Turn Your Summer BBQ Into An Elegant Soirèe (Featuring Head Country)

(This post was done in partnership with Head Country. All thoughts, and ideas are my own. Thanks for supporting the sponsors that keep me creating.)

We are in full swing with National BBQ Month and with summer just a week away, I am really getting into my summer mode. I am vowing to slow things down and take full advantage of the long warm summer days. If you follow me on instagram you will remember some stories that I have been posting when I find things I am obsessed with. And lately I have been finding some major style inspiration for my kitchen from Kate Spade New York.  Exact Each piece is designed with the quintessential femininity and whimsical style that Kate Spade is celebrated for. The line is designed in Kate Spade’s traditional preppy and upbeat style, it is equally timeless and versatile. It's just the right amount of color and design that I have been craving. So when I invited some of my best friends over for a summer BBQ soirée, I didn't have to look far for tablescape inspiration. Obsessed with summer plaids, I found the perfect way to channel a Prospect Park BBQ picnic into an elegant indoor dinner.

I also knew I wanted to celebrate BBQ month and summer with my absolute favorite BBQ sauce, Head Country, but I wanted to think outside the grill. We have been having some pretty random spring storms here in the midwest so planning an outdoor party is pretty much the hardest thing to do. I love BBQ sauce and it's exciting to come up with some inventive ways to use meat's best friend. And Head Country makes it so easy for me with their wide array of different sauces and spices. And what can I say...I love supporting local! (did you know they are right here in Oklahoma?) The Original Head Country Bar-B-Q Sauce is my favorite sauce. The flavor profiles and smoke-ness is spot on and really enjoyable. But I also really love their Hickory Smoke and the Chipotle is just divine. I love spicy food though!

(There is an amazing Head Country giveaway too for you loves...so be sure to check the very end of the post to get details on that!!)

Staying true to that BBQ style (and my stylish casual vibe) the menu consisted of elevated versions of simple summer foods… bbq chicken pizza, a bbq macaroni salad, and bbq pulled carrots resembling a pulled pork sandwich for my vegan friends. See how thoughtful I am?! They are all super easy to make too. I hate anything too fussy in the kitchen. It's already a hard job playing hostess. So thrilled to share these recipes with you to create your own bbq soirée but first let's just have a look at how pretty my Prospect Park picnic came to life indoors in my dining room.

So now for the food my dears...

This first pizza recipe was inspired by one of my fave pizzas at a California Pizza Kitchen in Dallas where I lived. The cilantro and onion with the BBQ chicken is just the loveliest combo. Also any recipe with gouda cheese is a total winner with me. Henry, my spotted dog would agree that it's the best!



  • 1prepared pizza crust (your own or purchased tube or crust..I get my dough from the Whole Foods pizza counter)

  • 10ounces chicken breasts, cooked and shredded

  • 1tablespoon olive oil

  • 2tablespoons Head Country Bar-B-Q Sauce, The Original

  • 1⁄2cup Head Country Bar-B-Q Sauce, The Original

  • 1cup gouda cheese

  • 1cup mozzarella cheese

  • 1⁄4small red onion, sliced into rings

  • 3 tablespoons cilantro


  1. One hour before baking the pizzas, start preheating the oven at 500 degrees Coat chicken with 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce.

  2. Set aside in the refrigerator.

  3. Prepare dough into pizza shape. (mine always end up betting better rectangles and I always need a little flour to keep the dough from sticking. Also wine bottles make great rolling pins )

  4. Precook if needed.

  5. Spread remainder of barbeque sauce over the surface of the dough.

  6. Spread cheese over the sauce.

  7. Spread chicken over the cheese.

  8. Place the onion rings over the chicken pieces.

  9. Place the pizza in the oven (on top of pizza stone if available or on pan).

  10. Bake until crust is crispy and cheese is bubbling (8-10 minutes).

  11. Remove pizzas from the oven and sprinkle each with 1/2 of the cilantro

The next amazing dish is served cold and it's so packed with flavor. I personally start getting tired of all the goopy, mayonnaise-thick side salads that are standard fare at every cook-out. You know the ones I am talking about!  I wanted something a little different to bring to the table, so I love perking up a bowl of traditional macaroni salad with Head Country Bar-B-Q Sauce. Ohhhh emmmmmm geeeeee...... this is so delicious my dears! Also super simple to create!


