Momma Told Me: Amazing Summer BBQ Ideas On A Budget

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Amazing Summer BBQ Ideas On A Budget

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Amazing Summer BBQ Tips On A Budget #DoThe99 #99Obsessed #AD
As a native Southern Californian I like to think I have a special leg up when it comes to the art of casual barbecuing.

And yes, us Southern Californian's can use a phrase such as 'casual bbq' because, for us, the weather is almost year-round opportune for the occasion. When one has the option to grill, or dine in their backyard, nearly any day of the year one does tend to consider it quite the norm. Regardless, the same secrets and tips I enjoy taking advantage of for my everyday bbq's are just as appropriate for those in the Eastern states where grilling is much more of a seasonal event.

That is to say, you can enjoy an amazing Summer BBQ, even on a budget.
As a self-proclaimed 99er I'd expect you to find no shock that I'm about to share with you how I have an amazing Summer BBQ on a budget thanks to 99 Cents Only Stores.

But, if we're being honest I'd bet you're actually a bit skeptical on the other side of that screen. And you're likely to have even more skepticism when I declare that you can not only buy your fresh fruits, vegetables, napkins, condiments, and snacks at 99 Cents Only Stores, but your proteins, desserts, sunscreen, pool floats, charcoal, grill brushes, and yes ACTUAL portable camping and backyard personal grills. You'll find all of these items, and more at your local 99, just in time for Summer grilling season! And, thanks to the amazing prices at the 99, your budget can go further than ever before!
The 99 isn't just a one-stop shop place to pick up all of your favorite name brand snacks, foods, and toiletries. As I've shown you time and again with my extensive series of holidays and entertaining on a budget posts, such as How To Rock Your 4th of July On A Budget and Back To School Gift Ideas For Every Age, you truly never know what you'll find at the 99!

While my local 99 has a large grocery and everyday staple selection they also have a continuous stock of licensed children's toys, gift sets and gift ideas for everyday, greeting cards, and an entire aisle (or more) of seasonal specialty merchandise. Currently my 99 is rocking a large selection of gardening tools and decor in addition to a front-and-center Summer BBQ display with all the essentials from potato chips and ketchup to charcoal grills and lighter fluid. It's the perfect destination for a last minute bbq, bbq on a budget, or to pack for a cookout on the road. I find I can often save up to 75% when I choose to shop the 99 over my local large mass retailer chain.
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You might think you'd need to get creative to have a great BBQ on a budget, but it's almost the opposite when you shop the 99. I find there is such a plethora of inspiration and selection I have a hard time editing myself and my concepts.

For example, there are so many options for drinks, alone, that I tend to want to grab one or two of each of our friend's and family's favorites, just to have them on hand! Of course there are also more simplified serving solutions such as beverage dispensers, pitchers, fresh fruit for homemade lemonade, and large juice bottles for cocktails and mixers. With the value I find at the 99 I can even have a little fun and 'theme' an everyday weekend BBQ night with a few luau themed drinking straws, or gold rimmed pineapple appetizer plates!

For the purpose of this particular post, however, let's look at an everyday BBQ night for a family of 4-5. I'm about to give you a sneek peek into our delicious BBQ meal from this past weekend- a typical Saturday night for us here in SoCal.
Amazing Summer BBQ Ideas On A Budget #DoThe99 #99Obsessed #AD
Every great BBQ requires 3 main things, in my mind; 1.) plenty of delicious food to snack and graze on throughout an afternoon or evening, 2.) Lots of sunshine, and ideally water or outdoor sports, and 3.) Some form of fire prepared food for a main course. Supporting considerations for a successful BBQ will depend on your BBQ's setting and might include, a portable BBQ, disposable plates/utensils/napkins, unique and traditional condiments, and a few fun-in-the-sun toys and activities. You'll find all of these things at your local 99.

