National BBQ Day 2023: The Ultimate Guide for Barbecue Lovers

National BBQ Day is observed every year on May 16th in the United States. It is a day to honor the tradition of cooking food over an open fire, which dates back to ancient times. Barbecue (or BBQ) is not only a cooking method, but also a culture, a cuisine, and a way of life. It varies from region to region, country to country, and person to person. But one thing is certain: BBQ is delicious!
national bbq day 2023

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Do you love the smell of sizzling meat, the taste of smoky flavors, and the feeling of warm sunshine on your skin? If you answered yes, then you are a bbq lover, and you are in luck. There is a special day dedicated to celebrating your passion: National BBQ Day!

National BBQ Day is observed every year on May 16th in the United States. It is a day to honor the tradition of cooking food over an open fire, which dates back to ancient times. Barbecue (or BBQ) is not only a cooking method, but also a culture, a cuisine, and a way of life. It varies from region to region, country to country, and person to person. But one thing is certain: BBQ is delicious!

National BBQ Day – Celebrating the celebration of food

There are many reasons why bbq is so popular and beloved by many people.

First of all, it is simple and versatile. You can grill almost anything, from meat and fish to vegetables and fruits. You can also use different types of fuel, such as charcoal, wood, gas, or electric. You can also experiment with different marinades, rubs, sauces, and seasonings to create your own signature flavor.

Secondly, bbq is healthy and nutritious. Grilling food helps to reduce fat and calories, as well as preserve vitamins and minerals. It also enhances the natural taste and aroma of food, making it more appetizing and satisfying. Moreover, bbq can provide some health benefits, such as boosting your immune system, improving your mood, and reducing stress.

Thirdly, bbq is fun and social. There is nothing like gathering with your friends and family around a hot grill, sharing stories, jokes, and laughter. You can also enjoy the outdoors, breathe some fresh air, and soak up some vitamin D from the sun. BBQ is a great way to bond with your loved ones, make new friends, and create lasting memories.

national bbq day

BBQ Traditions from Around the World

BBQ traditions from around the world offer a tantalizing array of flavors and techniques that showcase the rich cultural diversity associated with this cooking method. Each country brings its unique twist to BBQ, making it a culinary journey for food enthusiasts. Here are some highlights of BBQ traditions from different regions:

National BBQ Day United States

In the United States, BBQ holds a special place in the hearts of many. Various states have their BBQ specialties, such as Texas-style brisket, Kansas City-style ribs, and Carolina-style pulled pork. National BBQ Day is celebrated on the third Saturday of May in the U.S.

National BBQ Day United Kingdom

The UK has embraced BBQ culture with enthusiasm, especially during the warmer months. While BBQ may not have the same historical roots as in other countries, British BBQs have evolved into fantastic feasts featuring grilled meats, vegetables, and an assortment of accompaniments. National BBQ Day in the UK is typically celebrated on the last Monday of May.

National BBQ Day Canada

Canada’s BBQ traditions showcase a fusion of global influences, reflecting the country’s diverse population. Popular Canadian BBQ dishes include maple-glazed salmon, Alberta beef burgers, and Montreal-style smoked meat. In Canada, National BBQ Day is observed on the second Saturday of July.

National BBQ Day Australia

Australians have embraced BBQ as part of their outdoor lifestyle, known as “barbie” culture. BBQs are a common sight in backyards, parks, and beaches throughout the country. Australians love to grill a variety of meats, seafood, and veggies. In Australia, National BBQ Day is celebrated on the second Tuesday of February.

South Africa

South Africa has a unique BBQ tradition known as “braai,” which is deeply ingrained in the country’s culture. A braai is more than just a meal; it’s a social gathering that fosters unity and a sense of community. Popular South African braai dishes include boerewors (sausages), sosaties (kebabs), and grilled game meats. National BBQ Day in South Africa falls on the 24th of September, which is also Heritage Day.

As BBQ continues to gain popularity globally, each country’s unique BBQ traditions and National BBQ Day celebrations contribute to the shared enjoyment and appreciation of this beloved culinary art form. Whether it’s the smoky flavors of American barbecue, the sizzling grills of Australian barbies, or the heartwarming gatherings of South African braais, BBQ traditions from around the world bring people together to celebrate their cultures and savor the delightful tastes of grilled delicacies.

So how can you celebrate National BBQ Day and make it a memorable occasion?
Here are some tips and ideas for you to plan your perfect bbq party.

How to prepare for a National BBQ Day party?

