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The star of any summer grilling party might be the burgers, hot dogs, or your preferred protein, but the best BBQ sides also have a starring role. Good BBQ sides are essential to any good summer barbecue.
They can help to enhance the event you’re throwing, have people raving about your well-rounded cooking, and create a memorable time. So set down that cheeseburger momentarily, and check out the best side dishes for your summer barbecue.
Summer barbecues wouldn’t be the same without some delicious side dishes. Potato salad, coleslaw, fresh salads, grilled corn on the cob, and grilled asparagus are all fan favorites, but there are plenty of other great options.
If you’re looking for something a little different, why not try grilling fruit? Watermelon, pineapple, and grapefruit all make great additions to any barbecue spread. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, try making sangria or mojito to wash everything down.
Whatever sides you choose, remember to have fun and enjoy the good weather while it lasts. Roasted Brussels sprouts, fruit salad, macaroni salad, and quinoa salad are great choices that will satisfy your guests. No matter what you choose, make sure to have a variety of options so everyone can find something they love.
- Best BBQ Side Dishes for Your Next Summer Cookout
- BBQ Baked Beans
- Macaroni salad
- Hush Puppies
- Deviled Eggs
- Potato Salad
- Grilled corn on the cob
- Pasta salad
- Green beans
- Grilled asparagus
- Roasted Brussels sprouts
- Fruit salad
- Quinoa salad
- Caprese salad
- Sweet Potato Fries
- Slow-Cooked Mac and Cheese
- 7-Layer Salad Dip
- Tips for Making Delicious BBQ Sides
- What if I’m not sure what to make at a BBQ?
- Will my guests be able to tell if I didn’t make the dish from scratch?
- What are some great BBQ sides to offer at a summer barbecue?
- Do I need to offer a lot of different side dishes at a barbecue?
- What sides go with BBQ?
Best BBQ Side Dishes for Your Next Summer Cookout
Here are the best BBQ sides and dishes for summer:
BBQ Baked Beans
Any summer barbecue is incomplete without some version of baked beans. You could make your own, but the beauty of a tin can of beans is that they can be cooked right on the grill.
These beans are cooked in a sweet and tangy sauce made with BBQ sauce, brown sugar, and bacon. They’re the perfect classic side dish for a summer barbecue.
Heat the can, open it up, and they’re ready to serve. You’ll impress people with your ingenuity, and the beans won’t taste that bad, either. Ensure you cook them long enough to remove that overly canned baked beans taste.
Creamy macaroni salad is a dish that is typically made with macaroni noodles, mayonnaise, mustard, celery, and herbs. It is a classic picnic dish that is popular in the United States. The salad combines the tanginess of a vinegar dressing with the sweetness of coleslaw.
Macaroni salad is typically made by cooking macaroni noodles as normal and then combining them with a mayonnaise-based sauce.
Vinegar, sugar, and spices are often added to the sauce to give it flavor. The salad is then typically refrigerated for several hours or overnight to allow the flavors to meld together.
Add a little sugar to the mixture if it’s got a little extra zip. Add your favorite cold vegetables, stir them all together, and then let them sit in the fridge overnight.
Need to go gluten-free? Utilize fresh corn pasta instead of rice pasta for this dish. It’ll stand up better to the overall process.
Who doesn’t love a giant ball of cornbread that has been perfectly fried for a crunchy, sweet exterior and a creamy interior?
Hush puppies the size of your fist will have people talking and are incredibly easy to make. You just stick a dollop of dough into the hot oil. You can pan-fry them if you don’t have a deep fryer too.
For an added bonus, infuse maple syrup with red chili peppers to create a sweet and spicy combination.
Deviled eggs are a great addition to any BBQ spread – they’re relatively easy to make, transport pretty easily, and qualify as finger food. You can also make a wide variety of flavors to meet any preference.
Try a little chili powder, garlic, and oregano in your next batch before topping off the eggs with a dash of paprika for a change of pace.
Are you traveling to a potluck or picnic? Make deviled eggs ahead of time and pack them in a Tupperware container – they’ll be just as delicious (if not more so) when you pull them out hours later.
So don’t be afraid to mix things up with your deviled egg recipe – after all, a little food that is sin-based never hurts anyone.
Coleslaw, a perennial favorite in the summer, is a refreshing side dish that complements barbecued meats. Coleslaw is a light and tasty side dish at a summer barbecue. It’s also simple to prepare and may be customized to suit any personal taste preference.
You can make a simple coleslaw with shredded cabbage, mayonnaise, and vinegar. Or, add in your favorite ingredients, like carrots, apples, or cranberries.
If you’re looking for something more flavorful, try making coleslaw with Asian flavors. Soy sauce, rice vinegar, and ginger give the slaw an extra zing that will pair perfectly with grilled chicken or pork.
