What Foods to Serve at a Backyard Graduation Party

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Classic BBQ dishes make ideal choices for a backyard celebration.
Classic BBQ dishes make ideal choices for a backyard celebration. (Image: Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Planning a backyard graduation should reflect the graduate's interests and likes to celebrate his or her achievements. When planning and preparing the food for a backyard graduation, you can stick with a particular theme or mix favorite foods with traditional recipes. How you will store the food and drinks is an important detail to keep in mind when planning what to serve.

Traditional Barbecue Foods

Some traditional barbecue foods you may choose to serve at a graduation party include grilled chicken, barbecue ribs, corn on the cob and even baked beans. You can purchase premade cold salads, such as potato and macaroni salad, or create your own in large quantities. Sticking with foods that can be contained outside under the day's weather conditions or within your refrigerating space is important to keep the food fresh and edible. Other traditional barbecue foods are kabobs, which can include vegetables, fruits and your choice of meats as well as steak, salads and dinner rolls.

Family Recipes and Traditions

Include family recipes in your backyard graduation gathering and dinner. Again, if there is a dish you are interested in serving, be sure to plan the storage ahead of time, as it may be hot outside, which may add to spoiling the food. Store your family recipes in large serving dishes or catering containers outdoors to keep them hot or cold, depending on the ingredients.

Themed Foods

Create a “theme” for the type of foods you are serving. If you plan to have an all seafood party, create a seafood buffet on ice to keep shrimp and other appetizers cold. You can create a variety of platters with cheese, meats and even miniature desserts. Other themes for foods might include strictly barbecue, southwestern foods, homemade items or Italian, Chinese, Japanese or dishes from any other specific culture you would like.

Drinks and Desserts

Serving drinks in large punch bowls outdoors can be a great way to make your beverages visually appealing. Keeping your drinks and beverages cool or in ice will also be important if you plan to have your backyard graduation in warm or hot weather. Drinks may range from a variety of sodas to custom punches of your choice. Serve finger food desserts such as mini-cakes, cookies and pre-wrapped candies. If serving a homemade baked dessert, keep it cooled to avoid spoiling or melting.

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