If you need some easy BBQ recipes for a crowd to make your next cookout super special, you will get plenty of ideas out of this article.
We’ve tried to give plenty of options for appetizers, sides and the main event with an eye to budget conscious choices that are easy BBQ recipes to cook for a crowd.
- Easy BBQ Ideas For a Crowd – Appetizers
- Cheap BBQ Ideas for a Large Group
- Easy BBQ Recipes For a Crowd – Main Dishes
- Smoked Trisket (or Tri Tip Steak Treated as a Brisket)
Easy BBQ Ideas For a Crowd – Appetizers
Smoked Chicken Wings with 3 Different Sauces
Chicken wings are always quick and easy smoker recipes, and you can smoke lots of them at once for a crowd in around 1-2 hours.
You just need to cover your wings in your favourite BBQ rub and smoke them slow and low in the smoker at 225-250F (107-121C) until the internal temperature reaches 165F or 74C.
You can serve the wings with the folowing sauces on the side or brush the wings with the sauce 10-15 minutes before the end of cooking.
Classic Buffalo Hot Sauce
Melt the following ingredients in a medium hot pan until thoroughly dissolved (about 10 minutes or so):
- 8 tablespoons of Butter
- ½ cup or 8 tablespoons of Tabasco Sauce (you can also substitute Frank’s Hot Sauce or Louisiana Hot Sauce) or to taste if you like it milder
- 1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
- ½ teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon Chilli Powder (we like Extra Hot Chilli Powder but to taste)
- 2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Worcester Sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
Garlic Honey Mustard Sauce
This simple sauce just needs to be combined in a bowl and whisked before either brushing the wings or serving as a sauce on the side.
- 3 tablespoons of honey
- 3-4 finely chopped garlic cloves
- 1/3 cup of Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons of your favourite hot sauce
Korean BBQ Sauce for Chicken Wings
To make a delicious Korean BBQ sauce to brush your smoked chicken wings or serve on the side combine the following ingredients in a medium hot pan until dissolved:
- ¼ cup of dark soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon of grated Asian pear (use ordinary pear if you can’t get it)
- ¼ cup of good quality honey
- 1 tablespoon of peanut oil (groundnut)
- 2 teaspoons of sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of gochujang paste (Korean chilli paste)
- 1 tablespoon of ketchup
- 4 cloves of finely chopped garlic
- 1 tablespoon of peeled and finely chopped ginger
- optional – 1-2 finely chopped Bird’s Eye chillies
You also have the option of serving your chicken wings with chopped scallions and sesame seeds.
Easy BBQ Recipes For a Crowd – Sides
BBQ sides are hugely important for filling out portions whether that means smoked BBQ beans, smoked mac and cheese, smoked fries (cooked at high heat in your smoker for around 15 minutes) or collard greens. Here are some great ideas for easy BBQ sides that are quick to prepare and cook:
- Sweet potato fries
- Sweet potato mash
- Mac and cheese (finish off in the smoker for extra smokiness)
- Crunchy slaw
- Buns for pulled pork, burgers or for hot dogs
- Rice (for smoked jerk, jambalaya or Asian inspired recipes)
- Pasta (e.g. for smoked meatballs)
- Classic Potato Salad
- Summer salads
- Flatbreads, pitta bread or naan bread (e.g. for kebabs)
Cheap BBQ Ideas for a Large Group
Easy BBQ Recipes for a Crowd on a Budget
Some large cuts of meat which are perfect for feeding a crowd (e.g. beef brisket) can be expensive. Here are some cuts of meat that are cheaper than brisket but will make for great substitutes, and still feed plenty of people.
