How to Canna-BBQ

Cannabis Chefs on Bringing High Cuisine Outdoors

Outdoor get-togethers in the summer are always occasions for joy and communion, but it can be stressful to entertain while ensuring that your party’s vibes remain immaculate. For me, the secret to hosting a great cannabis event has always been simple: Keep your friends close, and your weed closer.

“Incorporating cannabis into your summer barbecue is the perfect way to bring like-minded friends and family together,” says Donna*, executive chef and co-founder of upper Manhattan’s coolest weed-friendly eatery, Tree House Café. Since opening in 2022, Donna and her best friend (and head chef) Rhiana are passionate about educating consumers about infused dining. “Cannabis is such a multifaceted plant,” she says. “Bringing it into an event leaves us with a wide range of creativity, not only in the kitchen but also in setting the space.”

Any outdoor space can become its own elevated oasis with the right people and some careful planning. Here, Donna and Rhiana share their expertise on how to offer high-quality hospitality at your own canna-bbq.

When it comes to setting your space, Rhiana has one suggestion: “Make it cozy.” While barbecues are inherently relaxed, high guests will appreciate extra soft places to sprawl out and light up. Try laying down picnic blankets with cushions, or amp things up with a smoke-out tent for a good old-fashioned hotbox. Rhiana also recommends using gentle lighting, like fairy lights or torches, to set a mellow mood. *Last names have been omitted per interviewees’ requests


Just because you’re throwing a weed barbecue doesn’t mean you have to put weed in every dish! Donna recommends a menu that is mostly non-infused, but also offers a few infused side dishes. “I like my menus to tell a story, from drinks to dessert,” she says. Think of side dishes and condiments that can be infused easily, like potato salad, barbecue sauce, or simple syrup for drinks. “Having options is the best way to avoid making people feel excluded because they don’t wanna indulge as much as the next person,” she says.


If you are infusing food, Rhiana suggests labeling each dish clearly with the dosage of THC and/or CBD per serving. “I’ll even go as far as color coding,” Rhiana says. They also recommend “making sure things that are infused are in one section, and not-infused are somewhere else—you want a complete separation.”


Even if your invite list is full of seasoned stoners, Donna highly recommends educating your guests about the effects of whatever cannabis you supply, whether it’s infused in food or set out for guests to smoke. If you’re not able to speak to each guest one-on-one, designate a trusted and knowledgeable person to answer any questions, especially about any THC-infused food. “Make sure everyone fully understands what they’re getting themselves into before they start to indulge,” Donna adds.


“A really big misconception is that if someone smokes a lot, it directly correlates to them being able to consume a lot of edibles,” Rhiana says. When it comes to THC-infused food and drinks, encourage everyone to take it slow and start with a dose as low as 2 to 5 milligrams; they can always go back for another serving. If a guest grows fidgety or paranoid, there’s a chance that they’ve over-consumed or are having a bad reaction. Find a quiet spot to have a quick check-in, and always keep lots of water and CBD on hand to help guide them back to earth. “That brief interaction can really be the difference between a good party and a horrible time.”


“Everybody likes to be high but think about what you can do while being high,” Donna says. Create an arts & crafts table where guests can use coloring books, make collages, or decorate their own personalized lighters. Put ice-breaking card games like Puff Puff Pass and Cards Against Humanity on each table and encourage guests to get to know one another. “Play high Jenga, high Twister, interactive games that make it fun,” she adds. “That’s what barbecues in the summertime mean for me.”

Afternoon Delight


Puff Puff Pass
“This is the game that I bring everywhere with me,” Donna says. Designed to be enjoyable no matter how blazed you get, this hilarious card game is a perfect conversation starter for any party. The gameplay is simple: Pick a card and do what it says—especially if it says “puff.” ($15;

The Stoner Babes Coloring Book
Filled with 60 illustrations of women and gender-expansive folks enjoying the good herb, this whimsical adult coloring book is the perfect companion for any guests in need of a meditative moment. ($14.95;

Burner Babe Designer Rolling Papers
“I always think it’s good to have, like, a couple of papers lying around if people want to roll their own,” Rhiana suggests. They recommend Burner Babe, a small NYC-based brand that prints playful designs like stars and flowers on each rolling paper. (from $5.50;