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Games for BBQs | BBQ Party Games Ideas for Adults

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People turn to barbecues for many purposes: marketing outreach, office lunch, and socializing. There are also the occasional barbecues for family members of those living in group homes or other residential settings. Part of what makes a successful BBQ is engaging in the event with a side of friendly competition! That’s where BBQ games come in handy.  

Looking for some games for BBQ?

Every BBQ needs a few rounds of games to lighten the party mood. Typical games that are played at a cookout are crazy golf, musical chairs, and Chinese dice. Games can break the ice and provide friendly competitions among friends.

Below, we will give you a host of BBQ party game ideas for adults, break these games down into various types and explore different types of barbecue games that are currently popular. Some may be new while others have been around forever but they all add fun to your next get-together with family or friends. If you want to know more about what is available in the market, read on!

BBQ Games – Types & Popularity

The party now has a group of new friends. Everyone can join in for grass volleyball or use a raft in the pool to race against a friend and see who will reach the highest number of goals. For teens, there are ample games for a backyard bonfire or camping trip away from home-could it be skewer racing or cornhole (bean bag toss)? We have games involving water that can be enjoyed on land at the actual BBQ event or continued over into the evening by going inside like chess or card games with family as an alternative to the usual evening tv affair.

Something as simple as charades can produce many laughs-probably more than competitive ballroom dancing! Ultimate barbecue game strategy-make sure to mix in old favorites along with some new games just to keep it fresh and keep everyone guessing. Set up your barbeque event today with word on some popular games and how you can make them work for you! 

Backyard races and obstacle games for barbecues

Having guests over for a BBQ is often a time to challenge them to all sorts of crazy activities and games for BBQs can be as fun and as crazy as you want. Some of the easiest games for BBQs are race or obstacle-oriented games. In this article, we provide you with many different game suggestions for getting sporty and active at your next BBQ event. These include fun games you may not expect such as sumo wrestling (yes you read that right 😃) or BBQ crazy golf can make the party more lively and encourage everyone to get outdoors and stay lit. Tasking part in these games for BBQs will help you fill the party spirits and set the tone for an eventful and fun party.

BBQ Games – Races

Of course, probably the simplest BBQ games to organize are racing games. Although simple these can be fun for both participants and spectators. Activities like backyard races and obstacle games are fun BBQ games and a great way to have guests enjoy friendly competition and get outdoors for a BBQ. You don’t have to go crazy to make your BBQ day one to remember! So, invite a few friends over and show them all the wonderful ways they can burn off those cheeseburgers and hot dogs.

Barbecue Obstacle Race 

If you’re like most people, you go outside to enjoy it anyways. If you have enough free space in your yard, why not use it to have an obstacle race! All that’s needed is some cones, solid objects to act as obstacles, and an energy course drawn up on a piece of graph paper. Keep in mind the quantity and size of objects to use so that people won’t break things. Decide how many “rigs” will be laid out and what the time limit is. Then, choose someone to set up and facilitate the event or enlist the help of a volunteer. Simply set people against one other in a race to run between all the rigs while avoiding anything that might slow them down!

Running Games for BBQs

The simplest games that you can play are probably running games. Depending on the size of your yard you can either have a straight race or lengths. From a simple foot race (although it might be an idea to handicap the more athletic barbecue guests) to races with props or even a combination. 

bbq games sack race

If you are looking for an exciting activity to do with friends, a sack race or ‘egg and spoon’ race are perfect family bbq games.  A sack race only needs a few builder’s rubble bags/sacks or an ‘egg and spoon’ race which could use real eggs or balls balanced on a spoon.

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Create your start and finish line and have your friends race against each other to see who will get their sack or egg to the finish line first. To make it more interesting you could even introduce blindfolds or drinking penalties into the race!

If you want to really make it a challenge you could combine a foot race, sack race, and ‘egg and spoon’ race into one race or have teams if you have enough guests. 