No matter what type of coleslaw you make, it’s sure to be a hit at your next barbecue.
Potato salad is a must-have dish for any summer barbecue. It’s filling, easy to make, and can be customized to fit any taste preference.
The first step to making a great potato salad is to choose the right potatoes. Yukon gold or red potatoes are a good option because they hold their shape when cooked.
Once you’ve got your potatoes, boil them until they’re tender but not mushy. You don’t want them to fall apart when you mix everything.
While the potatoes are boiling, start working on the dressing. A basic potato salad dressing is made with mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, and herbs. But feel free to get creative and add in your favorite ingredients.
Once the potatoes are cooked, let them cool before adding them to the dressing. You don’t want the salad to be watery. Mix everything and add salt and pepper to taste. Then, refrigerate the salad for at least an hour to meld together the flavors.
Potato salad is a great dish to bring to a BBQ because it can be made beforehand and requires no special equipment. Plus, it’s always a hit with guests.
Grilled corn on the cob
Grilled corn on the cob is a summertime favorite. It’s easy to make, nutritious and pairs well with grilled meats. To grill corn on the cob, start by soaking the ears of corn in water for 30 minutes. This will help to prevent them from drying out on the grill.
After they’ve soaked, remove the corn from the water and place them on a hot grill. Grill for about 10 minutes, turning occasionally, or until the kernels are tender and slightly charred.
Once they’re done, remove the corn from the grill and brush with butter. You can also add salt, pepper, or your favorite seasoning. Then, enjoy your grilled corn on the cob with friends and family. It’s the perfect side dish for a summer BBQ.
Pasta salad is another popular BBQ side dish for summer outings. It’s easy to make, and there are endless possibilities for flavors.
You can make a classic pasta salad with noodles, tomatoes, cucumbers, and cheese. Or, try something more exotic with ingredients like curry powder, mango, and cashews.
The best thing about pasta salad is that it can be tailored to fit any taste preference. And it’s perfect for feeding a large group of people.
If you’re looking for a dish that will WOW your guests, try making pasta salad with lobster and shrimp. It’s sure to impress even the most discriminating palates.
No matter what pasta salad you choose, it will surely be a hit at your next barbecue.
Green beans are another great side dish for a summer BBQ. They’re healthy, tasty, and easy to prepare. To prepare green beans, trim the ends and wash them in cold water. Then, place them in a pot of boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes or until tender but still crisp.
Drain the green beans and place them in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. This will help to maintain their color and crunch.
Once they’ve cooled, drain them again and place them in a serving bowl. Add salt, pepper, garlic butter, lime juice, or your favorite seasonings. Green beans are one of the best BBQ sides because they’re easy to make, and everyone will love them.
Grilled asparagus is a healthy and flavorful dish that is perfect for a summer BBQ side dish. Asparagus is a nutrient-rich vegetable that is high in fiber and antioxidants. It’s also low in calories and fat.
To grill asparagus, start by trimming the ends of the spears. Then, place them on a hot grill and cook for about 5 minutes or until they’re tender.
Once cooked, remove the asparagus from the grill and drizzle it with olive oil. You can also add salt and pepper to taste. Then, enjoy your grilled asparagus as a side dish or appetizer. It’s a healthy and delicious option your guests will love.
Roasted Brussels sprouts
Roasted Brussels sprouts are a flavorful and nutritious side dish for a summer BBQ. Brussels sprouts are a good source of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin C, potassium, and folate. They’re also low in calories and fat.
To roast Brussels sprouts, start by trimming the ends of the spears. Then, place them on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Roast in a preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until tender.
Once roasted, remove the Brussels sprouts from the oven and sprinkle with sea salt. Then, enjoy it as a side dish or appetizer.
Fruit salad is a refreshing and healthy side dish that is perfect for a summer BBQ. It’s made with fresh fruits, like strawberries, blueberries, and watermelon, and is a good source of vitamins and minerals. Fruit salad is also low in calories and fat.
To make fruit salad, start by washing and chopping up the fresh fruit that you want into your salad dish. Then, place them in a large bowl and mix them. Whisk together orange juice, lemon juice, and honey for the dressing. Pour over the fruit salad and mix.
Then, refrigerate the salad for at least an hour to meld together the flavors. Serve cold and enjoy as a side or dessert.
This healthy, filling salad is a great option for vegetarians or those looking for a lighter side. Quinoa salad is a healthy and delicious side dish that is perfect for a summer BBQ. Quinoa is a nutrient-rich grain high in fiber, protein, and antioxidants. It’s also low in calories and fat.
To make a quinoa salad, start by cooking the quinoa according to the package instructions. Then, let it cool completely.
