16 Company BBQ Ideas for Work

By: | Updated: January 22, 2024

Here is our list of the best company BBQ ideas.

Company barbecues are parties where staff can eat delicious food and play fun games. Examples of event ideas include a barbecue cook-off, recipe swap, and DIY giant yard pong. The purpose of these activities is to help coworkers get to know each other better, share dishes, and celebrate hard work.

These activities are similar to company picnic ideas. and family fun day ideas. These gatherings are examples of team building events and outdoor team building activities.


This list includes:

  • corporate BBQ ideas
  • company BBQ activities
  • company BBQ games
  • corporate BBQ event ideas

​Let’s get started!

List of company BBQ ideas

The foundations of a good barbecue are good music, fun games, and delicious food. Creating a festive environment for an entire company can be a real challenge. However, with careful planning, your barbecue can be a hit. Here is our list of corporate BBQ event ideas to make your gathering successful.

1. Field Day (Team Favorite)

During Field Day, colleagues compete in a series of fun and interactive outdoor games! Through this experience, teams will unwind together and create strong friendships.

Key features of Field Day include:

  • a 90-minute session led by a top-notch host
  • a blend of innovative new games and childhood favorites
  • classic activities that spark nostalgia
  • chances to capture candid team photos

Further, we will meet you at your chosen location with all the game supplies. To help your team laugh and strengthen bonds, include Field Day in your agenda!

Learn more about Field Day.

2. The Great Guac Off™️ (Highly Rated)

The Great Guac Off is an exciting competition where teams make their best guacamole recipes! This unique avocado-based experience aims to strengthen team members’ relationships.

Here is what you can expect:

  • 90 minutes with an experienced host
  • fascinating avocado facts, trivia, and mini-games
  • high-quality guacamole ingredients and dippers
  • an optional secret ingredient to add an element of surprise
  • a fast-paced guacamole-making showdown followed by a judging round

Best of all, we will bring all the necessary ingredients right to your venue. The Great Guac Off is a one-of-a-kind team building activity, so be sure to check it out!

Learn more about The Great Guac Off.

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3. BBQ Theme

Themed events are an easy way to engage employees, incorporate games, and make a meal plan. You can pick a theme ahead of time and let attendees know before the day of the event.

​Here are some ideas:

  • Western
  • Hawaiian Luau
  • Summer Camp
  • Futuristic
  • Red, White, and Blue
  • Decade You Were Born In

For company BBQ ideas, avoiding themes that would need fancy dress-up might be a good idea. Instead, the themes that will translate well to this type of event are quick, simple, and casual.

​Once you choose your theme, the rest of the party planning falls right into place! Your theme can inspire the flyers, decorations, menu, dress code, games, and even music.

For more inspiration, check out theme day ideas.

4. BBQ Cook-Off

A barbecue cook-off is one of the best company BBQ activities. This competition is a great way to engage employees. Plus, employees get a delicious meal out of the contest!

To host a barbecue cook-off, you can send out a sign-up sheet before the event to see how many team members want to participate. If there is a lot of interest, then contestants could form teams. Depending on how many competitors there will be, it may be helpful to have more than one grill available.

Once entrants sign up, chefs can choose what food they want to cook for the competition. Some possibilities include ribs, burgers, or brisket. Then, order plenty of the chosen food.

Next, choose judges. The judging panel could consist of barbecue attendees, or you could select a small dedicated group of ”celebrity” panelists.

On the barbecue day, the contestants can get to cooking, and the judges can fill out judging cards as they eat. Whoever has the highest score wins!

For a fun prize idea, consider creating a barbecue-themed gift basket. For example, you could include a grilling utensil set, an apron, and seasoning blends.

Here is a guide to cook-offs at work.

5. Chili Cook-Off

From Texas style to bean to verde, chili has many different forms. Chili’s versatility makes it great for a friendly contest! To set up a chili cook-off, send an announcement a couple of weeks in advance so competitors can prepare and RSVP.

At the event, bring large folding tables with enough room for all the participants. If the chefs  want to bring Crockpots, then have outlets available to keep the chili warm.

Next, create some voting slips with contest parameters. Judging can range from casual to detailed, so you have a lot of freedom when choosing your categories!

​Here are some examples to get you started:

  • Color
  • Smell
  • Taste
  • Texture
  • Heat Level

On your voting slips, specify the scale for the judges. Whether the range is one to five or one to ten, keeping the numbers consistent will help create a fair result.

You can choose a team of judges ahead of time, or the judges could be any team member who wants some delicious chili. Whichever method you select, the crowd can taste, score, and crown a winner!

As an added barbecue bonus, you can have the pit master cook up some hot dogs so diners can try a variety of chili dogs!

6. Blind BBQ Sauce Taste Test

If you have ever walked down the barbecue sauce aisle, then you know how many options exist. With so many choices, a blind barbecue sauce taste test is an interesting way to try new flavors and compete.

