Sink Your Teeth Into the Best Summer Barbecue Playlist

music to bbq to
Tom Kelley Archive/Getty Images

The sun is high in the blue summer sky, the charcoal briquettes are glowing at just the right temperature, and your crew is gathered around you in eager anticipation to behold the majesty of your magical skills behind the grill. The only thing absent? The perfect tunes to marinate the whole scene. Through a series of complex, charbroiled experiments, we have calibrated the optimal BPM (beats per minute), vibe, and attitude needed to take your summer barbecue from genetically modified slumping to organic, farm-to-table bumping. Yes, these prime tracks celebrating the golden era of hip-hop and new jack swing all come cruising in at that 90-100 BPM wheelhouse that keeps you nodding your head when flipping your preferred meats of choice at the next backyard BBQ.

“Talk About A Girl” by Charizma & Peanut Butter Wolf

Following Cupid’s remarkable ode to falling in love at a barbecue and a couple tunes that maintain the groove of the opener (with limited BBQ referencing), Charizma & Peanut Butter Wolf continue the laidback swagger with “Talk About A Girl.” Hailing from Milpitas, California (just outside San Jose), Charizma & Peanut Butter Wolf were a crazy promising MC/DJ duo that never got to realize its potential due to the senseless killing of Charizma in December 1993. Inspired by his fallen friend (and their questionable record deal with Disney-owned Hollywood Records), Peanut Butter Wolf went on to form Stones Throw Records, which has become one of the best independent labels with such artists as Madlib, J Dilla, Washed Out, and Dam-Funk, to name a few. On “Talk About A Girl,” Charizma dips and dives around spending time with the talked-about girl in question while Peanut Butter Wolf provides the prized, piano-driven ’90s beat to get those steaks/sausages/burgers sizzling.

“BBQ” by Ollie Dodge/No Alia$

Bringing the goods on one of six songs on the mixtape entitled “BBQ,” Ollie Dodge, aka No Alia$, is a new producer from Haverhill, Massachusetts. I often try to give a tip of the cap to those on the mix with less fame and fortune (who are hopefully headed that way), and Ollie Dodge is def worth investigating. Creating solid grooves with innovative samples and fresh beats, Ollie Dodge delivers the high-fidelity merchandise in less time than Amazon Prime, and on “BBQ,” he serves up a perfectly cooked track complete with tropical breezy guitar, deep fat basslines, and homemade saucy beats to stylishly complement your grillin’ techniques as you deftly sear the outside while retaining the vital juices inside.

grilling tips

“Beats, Beer & BBQ” by Brous One with Prince Po and Matiah Chinaski

Santiago, Chile-born producer/rapper Brous One (now splitting time between Chile and Germany), has a feel-good, downtempo, hip-hop magic touch. Since dropping his debut LP, Un Momento en el Tiempo, in 2012, Brous One has been on a prolific tear in creating miles of killer instrumentals (and a parking lot full of collaborations with both Chilean and German rappers). With a sparse beat, truncated upright bass, and a little lazy trumpet, “Beats, Beer & BBQ” finds Brous One chillaxing in the studio with Prince Po and Matiah Chinaski. Together they provide you with just the right amount of kick while you’re kickin’ it at the park or in your backyard.

“Sunshine” by The Avalanches

Oh, what a wondrous mystery be The Avalanches. Sneaking up on you out of Melbourne, Australia, The Avalanches are a truly innovative crew of musicians, producers, and DJs fabricating next-level, forward-thinking, way-outside-the-box tunes that feel both retro and boundary-pushing at the same time. You might best remember them for their two hits, “Since I Left You” and “Frontier Psychiatry” off the debut album Since I Left You, released in 2000. The next proper album, Wildflower, wasn’t released until 16 years later; Robbie Chater and Tony Di Blasi are the two remaining forces in the collective. The track “Sunshine” off of Wildflower is the most left-of-center tune on the mix and its inclusion is inspired by the modulating, paradisaical ambiance it provides as a nice little moment to take some deep breaths and stretch our your limbs before returning to the oversized fork, spatula, and tongs that you wield so masterfully over the hot coals.

