As American as… BBQ and Ice Cream?

As we reach the height of summertime, there’s one sweet treat on everybody’s minds – ice cream. From vanilla bean to butterscotch, strawberry and mint, there is a sweet ice cream flavor for everyone to enjoy. With all these options, ice cream is a perfect complement to the sweltering summer temperatures and smokey flavors of a backyard cookout.

We can’t think of anything better than ice cold ice cream to complement our savory, smokey Q39 BBQ. In honor of National Ice Cream Month in July, we want to share our favorite things about the sweet treat!

BBQ and Ice Cream: An Unexpected but Delicious Pairing

BBQ and ice cream may seem like an unlikely combination, but it is a staple in backyard cookouts across the country. The sweet, creamy ice cream helps to cut through the richness of the smoky, savory BBQ, creating a surprisingly refreshing and delicious pairing.

Here’s a few reasons why it works so well:

Contrast in Flavors: BBQ is often associated with smoky, savory, and sometimes spicy flavors, while ice cream provides a sweet and creamy taste. The contrast between the two flavor profiles will make your taste buds come alive.

Temperature Contrast: BBQ is typically made in a smoker for hours at a time. The meat is served smoking hot for the best texture and flavor, while ice cream is kept frozen cold. The temperature contrast between the hot BBQ and the cold ice cream can create a pleasant sensory experience. The coldness of the ice cream can help balance out the heat from the BBQ, providing a refreshing and cooling effect at the end of your meal.

Textural Contrast: Q39 BBQ is known for its smoked-to-tender-perfection textures with pull-apart meat surrounded by a beautifully seasoned crust or rich glaze. Combining BBQ with the smooth, creamy ice cream textures can add complexity and interest to each bite or round off your BBQ meal perfectly.

Flavor Enhancements: Ice cream doesn’t always have to be at the end of the meal – adding a scoop of ice cream to BBQ as a condiment or topping adds a creamy and sweet element that can enhance the flavors of the BBQ. Don’t knock it until you try it!

Here’s are a few flavor combinations that we love this summer:

  • Vanilla ice cream with smoked brisket: The rich, smoky flavor of the brisket is perfectly complemented by the sweetness of the vanilla ice cream.
  • Chocolate ice cream with pulled pork: The chocolate ice cream helps to cut through the richness and subtle chili spice of the pulled pork, while the pork adds a subtle sweetness to the ice cream.
  • Strawberry ice cream with grilled chicken: The tartness of the strawberry ice cream helps to balance out the richness of the grilled chicken, while the chicken adds a savory element to the ice cream.

National Ice Cream Month – July 2023

National Ice Cream Month is an official designation in the United States, and its history can be traced back to a proclamation made by President Ronald Reagan. On July 9, 1984, President Reagan issued Proclamation 5219, declaring July 1984 as National Ice Cream Month. He also designated the third Sunday of July as National Ice Cream Day.

The proclamation aimed to recognize the importance of the fun and nutritious food that Americans love to indulge in. President Reagan’s intention was to honor the ice cream industry and the dairy farmers who contribute to its production. His proclamation acknowledged the economic and social impact of the ice cream industry, highlighting its contribution to job creation, agriculture, and the overall American economy.

Since the proclamation, National Ice Cream Month has been observed every year in the United States. The entire month of July is dedicated to celebrating ice cream, with specific focus on National Ice Cream Day on the third Sunday of the month. National Ice Cream Day has become an occasion for ice cream parlors and shops to offer promotions, discounts, and special events to attract customers and celebrate the love for ice cream.

Best Ice Creams and Desserts to Pair with BBQ at a Family Cookout

July is filled with opportunities to pair BBQ cookouts with your favorite ice cream flavors. For those hot summer weekends with family and friends, here are a few of our favorite recipes to try out this National Ice Cream Month.

Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches: Who doesn’t love a classic chocolate and vanilla combination? These homemade brownies and vanilla ice cream are sure to be the exclamation point of your backyard BBQ party. The rich chocolate will complement BBQ dishes like brisket and pulled pork with their hints of chili spices. Our Pork and Brisket rubs feature unique flavors of both light and dark chilis that will work perfectly with chocolatey-vanilla richness.

Blueberry Pie: One of the most classic American desserts, the Blueberry Pie is a quintessential addition to the dessert table for any summertime cookout. Served with a generous scoop of vanilla or blueberry ice cream, this dessert will light up your sweet tooth. This American classic matches perfectly with our Kansas City award-winning ribs. Made low and slow with a healthy glaze of our famous Q39 BBQ sauce on top of our brown sugar-based pork rub, these ribs are just begging to be followed up with a slice of pie and scoop of ice cream.

Grilled Peaches and Pork: A family backyard favorite, adding flame-grilled peaches to your pulled pork creates a mouthwatering combination of deeply rich peach flavor and savory pork. Of course, we recommend trading the spices for our brown sugar-based pork rub. For the ice cream, we have a few recommendations.

  • Salted caramel ice cream: The salty caramel adds a touch of sweetness and richness to the ice cream, while the pork adds a savory element.
  • Bourbon ice cream: The sweetness of the ice cream helps to balance out the bitterness of the bourbon, while the pork adds a smoky flavor.
  • Peach cobbler ice cream: This ice cream is made with chunks of peach cobbler, which adds a touch of sweetness and crunch to the dish.

BBQ Flavored Ice Cream Recipe

It may not sound like it when you first read it but trust us – BBQ flavored ice cream just might be the flavor of the summer this year. Don’t believe us? Try it out for yourself!


  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup Q39 Classic BBQ Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • In a medium saucepan, combine the heavy cream, milk, sugar, Q39 BBQ sauce, vanilla extract, and salt
  • Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly
  • Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Remove the pan from the heat and let cool completely
  • Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Once the ice cream is frozen, scoop it into bowls and enjoy!


  • For a richer flavor, use half-and-half instead of milk
  • If you want a chunkier ice cream, add some chopped bacon or brisket to the mixture before freezing
  • If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can freeze the mixture in a shallow pan and then beat it every 30 minutes or so until it is frozen solid

Support Local Kansas City Ice Cream Businesses

Q39 is a proud Kansas City local business. We built our business in this city, and we love to support our neighbors. If you’re looking for where to find the best ice cream in Kansas City to go along with your summer cookout this National Ice Cream Month, support local! Some of our favorite Kansas City ice creameries are Betty Rae’s, Fareway Creamery, Summer Salt, The Golden Scoop, Sweet Caroline’s Candy Shop, Sheridans and High Hopes KC. From walk-ins to catering and full-service ice cream trucks, these local businesses have every ice cream flavor you can think of for your BBQ party.

Get to the Grill Today

This July, celebrate National Ice Cream Month right, by combining two of the greatest foods ever made: BBQ and ice cream. If you are planning a summer cookout, Q39 is here to help. From our tips to grill the perfect BBQ this summer to our mouthwatering rubs and sauces, let Q39 help make your summer cookout one to remember.

Share This Article


Join us for an exclusive, immersive class on grilling and smoking to perfection.