Traditional BBQ Games

There are a number of traditional games that are often staple fair of BBQ entertainment.

Pitch | backyard barbecue games

Pitch backyard barbecue games

Pitch is a lawn-party version of horseshoes, except for a long nail that is not used to propel the clanging ball. Instead, the goal is to hurl the ball closer to the center stake than your opponent. Ideally, the game is played on a smooth lawn surface and tossed with a robust throw.

The game can be played with hoops or horseshoes. Set the pin or pins in the ground and then move back 10 or 15 feet and draw a line on the ground. The object is to get the hoop or horseshoe on the pin. You can award points for near misses. Gradually move the throwing line back to make the game harder.

Cornhole (Bean Bag Toss)

cornhole BBQ games for Adults
Cornhole BBQ games for adults

Another favorite for BBQ games is cornhole or beanbag toss.

Cornhole is an American game that is played similarly to horseshoes. The cornhole game pieces are in the shape of a board and adhere to certain regulations.

When playing, you take turns pitching beanbags into a sloped surface with your private board on the other end on a competitive basis to see which participant scores closest to the hole in the board.

Some people play this casual game with friends every day of the week and in walkways like parks but it works great as a BBQ game for the whole family. You can also use the chance to enjoy extensive sandwiches and refreshing drinks as the BBQ is cooking.

How to Play Cornhole

The game is generally played with teams of 2 or 4 players. For two people, each team gets 4 bags. One person on each team stands at both ends of the boxes. They must throw from behind the front of the box, and may not pass the foul line on their throw. Teams alternate shots, beginning with the team that scored the previous point.

You win points if a player either gets a bag on the board or in the hole.

Officially rule is that only one of the teams can score points in each round as points cancel each other out. however, you can tweak the rules and just tot up the scores

  • A bag that lands on the board get 1 point
  • A bag that goes into the hole gets 3 point
  • The first team to 21 points is the winner

Bat and ball games for BBQs

What’s more fun and economical in a yard party setting than a game of “Pitch” or “Bat and Ball”?

French Cricket | BBQ Games

barbecue games French Cricket

If your yard isn’t optimal for this, there’s still the more sedate “bat and ball” option. 

French Cricket is a game where you don’t have a formal playing area needed. Nearly anyone can play social games, go to parks, and play on beaches. It is a good type of cricket for children of any age. You don’t need all of the players to be part of it, and one can be a spectator to have a bat (just for fun).

Ideally, you need a cricket bat (a baseball bat will do) and a tennis ball. The batter stays still with the bat holding it against their ankles because their ankles are the “stumps” of cricket. Whichever other player has the ball throws it at the batsman’s legs in an attempt to get them out (if it hits their legs). If the batter hits the ball, the other players might catch the batsman out. 

You can either score by the number of times the batter hits the ball or have the batter run to another base before the ball gets there.

BBQ Games – Crazy Golf:

Crazy golf has become one of the most popular outdoor activities over the past decade. The game involves players using their feet as clubs to hit balls into holes.

What’s your favorite miniature golf course; the one where it’s so tough that it makes your heart-rate spike with every putt? The one that’s a math challenge – calculating the slope and par to get your ball in? It may take a lot of work, but crazy golf can be a really fun game to play!

Add a little bit of friendly competition and it turns into an addictive pastime. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at backyard crazy golf, which is a miniature golf course set up in someone’s backyard.

DIY crazy golf is just as fun to play if not more so than a professional course, and the advantage is, that it doesn’t cost a single penny to play! Crazy golf takes up a large space and requires coordination, creativity, and the premise of how you will get from one hole to another.

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It’s also great exercise because there are no physical barriers between holes like in regular golf courses. The only thing that can stop you from playing this game is your own imagination.

