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Budget Friendly BBQ Dishes & Sides For A Large Crowd

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It’s that time of year. Summer has arrived (almost) and everyone is outside enjoying the warm sunshine and grilling with family and friends. Budget Friendly BBQ Dishes & Sides For A Large Crowd gives you some great ideas to keep the costs down while entertaining and enjoying some delicious recipes too!

Budget Friendly BBQ Dishes & Sides For A Large Crowd

I’m taking part in a blog series to help you plan and throw the best BBQ this summer.

We’ve got Budget Friendly BBQ Dishes & Sides For A Large Crowd, great recipe inspiration and ideas.

We know it’s hard to budget our summer entertaining, especially with the rising cost of food. But we make it easier!

It’s always fun to get together with family and friends in the summer months and throw together a BBQ to enjoy friendship, laughter and fun.

However if you’re working on a budget, it can be stressful trying to come up with ideas to keep the cost down but to ensure everyone eats well.

We can help with our Budget Friendly BBQ Dishes & Sides For A Large Crowd.

First of all, when planning your menu, you should always start with the # of mouths you need to feed.

In our family alone, we have 7 mouths, add in our extended family that usually attend our BBQs and you’ve easily hit 14.

Then add in friends and neighbors and the cost of food increases dramatically as we add more mouths to feed. 

That won’t keep us from throwing a great BBQ and making sure nobody goes home hungry.

So let’s talk Budget Friendly BBQ Dishes & Sides For A Large Crowd

Budget Friendly BBQ Dishes & Sides For A Large Crowd: Main Dish

Usually menu planning for a BBQ begins with the main dish.

What are you planning on serving your guests? How much room do you need to cook or even to serve?

These questions will help you consider what items might be the easiest to prepare or throw on the grill.

They will also allow you to use Budget Friendly BBQ Dishes.

For the most frugal parties, hamburgers, hot dogs and brats seem to be the answer.

Those are perfect, sales are in abundance in the summer months and they definitely feed a crowd.

But there is so much more you can do, to feed your guests well.

Our favorite BBQ main dish is actually pork ribs.

They are delicious, almost everyone loves them and of course if you can find a sale (also often in the summer) you’ll be whipping up a Budget Friendly BBQ Dish in no time flat.

You can usually watch the meat case for great deals starting in early Spring, buy up what you think you’ll need and freeze it until you’re ready to use it. Especially if you know you’d like to entertain.

Pork is a pretty inexpensive meat on it’s own, but then when you watch for sales or deals you can wind up with quite a lot for not a lot of money. 10lbs of Ribs for $19 is enough to feed a party of 15.

These two packages of Pork Ribs are 10lbs and cost $19 total. That’s less than $20 to feed a large party of 15.

Even buying enough hot dogs and hamburgers, plus buns and condiments to feed everyone, can go way over that.

Scroll to the bottom of post for a very easy Pork Rib recipe

Easy Marinated Pork Ribs
Easy Marinated Pork Ribs

 Budget Friendly BBQ Dishes & Sides For A Large Crowd – Side Dishes

We can’t forget the side dishes and there are so many budget friendly recipes and options for frugal side dishes.

You can feed any crowd for less with these great recipes. It’s imperative to have several choices for side dishes when feeding a large crowd.

You want to ensure that nobody goes hungry and not everyone will like every side dish.

Having great sides will help fill everyone up, and they won’t need seconds and thirds of the main course, which is good.

My favorite go-to frugal side dishes are always my Grilled Corn with Herbed Butter and my Bacon Potato Salad. (links to recipes below

I get rave reviews anytime I serve these and they are such a traditional BBQ item plus they fit our Budget Friendly BBQ Dishes & Sides For A Large Crowd theme so well.


Corn is a great inexpensive side dish to serve with any BBQ. The reason being is that corn usually runs about .28 an ear and if you’re lucky you can go to the local farmer’s market and get it for 4/$1, sometimes better – for a party of 15 that’s less than $5 for a side dish and corn is a popular item at BBQ’s! Who doesn’t enjoy corn?

While it is totally okay to freeze corn on the cob, I don’t suggest it. Once thawed and cooked it can become mushy and the flavor changes.

Instead, just store ears whole and unwashed in a sealed plastic bag in your vegetable drawer of your refrigerator. It will help keep for longer if you take those steps.

If you DO want to freeze corn, may I suggest that you cook or blanch it before you freeze and store in freezer safe containers.

It will stay good for 6-8 months in the freezer that way. This awesome recipe is our favorite way to grill fresh corn on the cob.

Grilled Corn with Herbed Butter
Grilled Corn with Herbed Butter


I love potatoes as an easy and inexpensive side dish. You can usually get HUGE bags of baking potatoes for around $3-$5 – anywhere from 5lbs to 10lbs and it’s definitely enough to serve a small army.

Stay away from the specialty potatoes when you’re working on Budget Friendly BBQ Dishes & Sides For A Large Crowd.

They are more expensive and you get a LOT less.

Just purchase regular baking potatoes in large bags and it will stretch further, you get more for your money and everything STILL tastes great.

Potatoes can be prepared in so many different ways.

You can make your own french fries, or Mash ’em for some yummy Creamy Mashed Potatoes.

You can even take them a step further and make these beautiful, fancy Parmesan Hasselback Potatoes OR these mini Loaded Hasselback Potatoes.