- Tri Tip Steak – you can treat it like a brisket and it’s often called ‘trisket’
- Chuck Roast is a more affordable cut of beef that can also be treated like a brisket (also called ‘poor man’s brisket’)
- Beef cheeks – these are tough but inexpensive cuts that are perfect for low and slow cooking, you might need a few to cater to larger crowds
- Beef Short Ribs (or ‘brisket on a stick’) are inexpensive and feed quite a few people
- Whole chickens are always great cheap BBQ ideas and only take 2-3 hours to smoke – you might need 3-4 whole chickens if you are feeding a large group
- Pork butt is cheap and comes from the upper part of the animal’s shoulder – it will feed a good sized crowd especially if used for pulled pork and filled out with sides
- Pork loin is an often underrated cheap BBQ idea but it can be smoked in around 3 hours and feed quite a lot of people (just remember it is a lean cut so it can dry out quickly if you don’t keep it moist
- Untrimmed spare ribs are the cheapest cuts of pork ribs and they are larger and have more fat than baby back ribs or St Louis cut ribs (which are trimmed spare ribs and you are paying extra for the labour involved in trimming them)
- Pork sausages are cheap and if you have enough of them they can help to feed a large crowd. If you want to save even more money you could try making them from scratch yourself. Obviously some sausages are considered more artisan and expensive but cheap sausages such as Bratwurst or Frankfurters can go a long way to feeding a crowd especially when serve in buns or crusty rolls
- Consider sweet potatoes or ordinary potatoes as inexpensive BBQ ideas that help to feed a crowd – you could serve smoked baked potatoes, smoked fries or good old mashed potatoes and roast potatoes. Classic potato salad is a pretty cheap side requiring inexpensive salad leaves and potatoes
- Vegetables in general are cheap BBQ ideas whether you use them as sides or mains – you could cut them into ‘steaks,’ and treat them like a piece of meat by smoking them low and slow. Cauliflower, squash, cabbage, carrot etc work really done this way
Easy BBQ Recipes For a Crowd – Main Dishes
Try brining your pork butt overnight in this cider brine to add flavour and moisture to the meat:
- 6 Cups Good Quality Apple Cider
- 1/2 Cup Salt
- 1/2 Cup Sugar
- 2 Cups Apple Cider Vinegar
- 3-4 Whole Peeled Cloves of Garlic
- Optional – bunches of fresh rosemary, sage and thyme
Heat the ingredients over medium high heat in a pan until the sugar has dissolved and the ingredients combined. Remove from the heat and allow to cool (or add a large handful of ice cubes) and then place the pork in the solution in a large container. Make sure there is enough liquid to cover the whole pork butt and add more water if necessary.
Place the container in the fridge and leave to brine overnight. When you come to smoke the pork the next day make sure to rinse the meat under cold water. You can then pat it dry and cover it liberally with your favourite BBQ dry rub. If you want to make your own combine the following ingredients in a bowl:
- 3 Tablespoons of Brown Sugar
- 2 Tablespoons of Sweet Smoked Paprika
- 1/2 Teaspoon of Chilli Powder (or more if you like heat)
- 1 Teaspoon of Onion Powder
- 1 Teaspoon of Garlic Powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
- 2 Teaspoons of Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 1 Tablespoon of Fine Sea Salt
Pork butt needs to be wrapped during the second part of the cook to keep it moist and reduce cooking times. Smoke the meat direclt on the grills over a low and slow heat of 225F or 107C until the internal temperature registers 165F or 74C (depending on the size of the pork butt this could be up to 6 hours). Spritz with apple cider vinegar every hour or so to keep it moist.
Remove from the grills and wrap tightly in foil, adding a little cider or apple juice to the wrap. Place it back in the smoker and cook until the temperature reaches 203-205F or 95-96C. Allow the pork to rest for 15 minutes or so and then shred with 2 forks or claws.
Serve in buns with coleslaw and your favourite BBQ sauce or with your sides of choice.
Smoked Trisket (or Tri Tip Steak Treated as a Brisket)
The triangular shaped steak cut Tri Tip is a cheaper alternative to the more common beef brisket. You can even serve it medium rare (unlike brisket) and it can be cooked in a fraction of the time.
Smoked trisket will take around 4-6 hours to reach the desired internal temperature at a smoker temperature of 250F (121C). You will need to wrap the meat for the second part of the cook, just like brisket or pulled pork.
Cover it on top and bottom and on all sides with your favourite BBQ dry rub first and then it place it in the smoker at 250F or 121C. You can use the beef rub below if you want to make your own:
- 1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
- 3 Tablespoons Sweet Smoked Paprika
- 2 Tablespoons Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Onion Powder
- 1 Tablespoon Fine Sea Salt
- 1 Teaspoons Dried Oregano
- 1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
- 1 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
- 1/2 Teaspoon Chilli Powder (you can add more or less according to heat tolerance)
Smoke the tri tip steak for 2-3 hours until the internal temperature is around 160-165F (71-74C) and then wrap it tightly in tinfoil or butcher’s paper – the tighter the better because we don’t want to steam the meat.
Return the meat to the smoker and smoke for another 2-3 hours until you have a final temperature of 203-205F (95-96C). Rest the meat covered for 20 minutes or so before slicing thinly.
Be aware that the grain runs in 2 different directions on a tri tip – the pointy end and the flat need to be cut differently to make sure you are cutting against the grain on each section as the picture below shows.
You may also get some ideas out of our article, best things to smoke on a pellet grill.