If you have an old tennis ball or two lying around, then all you need is some string and a few sticks to make yourself a set of crazy golf clubs. You’ll be able to use these tools to create any kind of obstacle you want on your path through the woods. For example, you could put a tree trunk across the middle of your path, or maybe even build a bridge over a creek. There are endless possibilities when it comes to creating obstacles with what you already have at home.

The next step is choosing a spot to begin the game. A nice place to start would be near a water source such as a pond or stream if your yard has one, then look to create some obstacles. Use drainpipes and or planks of wood to aim to get the ball over or if you are able build a tunnel so the ball can go under.

You don’t need to put holes into the ground, a pin or a stick work just as well with the aim being to hit the pin or stick.

Once you’ve created your obstacles, you’re ready to start playing. All you need now is a way to keep track of who goes first. This is where the rules come in handy. Tossing a coin or drawing straws are both good ways to decide. 

The winner of course is the person who can get the ball around the course, getting it into all the holes or hitting all the pins in the right order in the fewest number of strokes.

Bocce Ball

Bocce ball, a classic lawn game, adds an element of strategy and skill to your BBQ. Originating from Italy, it involves tossing bocce balls towards a smaller target ball called the pallino. Players take turns aiming their balls, trying to get as close as possible to the pallino. The game can be played individually or in teams, making it perfect for any group size. Bocce ball’s straightforward rules and leisurely pace encourage friendly competition and social interaction, making it an excellent choice for your outdoor gathering.


Pickleball combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis into a fast-paced, engaging game. It uses paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. Typically played on a badminton-sized court, pickleball can be enjoyed as singles or doubles. The game’s simple rules and smaller court size make it accessible for players of all ages and skill levels. Setting up a temporary pickleball court in your backyard is easy, and the game’s dynamic nature ensures an energetic and fun-filled experience for your BBQ guests.


Tetherball brings nostalgic fun to your BBQ, recalling playground memories for many. A ball is attached to a metal pole by a rope, and players hit the ball in opposite directions, trying to wrap the rope around the pole. The game is straightforward, requiring minimal setup and space. Tetherball is great for all ages, offering a quick-paced and exciting challenge. Its simplicity and physical activity make it a hit at any outdoor party, ensuring everyone gets involved and enjoys the friendly competition.

Wiffle Ball

Wiffle ball, a simplified version of baseball, provides a relaxed and entertaining option for your BBQ. It uses a lightweight, perforated plastic ball and a plastic bat, making it safe for all ages. The game can be played with traditional baseball rules or adapted for a more casual backyard setting. Wiffle ball’s versatility allows for various modifications to suit the space and number of players. Its laid-back nature encourages laughter and camaraderie, making it an ideal addition to your BBQ festivities.

Backyard Hockey  BBQ 

Backyard hockey
Backyard hockey

As games for BBQs go and if you have the space and the energy, then one of the best games to play at a BBQ is backyard hockey. You can buy backyard hockey sets for around $35 which will allow you to go one on one with another guest!

Just place the goals at each end of the yard and have five-minute games, the winner being the one who scores the most goals.

Fighting Games

As games for BBQs go being able to help your guests let off a bit of steam as they relax is always a good idea. And for letting off steam nothing beats a friendly fighting game! The idea, of course, is to have fun and with inflatable suits, you can have a great time. One of the most popular backyard fighting games is sumo wrestling, using ‘sumo suits’, a game brilliant fun for the contestants and a great laugh for those watching. The best bit is no one will get hurt.

Sumo Suits Wrestling | BBQ Party Games for Adults

Two guests will put on a ‘fat sumo suit’ (you buy these suits for $20-$30)  and then go onto the sumo wrestling ring, this just being a circle that you can mark out on the ground.

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The wrestlers then fight with each other while keeping the suit intact. The sumo suits don’t allow much movement, and they are not allowed to use their hands to move the suits up their body. The end result is the contestants try to bump each other out of the ring. 

This usually makes for a very entertaining spectacle and is a lot of fun for the participants as they try to maneuver their opponent out of the ring. Usually, it is the best of three rounds.

