgers

  • Brisket 

  • Ribs

  • Chicken

  • Lamb chops

  • Pork chops

  • Fish

  • Shrimp

  • Portabella mushrooms

  • Meat or vegetarian kabobs 

Sidekick Side Dishes

Throw any of these vegetables on the grill for a delicious side dish or hot salad option. Our adjustable divider is a great tool for allowing you to grill both at the same time! 


  • Corn

  • Zucchini 

  • Squash

  • Eggplant

  • Artichoke

  • Bell peppers

  • Onions 

  • Asparagus

  • Potatoes

  • Sweet potatoes 

  • Onions

  • Green beans 

  • Tomatoes

  • Potato chips

  • Tortilla chips

  • Vegetable platters

  • Pork and beans

  • Coleslaw 

  • Fresh fruit


If you’re looking for a cooler side dish on a hot day, a classic green salad is always an easy side for whip up. Cold potato salad, macaroni salad, bean salad, broccoli salad, and pasta salads are also popular summer grilling side dishes. Just make sure that they stay cold and on ice before and after serving to prevent food poisoning. 

Crazy Condiments 

What do hamburgers, tortilla chips, and vegetable platters all have in common? They’re all a little drab without the proper toppings or condiments. Which sauces and topping you need will depend on what your main meal is and what side dishes you prepare, but there are a few catch-alls you can default to.



Additionally, you can add an extra kick to your backyard grilling including some less-common toppings, too. 


  • Grilled onions

  • Grilled mushrooms

  • Grilled jalapenos 

  • Grilled red bell peppers

  • Sauerkraut 

  • Homemade chili

  • Sliced/diced fresh onions 

  • Sweet/dill pickles

  • Red pickled onions 

  • Lettuce or leafy mix

  • Cabbage 

  • Sliced tomatoes

Refreshingly Sweet Desserts 

It’s always a good idea to wrap up your evening with something sweet, and grilling your desserts is a great way to polish off your backyard barbecue.


  • Grilled summer fruit skewers

  • Grilled berry peach pie

  • Grilled donut ice cream sandwich 

  • Grilled pineapple ice cream sundae

Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

MVP Drinks for Outdoor Grilling

Once the warm weather rolls in for the year, nothing feels better than sipping on a cold drink and taking a bite of a refreshing, fruity dessert. Make sure your guests have options for these the next time you invite them over for some outdoor grilling action. 

Ice-Cold Drink Essentials

Make sure you offer various drinks for all your guests, including kids, designated drivers, and other guests that don’t drink alcohol. Most importantly, make sure there is a heavy water supply, either in a large dispenser or bottles, so everyone is able to stay hydrated. 


You don’t have to rely on soft drinks as your non-alcoholic fallback. Try to mix it up a little with some delicious, homemade party beverages


  • Homemade lemonade

  • Limeade 

  • Sparkling water

  • Flavored water

  • Sparkling cranberry punch

  • Cardinal punch


Or, don’t be afraid to stick to the classics.


  • Beer

  • Wine

  • Cocktails 

  • Lemonade

  • Punch

  • Soft Drinks

  • Water


Another great way to please the crowd is to fill your cooler with your crew’s favorite summertime beers. You will especially impress your guests if you choose beer and/or wines that pair well with your entree. 


If showing off your grilling skills isn’t enough, why not put on your bartender hat and offer up some fun, fancy cocktails?

Making the Most of Backyard Grilling

Sometimes it seems like there is so much to remember when you’re hosting a BBQ, but if you stick with these grilling MVPs, you shouldn’t have to worry about forgetting anything. Whether you’re the one who’s doing it all or you could use a reference guide for when guests ask what they can bring, preparing your menu ahead of time and being ready for the unexpected is a no-fail recipe for successful backyard grilling.