Top 10 Dos & Don’ts of Barbecuing for a Crowd

BBQ Party Dos and Don'ts graphics
Hosting a barbecue for a large crowd can be a challenge. It’s much more involved than cooking for your family, or an impromptu gathering with a few friends. And it can easily turn into a stressful undertaking if things don’t go smoothly. With proper planning, you can actually pull off a highly successful barbecue party while maintaining your zen.

And make people happy in the process!

Here are some BBQ party DOs and DON’Ts to follow for a successful backyard barbecue.

The DO’s

  • DO choose dishes that have minimal prep time.

    For example, cheese-stuffed bacon-wrapped jalepeño poppers are delicious, but the preparation takes a lot more time than you may think for a large group. Consider sausage, bacon-wrapped tater tots, or something that doesn’t take a ton of prep.

  • DO barbecue large cuts of meat for big groups.

    Brisket, whole pork shoulder, beef shoulder clod, or beef chuck rolls can exceed 20 pounds, and make a lot of folks happy without too much work, or breaking the bank. Here are some of our recipes:

  • DO figure out how much BBQ meat you need.

    We cook for big groups often, and our general rules is to allow 1/3 pound of finished meat per person. Plan on a 40% loss of weight to the cooking process.Here’s an example. 20 pounds of pork shoulder will yield approximately 12 pounds of finished meat (20  x .60 = 12). This amount will serve up to 36 people.

  • DO as much preparation ahead of time as you can.

    For very large groups where multiple batches are needed, consider cooking your big BBQ meats in advance. To preserve freshness, store each batch as it is done cooking. First, pull or slice the meat and vacuum seal. Then refrigerate or freeze the sealed bags until needed.Reheat by dropping bags in a cooler full of boiling hot water. Cut open bag and pour out steaming hot meat to serve. This is a huge time saver on party day.

  • DO set up a hot dog bar.

    You can’t go wrong with a variety of toppings, buns, and a plate full of grilled hot dogs. Hot dogs are so much easier to grill (and much less smoky) than hamburgers. And, most people love them, especially kids.

  • DO enlist help.

    Get your guests to bring side dishes, even if it is just a few people that volunteer. Your guests might have a great dish up their sleeve that they are eager to share.

The DON’Ts

  • DON’T try to impress people by cooking elaborate dishes.

    Simple dishes cooked perfectly will preserve your sanity and allow you to relax and enjoy YOUR party.A quick coating of Dizzy Pig seasonings on your food, lovingly cooked over your choice of heat, is really all you need to create wonderful bites of flavor to satisfy even the pickiest palate. Our Little Black Recipe Book has many recipes to jump start your menu planning.

  • DON’T come up short on fuel for your cooker.

    Make sure you have enough charcoal or gas for your entire cook. There’s nothing worse than running out of fuel when you’re right in the middle of cooking.

  • DON’T buy too many buns.

    Not everyone uses a bun on their burger or hot dog. And not everyone can, or want to, eat bread these days.

  • DON’T procastinate.

    Don’t wait until the last minute to get all of your serving dishes/utensils together, and any sauces you will be serving ready in squeeze bottles.


It’s summertime and the living is easy. Make your next BBQ a stress-free and fun backyard bash with our list of do’s and don’ts.

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