“Backyard BBQ” by Blue Wednesday

Hard to find much info on the beatmaker, Joseph Gustav, behind Blue Wednesday, but I dig the dude’s work. Splitting time between Vancouver, Canada, and Berlin (which sounds pretty sweet), Blue Wednesday creates feel-good, hip-hop-based instrumentals that could soundtrack all manner of hanging out. On the track “Backyard BBQ,” Blue Wednesday steps out of the sliding glass door in its terrycloth robe with some Ron Burgundy-esque flute loops that invite the listener to come on in, throw your beers in the cooler, and grab a paper plate, because this tri-tip steak is ready to go.

May the joy you derive from basking in this homemade barbecue sauce-soaked mix spread to your grill and all who partake in its glorious bounty!

Food & Drink

Left Coast Brewing Company is the King of Beach Beer

Left Coast Brewing has three excellent beer choices available right now to beat the summertime heat.
Food & Drink

Japanese Whisky Royalty, Nikka From the Barrel, Is Finally Coming to the U.S.

Nikka is to Japanese whisky what Derek Jeter is to baseball and Scandinavia is to architecture.
Food & Drink

Grilling Safety Tips So the Only Things Roasted Are Your Burgers

No one wants to spend the afternoon waiting in the emergency room instead of enjoying your barbecue.

Stay Hydrated with the 5 Best Face Moisturizer for Men

To put your best face forward, you need a good moisturizer.
Food & Drink

The Ultimate Guide to Day Drinking

Day drinking is the true sport of kings. Learn how to take the crown and keep it. All day long.

This Small Electric Toothbrush Cleans Just as Good as Its Competitors

The best part? A subscription option means you'll never have to remember to purchase a replacement again.
Food & Drink

5 Boozy Books to Read this Summer

Your next beach read doesn’t have to be some cheap murder mystery.

Cut the Cord with the Best Wireless Headphones for Running

It's easier to get in the zone with your favorite tunes when you don't have to worry about pesky wires.
Food & Drink

Shaken, Not Stirred: The Manual’s Guide to Cocktail Shakers

Spirit-forward drinks like a Manhattan or an Old Fashioned necessitate stirring, but by and large, if you're making a multi-ingredient cocktail, you're going to need to shake it up.
Food & Drink

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash the Simplest Way

To get the most out of this unique vegetable, preparation is key.
Food & Drink

How to Cook Ribs in the Oven (Yes, They’ll Come Out Great)

Purists may cringe and haters may hate, but the answer to the age-old question, "Can you cook ribs in the oven?" Yes, you can. Now, the follow-up: Do ribs taste good when cooked in the oven? Yes, yes they do.
Fashion & Style

This Line of $400 James Bond-Inspired Swim Trunks is Money(penny)

For the right price, you can earn a license to swim.
Food & Drink

The Right Way to Make a Spice Blend with Lior Lev Sercarz

Yes, a properly cooked piece of chicken or steak is delicious on its own, but the flavors introduced by a spice blend can elevate a meal to new heights.

Maserati Debuts the Levante GTS, the Super SUV It Should’ve Built From the Beginning

Maserati believes it's finally found the formula for its SUV to succeed.

The All-New Ariel Atom 4 is a Civic Type R-Powered Rocket

The power-to-weight ratio of the 320-hp Atom 4 is just over four pounds per horsepower — about the same as the 710-hp McLaren 720S.
Food & Drink

What is Kombucha: Fermented Tea 101 with Matt Thomas, Founder of Brew Dr. Kombucha

“Kombucha is another word for fermented tea,” says Thomas. “The word came from a doctor practicing in Japan in the 80s, Dr. Kombu. ‘Cha’ means tea.”
Food & Drink

8 Ways to Keep Your Drinks Cold on a Hot Day

The summer sun has finally met its match in the form of these eight drink chillers.
Food & Drink

A Bitter Experiment: Why You Should Try Adding Bitters to an IPA

IPAs already have a strong reputation for being bitter, so why kick it up a notch and add cocktail bitters?
Food & Drink

These Chili Cheese Nachos are Part Texan, Part Korean, and All Delicious

There’s just something about the mix of meat with spices and dark, savory sauce piled high on a slightly salty nacho chip that gets us.

Las Vegas’ Best New Bar is 55 Stories Above the Strip

A drink here should be a requirement for all Vegas trips moving forward.