There are a few variations of this activity:

  • Homemade Sauce Competition:
    • Have entrants bring their own personal barbecue sauces. Blindfold the taste testers, and have each of them sample all the sauces. They could try to guess who brought which one, or they could rank them and give a prize to the winner, or both!
  • Regional Sauce Competition:
    • According to this Food and Wine article, there are seven essential regional barbecue sauces: Kansas City style, Alabama white sauce, Eastern Carolina style, St. Louis style, Lexington dip, Carolina gold sauce, and Texas style. You can choose any combination of these sauces. Then, blindfold the participants and see if they can guess the origin of  each sauce. You could even give participants the tasting notes ahead of time for a leg up. For example, Eastern Carolina-style sauce is vinegar based. Whoever gets the most sauce regions correct wins!
  • Brand Competition:
    • With so many brands out there, it would be a tough challenge to tell them apart, but not impossible. You can choose your favorite few brands to have contestants test and see if they can identify each one. The taster with the most correct brands identified wins!

These taste tests are fun corporate BBQ ideas. As a bonus, partygoers will have several sauces to choose from when eating their barbecue plates.

7. Hot Sauce Competition

Whether your spice tolerance ends at black pepper or ghost peppers, there is a hot sauce for you. For spice enthusiasts, a hot sauce competition is a great way to put your palate to the test!

Hot sauce is rated on a heat scale called the Scoville scale. The Scoville scale measures the quantity of capsaicin, the chemical that makes peppers hot. The scale ranges from zero, like bell peppers, to 1.5 million, like Carolina Reapers.

The YouTube show Hot Ones plays with this scale. The host conducts celebrity interviews while having guests eat increasingly spicy hot sauces. Hot Ones comes out with new sauces for each season, and they sell the collections in their store, Heatonist. Heatonist’s spiciest sauce tops out at 2 million on the Scoville scale.

To host your own Hot Ones-style competition, pick up a few hot sauces ranging in heat level. To check the Scoville level, look up the Scoville heat units of each sauce. The higher the number, the spicier the sauce!

The pit master can grill some chicken wings, and contestants will coat their wings in each sauce. Whoever can eat the highest spice level of wings wins!

​Learn more about the Scoville scale.

8. Smoking Tutorial

When you think of company BBQ ideas, meat  comes to mind. Since meat is one of the things guests will anticipate most, make it a centerpiece of the event.

You might hire a local caterer or chef to attend the event and lead a meat-smoking tutorial. If there is a barbecuing enthusiast on the team, they could lead the class as well! The chef could bring any variety of wood chips with them since each has a distinct flavor. From there, the chef could smoke any meat. For example, ribs and brisket work well on the smoker, and will feed a crowd.

9. Food Trucks

You can rent food trucks for private events to save on setup and cleanup. Barbecue food trucks are not a new idea. Pitmasters often have barbecue competitions and festivals in portable setups. The best part about hiring a food truckis that no team member is stuck behind the grill for the whole event. Catering the barbecue allows colleagues to interact, relax, and have fun!

To find and book food trucks near you, try Roaming Hunger’s directory. For a little variety, you could hire a different truck, like an ice cream truck or a beer truck. Hiring multiple trucks could be a great option to try some new cuisine.

10. Recipe Swap

Swapping recipes is a fun way to show off family recipes and glimpse coworkers’ home lives! Before the event, have staff  sign up to bring a favorite family dish. You can ask participants to bring a few copies of their recipe and the dish. You could give out blank recipe cards or send cooks links to create printables. Every employee can grab a recipe card for each dish they loved at the event!

As a fun bonus idea, you could order recipe card boxes with your company logo. Then, your team has somewhere to store their new recipes.

11. Food Flight

Flights are a fun way to try variations of the same dish or drink. For example, beer flights are popular items on brewery menus. There are all sorts of flights now, from margarita flights to coffee flights to cake flights.

To use flights in your barbecue setting, send a poll for workers’ favorite barbecue side dish. Once the results are in, you have a couple of options for creating your flights. For instance, ask your team to make their dishes or get different versions from a few restaurants.

Before the event, grab some small plastic cups and labels. You can write or print out the labels ahead of time or have a marker nearby to write the names. Then, serve up the food and sample away!

12. Meatless Monday

When it comes to barbecues, meat tends to be on the menu. It may sound odd to suggest avoiding meat altogether, but Meatless Monday could be a fun way to mix up expectations!

Meatless Mondays have a longstanding history, stretching back to World War I. Herbert Hoover suggested Meatless Tuesday and Wheatless Wednesday to save on food supply during the war. It worked! Today, people have revived the tradition in the spirit of sustainability and health.

Instead of burgers and ribs, you could grill vegan patties, hot dogs, and vegetables. Plus, most barbecue side dishes are already meatless. Going meatless behind the grill is a unique way to get your creative juices flowing. Plus, Meatless Monday is good for the planet and inclusive of non-meat-eating employees!