Before you fire up your grill, you need to do some preparation work to ensure everything goes smoothly and safely. Here are some things you need to consider:

  • Choose the right grill and fuel. Depending on your budget, space, preference, and availability, you can opt for different types of grills, such as charcoal grills, gas grills, electric grills, or pellet grills. Each one has its own advantages and disadvantages, so do some research before buying or renting one. You also need to choose the right fuel for your grill, such as charcoal briquettes, wood chips, propane gas, or electricity. Make sure you have enough fuel for your cooking time and follow the instructions for lighting and maintaining your grill.
  • Pick the best meat and marinades. The star of any bbq party is the meat. You can choose from different cuts and types of meat, such as beef, pork, chicken, lamb, or turkey. You can also try some exotic meats, such as venison, bison, or ostrich. The key is to choose high-quality meat that is fresh and well-trimmed. You can also marinate your meat to add more flavor and tenderness. There are many marinades you can make at home or buy from the store. Some of the best marinades for bbq beef include tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, molasses, and soy sauce.
    • For bbq lamb, you can try a mixture of yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, and mint.
    • For bbq pork, you can use a combination of apple cider vinegar, honey, mustard, garlic, and onion.
    • For bbq chicken, you can go for a classic barbecue sauce with ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Prepare some tasty sides and salads. No bbq party is complete without some delicious sides and salads to accompany your grilled meat.
    • You can make some classic dishes, such as potato salad, coleslaw, baked beans, cornbread, or macaroni and cheese.
    • You can also try some more creative options, such as pasta salad, bean salad, broccoli salad, or quinoa salad.
    • You can also grill some vegetables and fruits to add some color and freshness to your plate. Some of the best vegetables for grilling are zucchini, eggplant, peppers, mushrooms, asparagus, and corn. Some of the best fruits for grilling are pineapple, peaches, watermelon, bananas, and apples.
  • Don’t forget the drinks and desserts. To wash down your bbq feast, you need some refreshing beverages to quench your thirst and cool you down. You can serve ice-cold water, lemonade, iced tea, or soda. You can also make some cocktails or mocktails to spice things up. Some of the best drinks for bbq are sangria, margarita, mojito, or beer. You can keep dessert simple and light with some fresh fruit salad or sorbet. You can also indulge in some decadent treats like brownies, cheesecake, pie, or ice cream. You can even grill some desserts, such as s’mores, grilled pineapple, or grilled peaches with whipped cream.

How to grill like a pro

Now that you have prepared everything for your National BBQ Day party, it’s time to fire up your grill and start cooking. Here are some tips and tricks to help you grill like a pro:

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  • Preheat the grill and clean it well. Before putting any food on the grill, ensure it is hot enough and clean enough. Preheating the grill will help to sear the meat and create those excellent grill marks. Cleaning the grill will prevent any food residue or bacteria from sticking to your food. You can use a wire brush or a damp cloth to scrub the grill grates. You can also oil the grates lightly to prevent sticking.
  • Use a thermometer and tongs to check doneness. One of the most essential skills for grilling is knowing when your food is done. Undercooking or overcooking your food can ruin your bbq experience. The best way to check doneness is to insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat. Different types of meat have different recommended internal temperatures for safety and quality. For example, beef should be cooked to at least 145°F for medium rare, pork should be cooked to at least 145°F for medium, chicken should be cooked to at least 165°F for well done, and fish should be cooked to at least 145°F for flaky. You can also use tongs to gently press on the meat and feel its firmness. The firmer the meat, the more done it is.
  • Avoid flare-ups and burning. Flare-ups are sudden bursts of flame that occur when fat drips from the meat onto the heat source. They can cause your food to char, smoke, or catch fire. To avoid flare-ups, you should trim excess fat from your meat, use lean cuts of meat, avoid sugary marinades or sauces that can burn quickly, keep a spray bottle of water handy to douse any flames and move your food away from any hot spots on the grill.
  • Rest the meat before serving. After taking your meat off the grill, let it rest for a few minutes before serving. This will allow the juices to redistribute evenly throughout the meat and make it more moist and tender. If you cut into it immediately, the liquids will spill out and your meat will be dry and tough. The resting time depends on the size and thickness of the meat, but generally, you should rest it for about 10% of the cooking time. For example, if you grill a steak for 10 minutes, you should rest it for 1 minute. You can cover the meat loosely with foil to keep it warm while resting.
grill thermometer
Type of meatRecommended internal temperatureApproximate cooking time
Beef steak145°F for medium rare4 to 6 minutes per side
Pork chops145°F for medium8 to 12 minutes per side
Chicken breast165°F for well done10 to 15 minutes per side
Lamb chops145°F for medium rare4 to 5 minutes per side
Fish fillet145°F for flaky3 to 4 minutes per side
Ground beef160°F for medium4 to 5 minutes per side
Turkey breast165°F for well done20 to 25 minutes per pound
Mutton leg160°F for medium30 to 35 minutes per pound
Venison loin145°F for medium rare15 to 20 minutes per pound
Ostrich steak150°F for medium6 to 8 minutes per side
Beef brisket195°F for tender
Pork shoulder195°F for pulled pork
Chicken whole165°F for well done
Lamb shoulder190°F for tender
Salmon fillet145°F for flaky