A BBQ should be fun, but also quite casual. You want to encourage your guests, even if it's just you and your family, to indulge and eat freely with their hands- to be able to go from drinking and eating back to recreating in a blink. Make sure you set up an outdoor area where plenty of finger foods/snacks are readily available in bite-sized portions. Don't be afraid to toss a bottle of sunscreen, and some extra sunglasses out with the napkins and plates for added convenience!
Amazing Summer BBQ Ideas On A Budget #DoThe99 #99Obsessed #AD
One of my biggest joys about a Summer BBQ is the convenience factor- nobody wants to have to spend hours cleaning up after. As a result we almost always rely on disposable plates and napkins, as well as simple lightweight chip and dip platters that rinse off easy. You'll find endless options for serving at the 99 in the currently featured Summer BBQ displays, and in their everyday party/entertaining aisles. Right now there were a bunch of cute plaid and gingham trays, napkins, and plates to choose from to really bring that BBQ/picnic feel visually to your cookout. For a little extra fun consider accenting your snack trays and platters with some outdoor toys such a squirt gun, or tossing a beach ball in the middle as a centerpiece. Simple 'extra' touches like these don't fit into my budget when I shop the big mass retailers but, thanks to the 99's low everyday prices, I can afford to add a few of these accents for a fraction of what I'd pay elsewhere.
This Simple Watermelon Fruit Boat makes any Summer BBQ instantly more fun! Amazing Summer BBQ Ideas On A Budget #DoThe99 #99Obsessed #AD
Speaking of centerpieces, a great BBQ truly allows you to eat with your fingers, your mouth, and your eyes. A simple fruit sculpture such as this Watermelon Fruit Ship will really get you plenty of kudos, while helping to drive fingers towards healthier snacking options. For less than $5 this fun tabletop attention grabber was made with a small watermelon, fresh cherries, seedless grapes, a wooden kabob, and some construction paper from my local 99. I'd have a hard time putting such an adorable edible display together under $10 elsewhere.

Simply halve your watermelon lengthwise and core the red pulpy filling with a melon-baller tool. You can reserve the other half for another meal, make 2 ships, or double the amount of watermelon filling in your centerpiece. Pile your watermelon balls high in the cored out watermelon 'bowl', alternating with the fresh fruit of your choice. We typically go with cherries and grapes, but strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and more all make for a delicious sailing party.

For the 'sails' you truly have complete creative liberties- go with one large dramatic sail, sailboat style, or lean towards a double mast galleon ship as we have chosen above.
Cran-Coco Sunset Mocktail- Coconut Water, 100% Pineapple Juice + Cranberry Juice. Amazing Summer BBQ Ideas On A Budget #DoThe99 #99Obsessed #AD
When it comes to keeping everyone hydrated at a Summer BBQ you will be inclined to stock up on plenty of bottles water, and other bottled beverages in your family/guests favorite beverages. You'll find hundreds of name brands at the local 99 from Monster Energy Drinks and Mountain Dew throwback glass bottles (selection and availability varies by location and time of the year) to Arizona tea and Langers juice products.

Having such a variety available at amazing budget-worthy prices means I can often play around with crafting delicious mocktails that really help make our BBQs extra-special.

Try combining equal parts Langers Cranberry Juice, Dole 100% Pineapple Juice, and Parrot Coconut Water for a refreshingly tropical drink that makes any outdoor gathering a party. You know I am all about the presentation, so I always serve my 'Cran-Coco Sunset Mocktail' with crushed ice, laying the coconut water first, then pineapple juice, with a topping layer of cranberry. Serve with the beautiful gradient and toss a colorful plastic stirrer, from the 99 party aisle, in so guests can stir it up for maximum flavor!
Amazing Summer BBQ Ideas On A Budget #DoThe99 #99Obsessed #AD
Of course you can always increase the BBQ vibes and leave your favorite drinks and mixers out on the main table for guests to create their own mocktail creations as well. If you prefer to go this route consider having some freshly washed and prepared fruit and herbs, such as cilantro and mint, as well as selzter. Yes, you'll also find these things at the 99- along with some tumblers, disposable cups, entertaining glassware, shakers, tongs, and more.
Our Summer BBQs tend to last the better portion of an afternoon into the evening.

When the day's are long, and the nights roll up as if to continue one never-ending casual day, it truly is the best of times. Laughter by the pool, fun with the pups, mouthing an esteemed relative's signature tale for the hundredth time. It's hard to imagine one every really gets to a main course with all that grazing and good times!

Plain a main course that is heavy in protein but relies on many of the existing sides and snacks as suitable pairing options. That is to say stick with ribs, hamburgers, and sausages for more casual everyday Summer BBQ events. Proteins that don't require much fuss beyond a good char and a hearty piece of bread or scoop of starchy beans.
When I stumbled upon several boxes of Texas Toast in the freezer section of my local 99 I immediately knew I wanted to try a new Summer BBQ tradition, Polish Sausage Grinders.

