President Obama learning grilling tips from Chef Bobby Flay with text over it that reads, "A Guide to Presidents Day BBQing"

A Guide to Presidents Day BBQing

Be the president of your backyard palace with BBQ Outlets’ Guide to Presidents Day BBQing. From the first presidential bbq to what they are typically grilling up even to this day at a White House bbq, we have plenty of classic American recipes for you to try out. We found some of the Presidents’ favorite meals to grill up that will soon also be yours and your family’s favorites for the next cookout!

First Presidential BBQ

Even back then people knew the way to someone’s heart was through some good barbecue. Throughout the Colonial period, candidates running for political offices would employ a strategy coined, “treating”. They would use this strategy by hosting barbecue cookouts for local constituents to attend. 

Obviously, George Washington knew a good thing when he saw one and decided to carry on that very same tactic with his own runs for various political offices including his very own Presidential campaign in the 1700s. Washington was known to attend such gatherings late into the evenings.

Racks of ribs being slow cooked on grill

From the first Presidential BBQ with George Washington, the tradition of Presidential BBQs would continue with every President thereafter and since. Lyndon B. Johnson was actually the first President to host the very first Presidential BBQ on White House grounds. At the time, the over 200 attendees enjoyed a smattering of ribs cooked by then pitmaster Walter Jetton, also known as, ‘The Barbecue King’ of his time. 

LBJ was also the first to host larger White House bbq events where he would both conduct business and entertain. Every President since him now hosts similar lunch and dinner events where some good ol’ White House bbq is served using some classic American recipes.

Presidents Favorite Meals

Besides Washington and LBJ who both paved the way for some white house bbq, Thomas Jefferson was also said to be a fan of barbecue. He was said to have enjoyed a marinade very much like a peppery vinegar that is similar to many Carolina sauces today. 

Those weren’t the only presidents to know how to enjoy some White House bbq – James Madison seemed to almost be an early bbq connoisseur. A little over a decade ago, archeologists found a barbecue pit on the former President’s plantation in Virginia which still had ashes and even remnants of a pig’s jaw.

President George W. Bush smiling while holding a fork full of roasted pig with Chancellor Merkel and a White House chef.

Looking at more recent presidents to have occupied the White House, George H. Bush began an annual barbecue on the White House’s South Lawn. It would later be known as the Congressional Picnic and mirror in many ways some of the elements and principles of LBJ’s first White House BBQ event. George W. Bush would continue his father’s tradition of the Congressional PIcnic that was set. The only time it was canceled by him was in 2001 when the terrorist attacks took place and the event was then picked back up the following year.

Obama’s President’s Day Party Menu Ideas may have looked a bit different than some of the other presidents before him. Instead of serving up pulled pork, brisket or ribs, he would often opt for things like burgers, hot dogs, or grilled chicken. During a ‘Young Man’s Barbecue’ event Obama managed to score some personal grilling tips from star chef Bobby Flay. 

Presidents Day Party Menu Ideas

Whether you’re a fan or not of some of the presidents’ favorite meals for some White House bbq, we have the perfect classic American recipes for you to try out on your own Presidents Day party menu.

Cheddar Bacon Grilled Potatoes

Classic Hamburgers

Easy Greek Grilled Chicken Skewers

Smoked Chuck Roast

Smoked Rib Sandwich (McRib Copycat)

The Perfect Ribeye

Don’t freeze outside if the temperatures are expected to drop for you – try some of our outdoor heating like a fire pit table or luxury fireplace. We will also be happy to price match any product you find including our top-of-the-line bbq grills and smokers from notable brands in the business.


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