How to enjoy your National BBQ Day feast

You have done all the hard work of preparing and grilling your bbq food. Now it’s time to enjoy your bbq feast with your friends and family. Here are some tips and ideas to make your bbq party more fun and enjoyable:

  • Set up a cozy and festive atmosphere. You can decorate your backyard or patio with some lights, banners, balloons, or flowers. You can also play some music that suits your mood and theme. A good idea is to set up some games or activities for your guests, such as cornhole, horseshoes, frisbee, or trivia.
  • Invite your friends and family. The more the merrier! BBQ is a great way to connect with your loved ones and share some good food and good times. Invite them by phone, email, text, or social media. Why not ask them to bring some dishes or drinks to contribute to the party?
  • Try different sauces and seasonings. One of the best things about bbq is that you can customize it to your liking with different sauces and seasonings. You can serve some classic sauces, such as barbecue sauce, ketchup, mustard, or mayo. Also try some more exotic sauces, such as chimichurri, salsa, teriyaki, or tzatziki. You can also sprinkle some salt, pepper, herbs, spices, or cheese on your food for extra flavor.
  • Have fun and savor every bite. National BBQ Day is not just about eating; it’s also about enjoying the whole experience. So don’t rush through your meal; take your time and savor every bite. Appreciate the flavors, textures, aromas, and colors of your food. Compliment the cook and thank them for their efforts. Engage in some lively conversation with your guests and laugh a lot. Make some toast and cheers to your bbq party. Why not make it a themed party, for instance, a Soccer Mom vs BBQ Dad Party?

BBQ and Beer Pairings

Pairing the right beer with BBQ dishes can elevate the overall dining experience, as the contrasting and complementary flavors work together to create a harmonious palate. Here are some beer pairings that perfectly complement different BBQ dishes and the role of various beer styles in enhancing the overall BBQ experience:

  1. Smoky and Spicy BBQ: For smoky and spicy BBQ dishes, such as smoked ribs or spicy chicken wings, opt for a beer with a bit of sweetness to balance the heat and smokiness. A malty amber ale or a sweet stout can provide a smooth contrast to the bold flavors, while the carbonation helps cleanse the palate.
  2. Tangy BBQ: Tangy BBQ dishes like pulled pork or vinegar-based sauces call for a beer that adds brightness to the meal. A crisp and refreshing pilsner or a citrusy IPA can enhance the tanginess and provide a refreshing counterpoint.
  3. Sweet and Savory BBQ: For sweet and savory BBQ combinations, like honey-glazed barbecue chicken, choose a beer with a balanced profile that doesn’t overpower the dish. A brown ale or a red ale works well in this scenario, as they have enough maltiness to complement the sweetness without being overly heavy.
  4. Charred and Grilled BBQ: For dishes with that characteristic charred flavor from the grill, such as grilled vegetables or charred steak, consider a beer with a smoky quality or roasted notes, like a rauchbier or a robust porter. These beer styles can harmonize with the grilled flavors and add depth to the overall taste experience.
  5. Spicy Tex-Mex BBQ: Tex-Mex BBQ dishes, featuring bold spices and flavors, pair wonderfully with beers that have a touch of bitterness and a hoppy profile. An American pale ale or a hop-forward lager can cut through the spiciness and complement the rich flavors.
  6. Fruity and Zesty BBQ: BBQ dishes featuring fruit-based glazes or zesty marinades, such as citrusy grilled shrimp or pineapple-infused chicken, are well-matched with fruit-infused beers. Try a fruit-infused wheat beer or a Belgian-style witbier to enhance the fruity elements in the dish.

Remember that personal preferences play a significant role in beer pairings, so encourage guests to experiment and find the combinations they enjoy most. Offering a variety of beer styles can cater to different tastes and add to the fun of the BBQ experience. Ultimately, BBQ and beer pairings can create a harmonious and memorable dining experience that brings out the best in both the food and the drink, making National BBQ Day celebrations all the more special.

National BBQ Day is an annual celebration of the cultural impact and widespread influence that barbecues have on popular culture. On this day, people come together to enjoy timeless traditions seen in movies, music, and TV shows, relishing the joyous atmosphere of outdoor gatherings and the mouthwatering flavors of grilled delicacies.

BBQ’s far-reaching influence on popular culture has left an indelible mark on movies, music, and TV shows throughout the years. The communal nature of barbecues, the mouthwatering aroma of grilled food, and the joyous outdoor atmosphere have all contributed to making BBQ a significant element in entertainment media. Below, we explore some iconic BBQ scenes and references that have become integral parts of popular culture.


