Barbeque Night in Columbus

Laura Madden

5 mins read

Jun 29, 2024


How to Plan a Barbeque Night with Friends in Columbus?

Nothing has ever bonded friends better than the grill sizzle on a Barbecue night. In fact, some of the best stories narrated through the ages have originated from barbecue nights.

Columbus is a city where community and good eating go hand in hand.

Hosting a BBQ party with the best Columbus, OH, food can be a great social event to catch up with friends. This guide will walk you through every step of organizing a BBQ night, ensuring that planning your get-together becomes as easy as a pie.

Creating a Guest List

Deciding who makes it to your guest list sets the tone for your BBQ. Whether you’re looking for a cozy gathering or a bustling bash, list friends who mix well. You can use tools like Facebook Events. These tools will help you send out invites easily and manage RSVPs seamlessly. When you know the number of people attending your event, planning the food in Columbus becomes easy, too.

Selecting a Date

Picking the perfect date is crucial. The date of your BBQ night should align with everyone. You can use Doodle Polls to propose multiple dates and let your guests select their preferences. This ensures maximum attendance and keeps everyone involved in the planning process.

Choose a Venue Options

Choosing a venue shouldn’t be hard in a place like Columbus. There are plenty of options available. First, you must decide whether you want this to be a backyard affair or somewhere else.

While considering hosting the party at home, consider the guest list size and analyze whether your space has enough capacity.

For something different, consider the city’s local parks or lakeside pavilions, which often feature grills and picnic tables.

For those without access to a private yard, Cincinnati’s local breweries and eateries, like Fifty West Brewing Company, provide a unique backdrop for BBQ events. These events often have added perks like craft beer and catering services that serve Columbus’s famous food.

Send Out Invitations

Once the guest list, date, and venue are final, you can send out invitations. Various tools for designing invitations are available online, and some invitation templates are even free. Pick a template that resonates with your BBQ night the most. Fill in the details like date, venue, etc.

While inviting your guests, you can attach an RSVP link or poll so that they can mark their availability. Having an idea of the actual number of people will help you plan the size of the BBQ spread with Columbus, OH, food.

Decorate the Space

Start with simple decorations such as balloons and streamers that echo the casual vibe of a BBQ. Adding floral centerpieces can bring a touch of elegance without going overboard.

Employ gingham tablecloths to instill a classic picnic feel.

Use picnic baskets to hold condiments and silverware—functional yet stylish. As the evening unfolds, good lighting will be crucial. String up fairy lights, drape some lanterns, and place a few candles to create a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Menu Planning

You can’t have a BBQ night without planning the menu, right? A BBQ night is only successful when it has the best Columbus, OH food. Create a menu that caters to and meets your guests’ dietary preferences.

A mix of vegetarian and meat options ensures everyone has options. Aim for a balance between pre-made dishes from the best food places in Columbus and foods grilled on-site, so you’re not behind the grill all night.

Main Dishes and Sides

Columbus Oh food mixes Midwestern flavors with innovative and international influences. Offering some local Columbus flavors can make your menu stand out when planning a BBQ night. Here are some suggestions for main dishes and sides for a Columbus-themed BBQ:

Smoked Columbus-style Brisket: This brisket is slow-cooked over the hardwood and served dry with only a dusting of local spices and maybe even a hint of locally made honey.

Pork Shoulder with Buckeye BBQ Sauce: Oven-baked pork shoulder is dressed with a barbecue sauce made from a base of traditional tomato and Ohio buckeye candies, added as the best Columbus food.

Lake Erie Walleye Tacos: Fresh Lake Erie Walleye, locally caught, served in fish tacos with local corn salsa and cabbage slaw.

Buckeye Chicken Wings: Named after the popular Ohio Buckeye candies, these can be enhanced with peanut butter and chocolate sauce for a sweet taste.

Vegetarian Polish Boy: This sandwich is a meatless version of the Cleveland classic. It features a vegetarian sausage in place of the kielbasa, topped with coleslaw, French fries, and barbecue sauce, all in a hoagie bun.

Appetizers and Desserts 

Start the dinner party with light, easy-to-eat appetizers, and make the guests look forward to the desserts. Here are some suggestions:

Mini Buckeye Peanut Butter Balls: These mini, bite-sized buckeye peanut butter balls have the perfect ratio of peanut butter to chocolate and are made for popping one at a time.

Columbus-Style Pizza Bites: Columbus pizzerias well-acclaim this style. It consists of thick, square-cut pizza served in small squares with delicious toppings such as pepperoni, banana peppers, and, of course, cheese.

Corn Fritters with Spicy Aioli: These bad boys can be spiked with a spicy aioli dip for a delicious pregame to your barbecue.

Sweet Corn and Black Bean Salsa: A combination you probably know, but you’re trying it with freshly cut Ohio sweet corn.

Deviled Eggs with BBQ Shredded Chicken: Classic deviled eggs jazzed up with locally prepared BBQ sauce-seasoned shredded chicken for a powerhouse of flavor.

Ohio Cherry Pie: This can be made into an old-fashioned cherry pie with Ohio cherries or served individually as minis or in one large pie to slice and share.

Pawpaw Ice Cream: An exotic dish to treat your guests with, which seems to be tropical, but the item hails from Ohio, which is the state known for this fruit.

Apple Cider Donuts: Cap off the BBQ with a sweet treat fresh from the state’s rich apple orchards: apple cider donuts.

Buckeye Bars: A variation of the regular buckeye balls, but more easily served to a large gathering and oh-so-yummy with chocolate and peanut butter atop one another in this decadent dessert.

Peach Cobbler a la Mode: Using another favorite fruit from Ohio, serve up a warm peach cobbler topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

BYOB or Make Drinks

Depending on your budget, you can opt for a BYOB setup or provide a selection of drinks. Consider a signature cocktail or a local craft beer selection from Cincinnati breweries. Don’t forget non-alcoholic options like lemonades and iced teas for kids and friends who are on a detox.  

Feeling Overwhelmed with the Menu? CookinGenie will Save you. 

Planning a BBQ party should be fun, not stressful. To make it super fun, CookinGenie is here to help. With CookinGenie, you’re not just hiring a private chef in Columbus, Ohio; you’re ensuring a seamless culinary experience at your BBQ.

This service provides personal chefs who will take care of everything—from shopping for the freshest ingredients to cooking mouth-watering dishes. The chefs are skilled in various cuisines and will tailor the menu to suit your guests’ dietary preferences, ensuring everyone has something delightful to enjoy.

Games and Entertainment

Equip Columbus’s famous food with games that guests of all ages can enjoy. Think giant Jenga, cornhole, and wiffle ball. These games guarantee a fun time and are great for some ice-breaking.

As dusk sets in, gather everyone around a fire pit for s’mores and storytelling. Consider a DIY scavenger hunt with clues hidden around your venue, adding an adventurous twist to the evening.

Read more: A Guide to the Columbus Food Tours.


A well-planned BBQ becomes much more than a meal. It becomes a source of shared laughs, stories, and, most importantly, happy memories. By paying attention to the details and adding personal touches, the memories of your BBQ nights long after the last ember fade. 

Laura Madden

Partnerships & Events Manager

With a flair for creating meaningful connections through food, Laura excels in crafting unique and engaging human experiences. Her calm and friendly approach makes complex problems look like a piece of cake. When she's not forging and fostering partnerships in hospitality, she's out trying new restaurants in town.

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