17 BBQ Appetizers For Cookouts

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Summertime cookouts just aren’t complete without barbeque sauce. Whether it’s chicken, shrimp, or pulled pork, any respectable cookout will use barbeque sauce to their advantage.

There are plenty of main courses out there for barbeque cookout food, but you can enjoy barbeque as an appetizer just as easily, and faster!

We’ll cover 17 barbeque appetizers that are perfect for your next cookout. You’ll find links to the best recipes, so you can make them at home.


17 BBQ Appetizers for Cookouts

Here are 17 barbeque appetizers for a delicious summertime cookout.

1. Pulled Pork Nachos

Nachos are an amazing appetizer themselves, but add in barbeque pulled pork and they become everyone’s favorite cookout appetizer. You can also pick your own toppings.

One of the best things about this appetizer is that you can make more or less depending on how large your cookout is. Here’s the recipe.

2. BBQ Chicken Sliders

This appetizer is the perfect warmup to a big summertime cookout. They’re easy to make, and the barbeque sauce keeps the chicken from getting dry.

Barbeque chicken sliders can be made in a single pan, which makes for easy cleanup. These are best served with foods without buns. Here’s an easy recipe.

3. Beef Cheeks

Beef cheeks are an unusual cut of meat, but when cooked correctly they are insanely tender, juicy, and melt in your mouth. They’re great in barbeque sauce.

To cook barbeque beef cheeks, they are best smoked. Due to the high collagen content, smoking beef cheeks will take some time to break down. Here’s the recipe.

4. Barbeque Smokies

These little smokies can be made in the crockpot in advance. There’s no need to worry about cleaning your oven, stovetop, or any dishes really.

This recipe calls for just three ingredients: lil smokies, bbq sauce, and grape jelly. The last ingredient may sound a little strange, but the results are delicious.

5. Barbeque Brats

Brats can be served as your main course, or you can serve them as an appetizer. You can lay out toppings for your cookout guests to customize.

If you’re worried about the brats being too big of an appetizer, consider cutting them in half and serving them on slider buns. Here’s the recipe.

6. Chicken Wings

Wings are a great warm up for the main course at your cookout. They’re small, easy to eat, and can be slathered in barbeque sauce.

The ingredient list is short, but the wings do take about an hour to bake until crispy. After that, toss in some bbq sauce and they’re ready! Here’s the recipe.

7. BBQ Chicken Pizzas

A whole pizza itself may not qualify for an appetizer, but serving small, individual slices is a scrumptious appetizer that can be enjoyed by everyone.

You can customize the toppings for your pizza, depending on if you have picky eaters. The main ingredient will be the bbq chicken. Try this recipe.

8. Riblets

Riblets are the baby version of ribs. They are perfectly sized for an appetizer, but still pack all the flavory goodness of a whole rib.

If you’re having trouble finding riblets pre-prepared, you can ask your local butcher to help you out by cutting them in half. Here’s a great recipe.

9. Barbeque Baked Beans

Nothing says cookout quite like baked beans. They’re a staple at any summertime function, and when prepared with bbq sauce they make a delicious appetizer.

You can prepare the baked beans ahead of time over the stove, and wait until cookout time to throw them in the oven. Here’s a great recipe.

10. Sloppy Joe Biscuit Cups

These flaky, buttery, barbequed biscuit cups make perfect finger foods for cookouts. They’re simple to make, taking no longer than regular sloppy joes on buns.

The advantage is that they are appetizer sized, so they won’t fill you up before your big cookout meal. Try this simple and easy recipe.

11. Barbeque Bison Sliders

If you’re looking for an alternative to beef, bison is the way to go. It has a little bit more protein and a lot less fat.

Most recipes out there are for bison burgers, but all you have to do is downsize the patty and buns into sliders. Here’s the recipe.

12. Turkey Ribs

Despite the name, turkey ribs are meat that comes from the shoulder of a turkey. It has the same consistency and juicy taste as regular ribs.

Due to the leanness of turkey, the fat content is lower. But don’t fret, turkey ribs are attached to bone, which means the meat stays juicy. Here’s the recipe.

13. Smoked Sausage Bites

Smoked sausage is a must have meat at summertime cookouts. With a little spiciness, these sausages are tangy, sweet, and have a little kick to them.

You can make these over the stovetop, but during the summer weather you might want to fire up the grill instead! Here’s a recipe to try.

14. Barbeque Chicken Thighs

There are so many great cuts of meat you can get from a chicken. Thighs make a great appetizer, especially when drenched in bbq sauce.

This appetizer is easy to make, using only a few ingredients. You can bake them or grill them, depending on your preferences. Here’s the recipe.

15. Barbequed Onion Meat Loaves

Meat loaf may seem like a whole meal, but similar to pizza, you can break it down into smaller slices to make into a delicious appetizer.

Meatloaf can be cooked with many different sauces. This particular recipe uses barbeque sauce to add a sweet and tangy flavor. Try it at your next cookout!

16. BBQ Chicken Nachos

Nachos are an easy to make appetizer that can be customized depending on your preferences. This is especially helpful when picky eaters are in the house.

You can use tortilla chips, but this recipe actually uses potato chips! Top your nachos with barbeque chicken bites or pulled barbeque chicken for an awesome appetizer.

17. Brisket Bites

Barbeque and brisket are meant to be together. When you make them into small bite-sized pieces and put them on chips they are transformed to the perfect appetizer.

You can use an instant pot to make brisket bites, but if you don’t have one you can make them in the oven easy enough! Here’s an instant pot recipe and an oven recipe.

Wrap Up

Summertime and warm weather mean it’s time for cookouts, grills, and soaking up the sun. These 17 barbeque appetizers will be a perfect match with your cookout foods.

You can use almost any kind of meat and pair it with your favorite barbeque sauce. Whether you want chicken, beef, or bison, there’s sure to be something in this list you’ll love!

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