  1. The Great Outdoors (1988): This comedy film starring John Candy and Dan Aykroyd features a memorable BBQ scene. The characters attempt to grill a massive, out-of-control bear on their barbecue, resulting in hilarious chaos.
  2. Independence Day (1996): In this sci-fi blockbuster, a group of survivors celebrates their victory against aliens with a massive BBQ in the ruins of the White House. This scene symbolizes unity and resilience in the face of adversity.
  3. The Sandlot (1993): This coming-of-age film revolves around a group of kids who bond over baseball and summertime adventures. The movie features a classic backyard BBQ scene, showcasing the camaraderie and simplicity of childhood friendships.


  1. “Red Solo Cup” by Toby Keith: This country hit song pays homage to the ubiquitous red plastic cup often used at BBQs and outdoor parties. The song’s catchy lyrics and fun-filled music video celebrate the laid-back and festive atmosphere of BBQ gatherings.
  1. “Summertime” by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince: This hip-hop classic captures the essence of summertime fun, mentioning barbecues as one of the activities that define the season.
  1. “The BBQ Song” by Rhett & Link: This comedic song humorously lists various BBQ foods and captures the joy and excitement of gathering around the grill.

TV Shows:

  1. Parks and Recreation: This sitcom often features characters hosting and attending BBQs, most notably the recurring event “Ron Swanson’s Annual Bacon and Eggs BBQ.” Ron Swanson’s love for meat and outdoor cooking has become a defining trait of his character.
  2. The Simpsons: Numerous episodes of this animated series have featured BBQ scenes, with Homer Simpson often attempting (and sometimes failing) to master the art of grilling.
  3. Friday Night Lights: This drama series frequently showcases BBQ scenes, where the community comes together to support their high school football team and build strong bonds.

Overall, these examples illustrate how BBQ has become a symbol of community, celebration, and relaxation in popular culture. The representation of barbecues in movies, music, and TV shows often reflects themes of friendship, family, and the simple joys of life. BBQ’s influence on popular culture serves as a reminder of the enduring appeal and universal enjoyment of this beloved culinary tradition.


National BBQ Day is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate your love for bbq and have some fun with your friends and family. By following these tips and ideas, you can plan your perfect bbq party and make it a memorable occasion. Whether you prefer beef, pork, chicken, lamb, or fish, you can grill it to perfection and enjoy it with some tasty sides and salads. Don’t forget to serve some refreshing drinks and desserts to complete your bbq feast. And most importantly, have fun and savor every bite.

Here are some FAQs about national bbq day:

When is National BBQ Day?

National BBQ Day is observed every year on May 16th in the United States.

What is the origin of National BBQ Day?

National BBQ Day was created by Kingsford Charcoal in 2016 as a way to promote their products and encourage people to grill more often.

What are some other countries that celebrate bbq?

BBQ is popular all over the world, and many countries have their own versions and traditions of grilling food over an open fire. Some examples are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, India, Jamaica, Japan, Korea, Mexico, South Africa, Thailand, and Turkey.

What are some health benefits of bbq?

BBQ can provide some health benefits, such as boosting your immune system, improving your mood, reducing stress, enhancing digestion, lowering blood pressure, and preventing anemia.

What are some tips for a safe bbq?

BBQ can also pose some health risks if not done properly. Some tips for safe bbq are: – Wash your hands before and after handling raw meat. – Keep raw meat separate from cooked meat and other foods. – Use a meat thermometer to check doneness. – Discard any leftover marinade that has touched raw meat. – Refrigerate any leftover food within two hours of cooking. – Clean your grill after each use.

National BBQ Day 2023: The Ultimate Guide for Barbecue Lovers
National BBQ Day 2023: The Ultimate Guide for Barbecue Lovers
National BBQ Day 2023: The Ultimate Guide for Barbecue Lovers
National BBQ Day 2023: The Ultimate Guide for Barbecue Lovers


About Jack Thornborn

Jack Thornborn
My name is Jack Thornborn, and I'm an enthusiastic grillmaster with a passion for all things barbecue. I've been grilling and smoking meats for as long as I can remember, and I'm always looking for new ways to elevate my cooking game. What fascinates me most about grilling and smoking is the endless possibilities for creativity and experimentation. From choosing the perfect cuts of meat, to selecting the right wood chips or seasonings, to adjusting cooking times and temperatures, every aspect of the process offers an opportunity to explore and innovate. I love the feeling of being outside by my grill or smoker, surrounded by the savory aromas of cooking meat and the sound of sizzling juices. Whether I'm cooking up classic barbecue dishes like ribs and brisket, or trying out new recipes and flavor combinations, I find the process of grilling and smoking to be deeply satisfying and rewarding.

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