13. Dessert Barbecue

One fun way to challenge expectations is a dessert barbecue! Plenty of fruits grill well, like watermelon, stone fruits, and pineapple. Grilling fruits creates that iconic smoky flavor while gearing toward the sweet side. The fruit can top ice cream or baked goods. It is even possible to bake cakes and other desserts straight on the grill!

14. DIY Giant Yard Pong

Pong is a straightforward game of throwing a ball into a cup, or, in this case, a beach ball into a bucket. Beer pong is usually a college dorm room game but translates well to a giant yard game.

​To construct your own yard pong set, the materials you will need are:

  • Twenty five-gallon buckets
  • One or two beach balls that fit into the bucket opening
  • A beverage of your choice–it does not have to be alcoholic

Once you gather your materials, you can set up the game!

First, arrange ten buckets in a pyramid formation. Then, use the rest of the buckets to set up another pyramid at least fifteen feet from the point of the first. The two points should be facing each other. You can put the two sets even farther apart for more of a challenge!

Once the buckets are set up, inflate the beach ball if needed. Next, gather four players, two for each team. Make sure each player has a drink in their hand, whether soda, fruit punch, or even a cocktail. Then, you are ready to start!

Here are the basic rules:

  1. One team throws the ball at the opposing team’s buckets.
  2. When the ball goes in a bucket, the team that was scored on takes a drink.
  3. That bucket is removed from the pyramid formation.
  4. Twice per game, each team can call for the opposing team to rerack the buckets.
  5. The first team to score in all their opponent’s buckets wins!

Yard pong is fun  and works well as a tournament, which can keep teams engaged for the whole barbecue!

15. Cornhole

Cornhole is a yard game classic! Cornhole is a simple game of tossing small bean bags at a board with a hole in it.

​Here are the basic rules:

  1. Set the boards up with twenty-seven feet between them.
  2. Pair up players.
  3. Team members will stand facing each other at opposing boards.
  4. Both teams on one board will pitch their bags at the board across from them.
  5. All four bags must be pitched during each round.
  6. Once all the bags are thrown, any bag remaining on the board is worth one point.
  7. Any bag that went through the hole is worth three points.
  8. Opposing scores cancel each other out. So if Team A got five points and Team B got three, Team A would end the round with two points, and Team B would have none.
  9. The first team to reach or exceed twenty-one points wins!

For an added challenge, any team that goes over twenty-one points busts and has to start over at thirteen. The game would resume as normal until a team reaches twenty-one on the dot.

This competition  is a game that works great in tournament style.

16. Frisbee Golf

Frisbee golf is a fun group activity where players throw frisbees into baskets. The scoring works the same as standard golf. The fewest number of strokes, or in this case, throws, wins!

There are frisbee golf courses all over. Several of these courses are at public parks, which makes them a great location for a company barbecue. You can bring your grilling setup to the park and grill while employees compete in company BBQ games!

If you want to integrate more company merch, custom frisbee golf discs are easy to order and make a great prize for the winning players!


Company barbecues are a fun team-building event that you can host repeatedly. With so many options for activities, each barbecue can feel like a brand-new function! You can plan an exciting barbecue to bring the team together by putting careful thought into the activities at the event.

Next, check out our articles on work social events, beach party ideas, and spirit week ideas.

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FAQ: Company BBQ ideas

Here are answers to questions about company barbecue ideas.

What are company BBQs?

Company barbecues are cookouts that an organization hosts for its employees. Often, these events include a big meal, yard games, and activities like a chili cook-off, cornhole, and recipe swap.

What are some good company BBQ ideas?

There are plenty of ways to create a fun environment during a company barbecue. Some good company BBQ ideas include barbecue themes, recipe swaps, and Meatless Monday.

How do you plan a company barbecue?

To plan a company barbecue, it is important to know how many guests will attend. It might be a good idea to check the company calendar and pick a time when you know most employees will be available. Then, you can send out RSVPs to help you construct the rest of your plan.

From there, you can find a large enough venue to host your event, like a public park or a frisbee golf course. Then, you can choose a menu and order all the necessary food. Be sure to check for food allergies or preferences so you can make sure the whole team has something they can eat.

If you are planning something with sign-up sheets, send forms out at least a week ahead of time. Advance notice allows participants to get any necessary ingredients or supplies.

Next, you will want to choose some fun activities and party games to do. Some ideas include DIY giant yard pong, blind barbecue sauce taste test, and food flight. Gather any supplies needed to host those events.

Finally, you can assemble a team to set up the barbecue and get ready to party!

Author avatar


People & Culture Director at teambuilding.com.
Grace is the Director of People & Culture at teambuilding.com. She studied Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, Information Science at East China Normal University and earned an MBA at Washington State University.


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