Mix cooked quinoa, diced cucumber, cherry tomatoes, chopped parsley, and olive oil in a large bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Then, refrigerate the salad for at least an hour to meld together the flavors. Serve cold and enjoy as a side dish or appetizer.
When it comes to summer BBQs, there’s nothing that beats a classic Caprese salad. This dish is light, refreshing, flavorful, and made with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil. It’s also effortless to make, perfect for when you’re busy preparing everything else for the barbecue.
Caprese salad is the perfect side dish for any gathering – it goes well with grilled meats, chicken, or fish and can easily be adapted to accommodate any dietary restrictions. It’s also a great option for vegetarians or those looking for a light side dish.
Sweet Potato Fries
Once the grill goes, come back inside for a minute to create some sweet potato fries or wedges. Top them off with just a bit of salt, bake them until they are soft, and you’ll have a surprise winner at your next summer barbecue.
For an added flavor boost to your sweet potato fries, try creating your dipping sauce with a little ranch dressing, cajun seasoning, and bleu cheese crumbles to compliment the sweetness of the sweet potato.
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Three-pepper hummus is easy to make with chickpeas, a few peppers from the grocery store, and some olive oil. However, be careful not to over-process the chickpeas because they can get runny.
It’s a good dish to have if you’ve got some family or friends coming over that want to avoid extra dairy during the day but still have something a little outside of the box but still flavorful.
Slow-Cooked Mac and Cheese
Slow-cooked macaroni and cheese is the perfect dish for any summer barbecue. Thomas Jefferson reportedly invented this dish, and it has been a classic American dish ever since.
The best part about this dish is that it is versatile and easily customized to your taste. You can add bacon, provolone, or even finely chopped collards to this dish and still have a delicious meal.
The best part about slow-cooked mac and cheese is that it is straightforward to make. All you need to do is put the ingredients into a slow cooker and let it cook for a few hours. This will allow the flavors to meld together and create a delicious dish everyone will love.
7-Layer Salad Dip
7-layer dips are always a great option for barbecues. Not only are they filling, but they’re also a great way to get your vegetables in. With ground beef, sour cream, salsa, guacamole, black beans, corn, and tomatoes, you’ll have a 7-layer dip that is both old and new.
This dip is also a great way to get your protein in, as well as your vitamins and minerals. Guacamole is a good source of vitamin C, salsa is a good source of lycopene, and black beans are a good source of fiber.
So not only will this 7-layer dip be delicious, but it will also be good for you. So go ahead and add this 7-layer dip to your next barbecue menu. Your guests will thank you.
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Tips for Making Delicious BBQ Sides
Here are a few other tips for making great side dishes:
- Use fresh ingredients whenever possible. This will make a big difference in the flavor of your dish.
- Season your dishes well. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different herbs and spices to find the perfect flavor combination.
- Be careful not to overcook your vegetables. Grilling is a great way to cook them so they retain their nutrients and have a nice, crispy texture.
By following these tips, you’re sure to impress your guests with delicious side dishes that will complete any summer barbecue!
What if I’m not sure what to make at a BBQ?
Ask your friends or family for ideas if you’re unsure what to make. You can also look online for recipes or inspiration. Just make sure whatever you choose is easy to prepare and won’t take too long to cook.
Will my guests be able to tell if I didn’t make the dish from scratch?
No, your guests won’t be able to tell if you didn’t make the dish from scratch. If you’re short on time, there’s nothing wrong with using some shortcuts like pre-made salad dressings or store-bought coleslaw mix. No one will know the difference!
Whatever side dishes you serve at your summer BBQ, make sure there is a range of alternatives so everyone may find something they like.
What are some great BBQ sides to offer at a summer barbecue?
Potato salad, coleslaw, grilled corn on the cob, and asparagus are all fan favorites, but there are plenty of other great options. Roasted Brussels sprouts, fruit salad, macaroni salad, and quinoa salad are all great choices that satisfy your guests. No matter what you choose, make sure to have a variety of options so everyone can find something they love.
Do I need to offer a lot of different side dishes at a barbecue?
No, you don’t need to have a lot of different options. Just make sure you have a few different types of dishes so everyone can find something they like.
What sides go with BBQ?
Almost anything goes when it comes to pairing sides with BBQ, but some favorite BBQ sides include potato salad, grilled corn on the cob, grilled vegetables, corn salad, and fresh fruit salad.
- About the Author
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Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a full-time traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers experience a fully immersive cultural experience as he did initially living in Italy. He’s a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wanderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). After visiting 12 countries and 13 national parks in a year, he was devoted to creating and telling stories like he’d heard.
Plus, after spending more time on airplanes and packing, he’s learned some incredible travel hacks over time as he earned over 1 million Chase Ultimate Rewards points in under a year, helping him maximize experiences as much as possible to discover the true meaning of travel.
He loves listening to local stories from around the world and sharing his experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time.