Our best Canada Day BBQ recipes plus tips to make it the easiest ever

Throw a celebratory cookout with almost no work on the big day!

Throw a celebratory cookout with almost no work on the big day!

(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

For Canada Day, especially Canada's 150th, you definitely want to serve up a fireworks-worthy spread. You can also make this celebration your breeziest summer fete yet, with these (mostly)  make-ahead barbecue recipes. We've got food your crowd will go crazy for and, with a little advance planning, they're options you can knock out with ease.

The trick is to plan your menu now using recipes from the list below, then use our tips to tackle some of the tasks now the steps we've suggested doing ahead. With this approach, you'll be more organized and relaxed on game day. Here's how to make all these recipes ahead and throw the most chillaxed Canada Day barbecue ever.


Burgers like these Mini Cheeseburgers are always a great make-ahead option because you can form the patties ahead of time and layer them on sheets of wax paper before refrigerating. They can be frozen like this too, for up to a month, so you've got absolutely no excuses. These Reuben Burgers are unexpected and delicious too.

Get your butcher to chop up the bird (s) for Portuguese Grilled Chicken and start marinating the night before. If you're really wanting to take this slow, you can make the dipping sauce a week in advance and prep the marinade ahead too, letting the wine and oil really suck up the flavour of those herbs.

A little know-how always helps, so read up on how to buy ribs and remove that unsightly membrane now, to make it a cinch when it's time to make these Saucy Garlic BBQ Ribs. Up to  two days before, rub the ribs down with herbs and garlic, bake them off the day before your party, then store them in the fridge wrapped tight in foil until grill time. These Spiced Baby Back Ribs with Rhubarb BBQ Sauce are great too. Follow the same make-ahead instructions, mixing up the sauce days in advance and grinding up the spices two days before.

Yum. Grilled Chicken Veracruz. Sure, you always want to make fresh tomato salsa the day you're going to serve it, but this is Veracruz Sauce and the tomatoes -- they ain't fresh! They're cooked slightly, just long enough to soften them and before they lose their shape, so this sauce can be made the night before. The chicken itself doesn't require much fuss. Just a bit of salt and pepper and oil and you're good to go.

It's always a celebration when you serve these Buffalo Chicken and Blue Cheese Hoagies. For you overachievers, here's a recipe for making the buns from scratch too. You can bake those off now and freeze them. Mix up the Buffalo sauce and the blue cheese sauce three days before. Pound the chicken ahead, and wash and dry the lettuce leaves while you're at it. Store the lettuce covered with a damp paper towel and sealed up in an airtight container.

Toast the almonds and make sure you can source the roasted red peppers for these show-stopping Shrimp Kabobs with Roasted Red Pepper Dip now. If you can't find roasted peppers, it's easy to blister your own under the broiler. You can do that three days before, the same day you make the dip. Then cut the lemons and load the skewers the morning of the party.

Mix up the spice rub now for these Grilled Shrimp Tacos, and be sure to buy the shrimp peeled and deveined for less prep. While a Fresh Tomato Salsa is great, it's best made and served fresh that day, so if you're feeling rushed, make this Tomatillo Salsa. It's fine to make this one the day before, because it's cooked.

Start hunting now for the cipollini onions you'll need to make these BBQ Turkey Skewers with Yogurt Dip. They are the perfect size, so you can skip the work of cutting them. Make the cucumber yogurt dip the day before and thread the skewers at the same time.

Gather all the spices now for these Grilled Strip Loin Steaks with Homemade Steak Spice so they're all accounted for, and grind them the day before so they're fresh. The rub is applied grill-side, so as long as it's ready, your main-dish prep is done.

This Korean BBQ Marinade can be used on meat or veggies, so make a double batch and use it to season everything. Offer rice and lettuce so guests can assemble wraps. Make the rice the day before, bringing it back to life by heating it, covered, with a splash of water.


The flavours of this Creamy Red Cabbage Coleslaw need time to marry, so it's a great make-ahead salad. Prep the carrots, cabbage, and dressing the night before, then toss them together when you're in the kitchen making coffee in the morning.

Keep things simple and throw the greens on the barbecue too with this recipe for Grilled Escarole with Olives & Pine Nuts. Sauté the olive and pine nut mixture the day before and store it in a container you can take outside that won't break or melt beside the grill.

Mix the butter for this Grilled Corn with Chipotle Lime Butter up to three days ahead, or freeze it up to a month. Grill the corn first before the meat and keep it warm in foil until everything else is done.


Impress your guests with this stunning red and white Strawberry Cheesecake. It actually requires a setting time of 12-14 hours, so make it a day ahead and you're golden.

For something bright and seasonal, leave these Martini Strawberries in their boozy marinade overnight. Skip the stemmed glasses if you'll be eating outdoors and serve them from a plastic serving bowl instead.

This Lemon Tiramisu can sit for two days, so make it ahead and keep it sealed tight under plastic wrap -- if only to protect it from curious fingers. Leave a bit of space at the top so the wrap doesn't stick to the cream and remove the top layer when you lift it.

Now that you've got all the tips and recipes you need to pull off a stress-free, make-ahead Canada Day barbecue, you can spend more time digging into what makes this country really great, like Hawaiian pizza -- a Canadian invention!

Jessica Brooks is a digital producer, trained chef and DIY investor.