Our favorite thing to do for a BBQ though, is to make up a large batch of this Bacon Potato Salad (pictured below) that is always a huge hit.

Everyone asks for the recipe and it’s so super simple and delicious, and goes with practically anything.

Bacon Potato Salad Recipe
Bacon Potato Salad Recipe


Obviously there are dozens of ideas you can use to create a perfect side dish.

Veggies and fruit are always a popular item and if you plan around sales and seasonal availability, you can really get some great deals.

Easy Summer Vanilla Fruit Salad
Easy Summer Vanilla Fruit Salad – click photo to see recipe

Salads in general tend to be popular and inexpensive.

Even just a regular salad, but think outside the box and create a great pasta salad (pasta is cheap!) or egg salad or fruit salad.

Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette – (click photo to see recipe)

Creamy Bacon Avocado Pasta Salad – Click Photo for Recipe

Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad – Click Photo for Recipe

Beans are a popular BBQ item and go great with just about any meat you throw on the grill.

Cornbread is also a very inexpensive way to throw in a side dish.

This award-winning Moist Sweet Cornbread is one of the most popular recipes on my blog and is a favorite!

Moist Sweet Cornbread
Moist Sweet Cornbread – Click Photo for Recipe

It is totally possible to find Budget Friendly BBQ Dishes & Sides For A Large Crowd that don’t have to cost a ton of money to be successful, taste fantastic and have everyone stuffed.

Your BBQ will be a huge hit and you won’t break the bank!

I’d love to know what your favorite budget friendly main dish or side dish happens to be for a large BBQ. Tell me in the comments below.  

Here’s a very easy Marinated Pork Ribs recipe:

Easy Marinated Pork Ribs

Easy Marinated Pork Ribs
Easy marinated Pork ribs are the perfect addition to any BBQ. Perfect when feeding a large group!
4.83 from 29 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Marinate 4 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs 45 mins
Course Pork Recipes
Cuisine American
Servings 10 servings


  • 1 ½ cups of chicken broth
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons minced onions
  • ¼ cup steak sauce
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 10 lbs of pork ribs or other cuts of pork


  • In a large bowl, combine the first 9 ingredients and mix well. Pour 1-½ cups of the marinade into a large covered plastic container and add the ribs. Turn the ribs to coat completely.
  • Refrigerate for at least 4 hours but 10+ is better. In another container, cover and refrigerate the remaining marinade.
  • When you’re ready to prepare, drain and discard the marinade from the ribs.
  • Grill the pork ribs on the bbq grill, covered, over indirect medium heat for 20 minutes on each side. Baste the ribs with some the extra marinade sauce.
  • Grill 15-20 minutes longer or until a meat thermometer reads 160°, turning and basting occasionally.
  • You can serve the ribs with any remaining sauce or mix up a new batch.


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Summer @ Mallow and Co

Sunday 26th of May 2013

Love this! I always need good side dish recipes for our family parties!

Nicole Cook

Sunday 26th of May 2013

Thanks Summer, and me too. I'm always looking for great side dishes and usually wind up turning to my tried and true. ;)

Richard Holden

Tuesday 21st of May 2013

Trash Can Baked Beans Tip 6 cans of baked beans into a foil tray. Sprinkle with bbq seasoning, squeeze over 2 lines of French's mustard. Add in 1 chopped red, green and yellow pepper and 2 chopped peaches. Add in any left over hamburger meat, pulled pork, brisket, sausage, all chopped into small pieces, and stir once. Cook over a low direct heat, with the lid down, until the beans start to bubble around the edges. At this point turn the heat off and just leave to stand for another 10 minutes. These are absolutely delicious and save you from throwing out otherwise unwanted pieces of food :-)

Nicole Cook

Tuesday 21st of May 2013

Richard, thanks for the great recipe, and I just love the name! haha These look fantastic and super easy - two things I love. Thank you for sharing your lovely recipe!

Chelsea {Whatcha Makin' Now?}

Monday 20th of May 2013

Seriously. I'm drooling. That recipe for the pork ribs sounds amazing! Def. a crowd pleaser. I'm so ready for corn on the cob - it's the true sign of summer in my book. Thanks for being part of these series; I'm glad I have a new blog to read!!

Nicole Cook

Tuesday 21st of May 2013

The pork ribs were fantastic, so moist and succulent and made of course, exactly the way I love them. Corn on the cob is a staple here during the summer, so I totally understand Chelsea. I'm so glad we did this series and that I've made new friends along the way. :)


Monday 20th of May 2013

WOW! You took the intimidation out of a party I want to throw this summer. I know how to cook for a crowd, but BBQ is NOT my thing. I'm going to copy every single recipe! Looks amazing. THANKS.

Nicole Cook

Tuesday 21st of May 2013

Angela! Excellent. I love it when I can provide information, tips and recipes that help someone do something daunting. Please check in after your party this summer and let me know how it went. Enjoy!!


Monday 20th of May 2013

I love all of these ideas, especially for the side items. My daughter loves bacon so I'll definitely be trying the potato salad and the herbed butter is a great way to jazz up corn on the cob. All of these dishes remind me of summer! Thanks for being a part of this series.

Nicole Cook

Tuesday 21st of May 2013

Thanks so much Dawn. I love taking something simple adding a little something to make it special - that's how the herbed butter for the grilled ears of corn started. Your daughter will love that creamy potato salad with the bacon. Yum! Thanks for inviting me to do the series with you all. It's been so fun!

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