These delicious garlic buttery, thick, bread slices are made to go straight from your freezer to your grill (or oven for everyday meals) and make the perfect Summer cookout companion as a bun or generous chunk of bread for BBQ sauces and drippings. Serve meat on them open-faced, or put a plate out alongside your main dish for guests to enjoy on their own.
Grill Texas Toast directly on your BBQ for the perfect 'buns' to any Summer BBQ Sandwich, including this Polish Sausage Sandwich! Amazing Summer BBQ Ideas On A Budget #DoThe99 #99Obsessed #AD
I loved the idea of grilling split polish sausages on the grill because there was no prep needed on our end; in fact these polish sausages came in 3 heat varieties and were entirely cooked. I found them right in our local 99's cold case next to the deli meats and dairy products. One sausage was more than enough to feed 2-3 people, and at the 99's pricing was a complete bargain!
Also on our grill went some thick-sliced onion rings and 4 varieties of bell peppers- depending on the season and your local 99's availability you might also spot whole corn on the cob, beefsteak tomatoes, grilling zucchini, Portobello mushrooms, baking potatoes, and more. I'm always impressed with not only the variety of fresh fruit and produce at my 99, but the quality and size of options available. Thanks to the impressive savings at the 99 I can buy twice as much fresh fruit and veggies for what I would pay elsewhere. Once again, this is a department where I simply have a hard time choosing just a few things to toss on my plate- it always all looks so delicious!
Because great BBQ food should be first-most eaten with your eyes and nose encourage each guest to build their own plate to their liking. Offer plenty of condiments and sides so everyone can truly eat what they want, how they want. My father is more traditional and prefers to eat his components separately, digging into his sausage with a knife and fork, while Jay enjoys eating his open faced and slathered in mustard, and I enjoy tasting all of my fresh elements at once, in the form of a sandwich.
Grill Texas Toast directly on your BBQ for the perfect 'buns' to any Summer BBQ Sandwich, including this Polish Sausage Sandwich! Amazing Summer BBQ Ideas On A Budget #DoThe99 #99Obsessed #AD
The ability to be versatile and relaxed in your eating style is key to making a good BBQ a great one- just be sure to have plenty of utensils and napkins on hand as faces and hands are bound to get a bit messy! Some other favorite BBQ additions include sauerkraut, a variety of pickles and olives, cheese cubes, crackers and chips, a pad of butter for bread and rolls, plenty of fresh greens and veggies, and plenty of drinks to refill those cups.
Grill Texas Toast directly on your BBQ for the perfect 'buns' to any Summer BBQ Sandwich, including this Polish Sausage Sandwich! Amazing Summer BBQ Ideas On A Budget #DoThe99 #99Obsessed #AD
While some great BBQ proteins may take an entire afternoon of smoking these polish sausages were ready-to-eat direct from the package so our Grill Master only had to focus on giving them a good sear. (Everyone knows half the grill flavor is in the sear.) Choosing a ready-to-eat protein such as hot dogs and polish sausages can often make for an easier time when one is just learning to navigate a grill. It also gives the Girll Master more time to focus on the additional components, such as grilled veggies and toasted buns/bread.
Grill Texas Toast directly on your BBQ for the perfect 'buns' to any Summer BBQ Sandwich, including this Polish Sausage Sandwich! Amazing Summer BBQ Ideas On A Budget #DoThe99 #99Obsessed #AD
Of course the true marking of a great Summer BBQ is one in which your neighbor pokes their head over the fence, or wanders into your campsite to causally remark on the enchanting smells. Make sure you always over-buy 20% of your anticipated consumption when planning a Summer BBQ. In general, estimate how much your party will eat and multiply it by .2. For example, for a gathering of 5, buy enough to feed 6. You never know when an uninvited guest will stop by- and if they don't someone is bound to be thrilled to have the leftovers to take home or heat up the following day.
Grill Texas Toast directly on your BBQ for the perfect 'buns' to any Summer BBQ Sandwich, including this Polish Sausage Sandwich! Amazing Summer BBQ Ideas On A Budget #DoThe99 #99Obsessed #AD
Of course, if you're going to be hosting a Summer BBQ of substantial size and/or length, it's always most courteous to automatically invite your closest neighbors. They are, of course, the ones who will have to put up with the ruckus of loud noises and delicious smells in their own backyards for the duration. If you truly want to win a few neighborly points consider sending a plate or two over the fence on either side- it'll make for many more successful BBQs as the Summer winds on.
Naturally not all of your guests will so easily partake int he day's festivities- pets and children should always be afforded some extra consideration when preparing an outdoor entertaining event such as a Summer BBQ.

For example, make sure that all children present around a pool know how to swim, are outfitted with proper flotation devices, and monitored by a designated adult at all times when in a backyard with a pool. Keep adult and alcoholic beverages up top and high out of reach of curious hands- this includes chests with beers and malt beverages locked and properly secured. If you have small pets who are prone to exploration consider locking all side gates to your backyard and/or keeping them harnesses and close to their humans. Consider that not all human friendly foods are safe for pets and ensure that 'table' surfing is not taking place unless specifically encouraged for photography (*cough* our home.)

