Dessert spread for a crowd at a BBQ

Hi everyone,
We are having a BBQ with about 20 people and while we have dinner pretty much covered I’m debating the best desserts for such a gathering. I don’t want anything fussy. Classic, seasonal and summery is best. Someone has volunteered to bring brownies. I was thinking of making a big bowl of banana pudding but this may be too much work with the day’s other food responsibilities. I also am considering a Texas sheet cake (chocolate with PB icing from the Baked Occasions book) and a fruit crumble or crisp. Any other ideas? I’d say I want a minimum of 3-4 desserts including the brownies. Thanks in advance!

Is a Waldorf Salad not really a dessert? W/extra fruit & w/sour cream and honey - pairs well w/BBQ

But the chopping’s a heap of work. . . And w/mayo you have to keep it cold. . .

Heck. Ice cream sandwiches.

Grilled peaches drizzled with caramel sauce (we make & use a salted bourbon caramel sauce). It’s peach season. Canteloupe or honeydew slices with a dollop of plain yogurt drizzled with honey. It’s cantaloupe season also. I’m an ice cream fan also, especially when it’s on top of peach pie. Pies can be a lot of work but a gallete is really the sam ething & very simple.


Something light and tart to contrast with the rich meat - lemon bars are always good. Avoid anything that requires a plate/fork/spoon - I like the ice cream sandwich suggestion above if you have a way to keep them cold. Watermelon wedges? Peanut butter cookies or another non-chocolate cookies would give you another alternative to brownies.


Galettes or tarts with peaches, plums, strawberries, figs, just about any fruit that’s in season. Use frozen pie crust or puff pastry and you can prep them ahead of time and refrigerate or freeze until day of. Add goat cheese, feta, whipped ricotta, herbs and honey.

This has been my regular go-to dessert this summer. For 20 people, I would say six galettes or tarts would be enough.

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This. With the meat and the sauce and summer heat, keep it simple. Melon, a fruit salad…that and the brownies will be more than enough.

I agree about non chocolate options…maybr a white Texas sheet cake?

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Maybe some Blue Pig ice cream sandwiches. You could use your favorite cookies and make some interesting pairings the day before the BBQ.

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Thanks for the ideas everyone. I should have mentioned that another friend is bringing fruit salad. So we have fruit salad and brownies already. I like the idea of the old school ice cream sandwiches and I will get a big box of those. One thing to understand about our group of friends is that we have a long history of over-the-top dessert. So while I agree about not having excessively rich desserts it’s pretty much tradition to have a lot of dessert options. I will probably enlist a friend to bring some fruit pies from Four and Twenty in Brooklyn (best pies ever and less work for me). Maybe I will do lemon bars and a Texas sheet cake which will also serve as someone’s birthday cake. Sunshine, I will have to look for a non-chocolate Texas sheet cake. I’ve always wanted to make one and I figured this was a good opportunity and it looks like it can be made ahead a day or two.

The white version is made with sour cream and makes a truly delicious moist cake that also works extremely well as the base for sweet shortcake. (Ooh…serve the white sheet cake with the fruit salad and a brandied whipped cream…)


Frozen grapes. Remove seedless grapes from the stem. Rinse in water or juice, put into a large baggie. Add a small box of flavored gelatin mix. Can be sugared or artificially sweetened. Shake thoroughly, freeze. One box will do close to two pounds. Let sit out for five minutes before enjoying.

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The pies from four and twenty are really the best! Make some proper whipped cream to serve with the pie, it’s easily 100xs better than the storebought stuff and you can make it ahead

You can totally make the ice cream sandwiches in advance, after baking the cookies they’re easy just fiddly to assemble and wrap well. With multiple dessert options making them a small size would be perfect.

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Icebox cake. Make several different kinds of cookie dough, portion out the dough and freeze to bake day of the party. Pound cake (could lightly grill slices) with lots of fresh berries and whipped cream.


I agree with poundcake. You can make it ahead, as it freezes great, and serve it with Stella Parks’ fruit whipped cream and either some peaches or berries!

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Peach cobbler to my way of thinking is the perfect dessert with BBQ.

I would also have chilled watermelon.


Pecan pie or blueberry or peach cobbler would be popular choices to follow a bbq feast in Texas, the cobblers served warm with vanilla ice cream on top.

I seldom have room for dessert after bbq but any get-together that goes over the top with desserts is okay by me.

The only time I can remember having dessert at a bbq joint (actually, from, not at - I couldn’t have eaten them there) I got homemade cakes from an African-American owned place that was known for it’s homemade cakes - Italian Cream Cake one time, Pineapple/Coconut another!

Old-line bbq places in Texas tended to not pay too much attention to sides and desserts but newer places are upping the game. I took a look at some online menus and found churros, chocolate bread pudding and chocolate panna cotta, lemon pound cake and banana pudding, sweet potato pie and sock-it-to-me cake. The last two are popular at African-American owned joints.

One place is famous for their pecan pie which they ship anywhere, another for it’s bread pudding.

One place that makes three kinds of sausages in-house and makes their own tortillas for brisket and pulled pork tacos, etc., has three in-house made ice cream sandwiches - chocolate chip, white chocolate macadamia cookie with cookie butter ice cream, and brown sugar butter cookie with banana caramel ice cream.


My wife makes the ice cream sandwich frozen dessert. You layer unwrapped sandwiches btwn ice cream and whipped cream alternating layers. top with chopped Reeses cups, chocolate syrup drizzle or leave plain. Always a hit at parties and the variations abound all over the www.

I just saw this slow cooker peach cobbler recipe. Might work well for a BBQ and it is peach season!

Well, party day is tomorrow and the dessert list has been finalized (mostly). Thanks to all the feedback here I think we will have a nice selection. We’ll be having summer fruit pie, fruit salad, and classic ice cream sandwiches (all store bought), homemade Texas sheet cake (going with the chocolate PB one), and homemade 7 layer bars instead of the brownies. I was thinking of making lemon bars too but it is probably overkill.

So many good ideas shared here on this thread that I will certainly use in the future and I’m sure inspired others!


bars, one of my all time favorite desserts, you had me at homemade 7 layer bars
Yay … fruit salad, I was quietly rooting for it
What a nice selection


Oooh! 7 layer bars are a fantastic decision!