Host a Mother’s Day barbecue: Recipes, entertaining ideas, a checklist and more

A laid-back and casual barbecue is a great way to celebrate Mother’s Day, especially if you have lots of special ladies with whom you want to celebrate. In most regions of the country, May offers great weather (but before you plan an outdoor shindig, check the weather report!). While we can’t control the weather, we can help you create a one-of-a-kind barbecue celebration for Mother’s Day.

Apple Walnut Salad

Just because it’s a barbecue doesn’t mean you have to serve baked beans and hot dogs. Follow this simple menu for a hearty and delicious backyard repast.

Mother’s Day Menu:

  • Apple Walnut Salad
  • Slow-cooked Baby Back Ribs
  • Decadent Brownies

Apple Walnut Salad

2 green apples, cored and sliced very thinly
1-1/2 cups walnuts, chopped
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese shavings
1 to 2 bags of prewashed mix baby greens
Balsamic vinaigrette


This salad gives an elegant touch to any meal, but it couldn’t be simpler to toss together! Simply pour greens into a large bowl and top with the apple slices, walnuts and Parmesan shavings. Wait until just before serving to mix in the desired amount of dressing.

Slow-cooked Baby Back Ribs

Pork baby-back ribs
Store-bought dry rub of your choice
Barbecue sauce


*Note: The number of racks you need depends on how many guests you are planning on serving. Most guests will eat between three and four ribs. (It’s always better to have too much than not enough.)


Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Line a baking sheet (you might need more than one) with heavy-duty aluminum foil and place ribs on the foil. Sprinkle dry rub on both sides of the ribs and pat the spices into the meat. Put in oven and bake for about 2 hours and 15 minutes. A few minutes before the time is up in the oven, light the grill. Take the ribs out of the oven, slather with barbecue sauce, and finish them on the grill for 7 to 10 minutes. Allow to cool before serving.

Decadent brownies

3 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup flour
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup pecans, chopped


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Melt butter and baking chocolate together, then stir in sugar, salt, eggs and vanilla. Blend flour into the mixture until just blended (do not over-mix). Finally, fold chocolate chips and pecans into the batter.


Pour batter into a lightly greased 8- by 8-inch baking pan and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until a toothpick or knife comes out clean.

Entertaining Ideas

  • To keep the theme casual yet classy, forget checkered cloths and picnic tables. Set out intimate settings for groups of four to six, preferably at round tables (covered with simple white linens) to encourage easy conversation.
  • Randomly place on each table as well as the buffet table little tea lights and bud vases with just one simple, but brightly colored flower.
  • Leave a little blank card with a pen at each table setting. Encourage each guest to write a simple “thank you” to the guests of honor — the moms!
  • Set up a beverage station that encourages guests to help themselves to water, soda, beer and wine. If you choose to offer cocktails, prepare several pitchers in advance so no one has to tend bar.
  • Make sure you provide something fun for guests to do outside (besides eat!), such as croquet or ping-pong.

Mother’s Day checklist:

  • Tea lights/candles
  • Small bud vases
  • Fresh flowers (enough to fill each bud vase with one flower)
  • Tables/chairs
  • White linen tablecloths
  • Blank white cards
  • Pens
  • Ping-pong table or croquet set
  • Beverages of your choice
  • Don’t forget the groceries!


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