You should prepare yourself for a tough fight as it is actually quite energetic. But best of all it is one of the most fun bbq games, you’ll have a good time and won’t be sore at the end.

Other types of inflatable suit

They don’t have to be ‘sumo’ suits. Although the most widely available you can now get all manner of bump fighting suits such as bumper balls and bumper bubble suits!

In fact even the kids can join in as you can also get sumo and other wrestling / bump suits for them. 

Water Games For Your BBQ

It is time to let the inner kid out of yourself for this type of BBQ game. Let’s face it what is more fun than playing with water. Obviously, for these types of BBQ games, you are probably going to need lots of towels or guests might need to have a change of clothes, although if the weather is hot enough then the sun might dry everyone out. Of course, if your yard is lucky enough to have a pool then there are many more games that can be played.

BBQ Water Fight games

BBQ water fight games
BBQ water fight games

Obviously, there are many different ways that you can have water fights. The key here, when planning your BBQ games, is to engage in as fun a way as possible with your guests, and let’s face it,  what can be more fun than a water fight! 

Water guns and water pistols are the obvious choice for a water fight but, with a little imagination, we can do better than that.

For example, balloons filled with water that can be thrown at each other is one idea. The object is to burst your balloon on your opponent or see who can burst the most amount of balloons on their opponent.  

Either way you can have the fights as one-on-one duels or organize the barbecue guests into teams.

Water Fight Game Rules at a BBQ

  • Keep the fight as far away as possible from the barbecue cooking area. Having games at a barbecue adds a lot of fun but if the food is ruined then the fun soon evaporates 
  • Try to have the water fight where you’re easily able to access water when necessary. Because there’s nothing worse when you mess around refilling your gun with water and your opponent wins. Ensure a bucket of water, tap, or hose within a manageable radius near you.
  • Protect the potential dangers by keeping buckets and any other things that can be broken or spilled out of the way. Clear the ground of any hazards such as stones or branches or anything that might cause someone to trip.
  • You can not throw water balloons or aim your water guns at people’s heads. The idea is to have as much fun as possible without anybody getting hurt. 

Keeping Score

Having gone to all the trouble of planning a series of games, if you are a competitive bunch then you will probably want to keep some sort of score. There are many ways to do this. A chalkboard or a whiteboard both work well. But if you don’t want to bring these into your yard then you can create a chart and either laminate it or put it on a clipboard.

If you don’t have time to make a scorecard then fear not. We have made some scorecards that you can download here and use for your BBQ Party Games.

Prizes for BBQ Party Games

games for BBQs - trophyDo we have a winner? If we have got through the games and we have a winner or winners then it is only right that they receive a prize. 

To be honest this could be anything and depends on the nature of your BBQ but bottles of wine are always good or perhaps an inflatable trophy!
But don’t forget the losers. No one wants anybody to feel left out as ultimately it is as much about taking part as winning, although try telling that to Uncle Harold as he sees victory and the finish line!
It is nice in the end to make everyone a winner even if you are presenting ‘booby-prize’ trophies as well! The more inclusive that you can make your BBQ games the better the overall party will be and you will have your guests keen to come back the next time you hold a party with BBQ games.

Playing outdoor games for BBQs will make all of your guests enjoy the party more. These games are great to break the ice and have fun, to not just worry about filling their stomachs. So, test out these fun game suggestions and bring a little lightheartedness and competition to the BBQ.

If you are looking to ensure everyone has a good time party games for BBQs will do all that for you. You can’t go wrong with classic games like crazy golf or Chinese dice that teach competition, sportsmanship, and socializing with friends. All you need is some physical activity and friendly rivalry and you’re all set!

If you are planning a BBQ then hopefully, among our bbq party game ideas we have suggested, you will have found something that can use to bring fun to the games for the barbecue party you might have. Just remember to also enjoy the company and food once the party starts to heat up!