One thing I want to particular note for pet owners is to watch the 'grease trap' on your grill, as older pans can get leaky and leave dripping puddles underneath what is a VERY HOT bottom of your BBQ. As cute as it may be to see Fido begging beneath your feet at the grill it's best to practice safety and keep pups out from under afoot when grilling.
Whether your Summer BBQ is a small intimate event of an everyday family meal for 3 or 4, or a full blown all-day block party, it can be hard to keep track of where everything and everyone is at any time. The point of the day and meal is to relax and indulge so don't expect things to be tidy and perfect. When we BBQ things rarely go as planned so we are grateful to have extras on hand such as over-sized waste bags to double as trash bins, wet naps for spills and saucy hands, and extra towels and changes of clothes for the pool.

Wrapping our Summer BBQ with a simple dessert on the grill is a favorite pastime of my family.

While stocking up for our most recent BBQ I spotted some Keebler Graham Cracker Pie Crusts in 'bake' friendly pie tins. Just around the corner was an end-cap full of graham crackers and other S'mores inspired fixings. The rest of my plotting was Elementary, really.
Pile a graham cracker pie crust high with sliced bananas, marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate- then grill directly on the grill top for 10 minutes to make thiese S'mores inspired dessert dip! #DoThe99 #99Obsessed #AD
With some freshly cut up bananas, jumbo marshmallows, graham crackers, and 2 types of Hershey's chocolate bars, we piled that pie crust full of S'mores deliciousness and set it in the center of our grill in High with the middle burners turned down and the side burners turned all the way up. With the grill-top closed for just shy of 10 minutes we had the most perfect golden brown, gooey, toasty marshmallow chocolate banana concoction. This 10-Minute Grilled Smores Dip was the perfect ending to a poolside day and Summer BBQ we are all too lucky to enjoy nearly every weekend in the Summer, here in So Cal.
I was able to add just a little extra magic to our 'everyday' Summer BBQ by purchasing everything from the local 99 Cents Only Stores location around the corner. I dare-say if we ever found ourselves in a pinch and ran out of ice we could easily stop in and grab a 5lb bag. It's such a great piece of mind knowing I can afford to make these everyday BBQ events truly memorable, and truly a Summer staple for our family by shopping on a budget at the 99.
Pile a graham cracker pie crust high with sliced bananas, marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate- then grill directly on the grill top for 10 minutes to make thiese S'mores inspired dessert dip! #DoThe99 #99Obsessed #AD
Of course, when all is said and done it's really the people at your BBQ that make it a roaring success.
You can't quite put a price on that time the dog 'pushed' your Aunt into the pool while she hoisted her arm in a toast, or how the entire backyard comes to life and sings along when this year's Summer pop hit comes on the radio. The delicious food and fun decorations are great glue to build a bigger memory, but the time spent with those we love under blue skies and Summer sun is simply priceless. Help max your Summer BBQs and discover a 99 location near youNow, tell me, what are some of your favorite things to eat, or do at a Summer BBQ?


  1. These are such great ideas! I love the decorative touches, and I could eat that ENTIRE S'mores pie! Om nom nom.

  2. This rocks! We love barbecuing in the summer and the 99 Cents Only stores would give us many more possibilities. I'm liking your advice!

  3. Wow looks like you had an amazing barbecue. So many yummy things to choose from!

  4. I NEED the recipe for that sandwich ... it looks amazing. As always, your pictures are gorgeous :) I don't think we have "the 99" in my area but I'll definitely check!

  5. You make summer look real good! That 99 Cents Only store has such a huge variety! I wish we had one near my place!

  6. That s'mores dessert looks really good! I wish we had 99 Cents stores around here! I can't believe how cheap it is!

  7. We don't have a 99 Cents store here! I sure wish we did because WOW look what you got to make an awesome BBQ!

  8. I really wish we had this store around here. I have heard so many great things about it. I know I'd be there often if we had one. Your recipes look amazing!

  9. Everything looks delicious! I wish we had a 99cent store. They have the BEST deals!

  10. I want to mkae that smores dessert. I could tear that thing up! Delicious.

  11. These are really great ideas for a fun summer BBQ! Very affordable and everything looks delicious!

  12. How can I even edit all I have to say? Once again you prove you are the best blogger out there!! Let's start with your outfit, so sticking cute! The finds you got at the $.99 store? Outstanding! Who knew that the selection was so nice there. Bonus? THis s'mores recipe from with items from these, can you even imagine how your friends will be rolling their eyes. Oh and wait! The topper for me? Mt. Dew in bottles. THAT!!

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