Makes about 8 cups; serves 8 to 10 as a side dish

For the chicken:

1 quart warm water

1/4 cup kosher salt

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 to 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2 to 3 individual breasts)

1/2 cup Head Country Bar-B-Q Sauce, The Original or Organic

For the salad:

1/2 to 1/4 cup Head Country Bar-B-Q Sauce, The Original or Organic

1/4 to 1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1/2 pound elbow macaroni ..I love gluten free noodles (about 2 cups)

1/2 medium red onion, diced and soaked in cold water until needed (see Recipe Note)

1 green pepper, diced

3 to 4 stalks celery, diced

Salt and pepper

For the chicken, combine the warm water, salt, and sugar in a shallow baking dish. Stir gently until the salt and the sugar are completely dissolved. Add the chicken to the brine. It should be completely submerged; add more warm water if necessary. Cover and brine the chicken for 1/2 to 2 hours, refrigerating if brining for more than 1/2 hour.

When ready to cook the chicken, turn on the oven broiler and position an oven rack 4 to 5 inches below the broiler element. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set a wire rack on top.

Remove the chicken from the brine and discard the brining liquid. Pat the chicken dry and coat each side with a few tablespoons of barbecue sauce. Lay the chicken, spaced an inch or so apart, on the wire rack over the baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and broil for 6 minutes. Flip the breasts and broil for another 6 minutes. Check that the chicken is cooked through and registers at least 165°F on an instant-read thermometer; broil in additional 2-minute intervals if necessary until the chicken is cooked. Remove the chicken from the oven and set aside to cool.

Whisk together 1/2 cup of the barbecue sauce, 1/4 cup of the mayo, and the cider vinegar in a small bowl. When the chicken is cool, shred or cube into bite-sized pieces. You should have 2 to 3 cups of shredded chicken.

Cook the macaroni in a large amount of salted, boiling water until it is cooked a little beyond al dente. Drain and immediately toss with about 1/4 cup of the dressing.

In a large bowl, combine the cooked macaroni, shredded chicken, drained red onions, pepper, and celery. Toss with the remaining dressing until evenly coated. Taste the salad and add salt, pepper, more mayo, more barbecue sauce, or a splash of cider vinegar to suit your taste.

Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving. This salad will keep unrefrigerated for 4 hours, or up to a week refrigerated.


  • Soaking the red onion in cold water removes some if its bite and makes it more pleasant when served raw in a cold salad like this. Soaking for 15 minutes is ideal, but even a short soak will help.

  • If the salad has been refrigerated for more than a few hours, it may lose its creaminess. Toss it with a little mayo or barbecue sauce until creamy again.

I have many vegetarians/vegans in my group so I find myself thinking of amazing things for them too. You guys, you just don’t know how fabulous carrots are until you turn them into chewy, meaty, slightly spicy, pulled BBQ deliciousness. You can serve these with a wheat bun and top the carrots with purple onions and purple cabbage!



  • 5 large carrots – peeled and shredded

  • 1 large red onion – peeled and thinly sliced

  • 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil

  • Sea Salt and Black Pepper to taste

  • 1 cup  Head Country Bar-B-Q Sauce, Hickory Smoke


  1. Preheat the oven to 385° and line a baking pan with parchment paper. If you don’t have parchment paper you can line it with lightly oiled aluminum foil or lightly grease the bottom of the pan to avoid sticking.

  2. Shred the carrots with the shredder attachment of your food processor or with a box or hand held grater.

  3. Thinly slice the onion.

  4. Put the carrots and onion in the baking pan and drizzle the olive oil over them. Toss well to coat and then spread them evenly in the pan. Sprinkle ground sea salt and ground pepper evenly over the top. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and roast for twenty minutes (shake the pan every ten minutes to ensure even roasting), remove the foil and roast for ten more minutes. The carrots and onions should be nice and soft, and lightly caramelized.

  5. Add the roasted carrots and onions to the barbecue sauce and stir well to coat. Simmer for fifteen minutes.

  6. Enjoy!

You know it’s a good evening when hours have past, the sun is long gone, and your cheeks hurt from laughing so much.

And now for the amazing giveaway from Head Country!!

So how do you win, you ask??

Simply comment below in my comment section of the blog and tell me your favorite summer time recipe!

And for a BONUS entry follow Head Country   (and me)  on Instagram  and tell them I sent you! (My insta is @gofrenchyourself)   

Entries will be accepted until Monday June 5th at midnight CST and a winner will be chosen and announced over on facebook and my insta stories on June 6th!

Your amazing Head Country gift box of sauces and seasonings valued at 50.00 will be sent to you directly! This contest is open to all of The U.S BTW!

Good luck!