The star of any summer grilling party might be the burgers, hot dogs, or your preferred protein, but the side dishes have a starring role as well. Good side dishes will help to enhance the event you’re throwing, have people raving about your well-rounded cooking, and create a memorable time. So go ahead, set down that cheeseburger for just a moment, and check out the best side dishes for your summer barbecue!
#1. Deviled Eggs
A little food that is sin-based never hurt anyone. Deviled eggs are a great addition because they’re relatively easy to make, transport pretty easily, and they qualify as finger food. You can also make a wide variety of flavors so that any preference can be met. 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.
#2. Sweet Potato Fries
Once you’ve got the grill going, come back inside for a minute to create some sweet potato wedges. Top them off with just a little 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, try creating your own dipping sauce with a little ranch dressing, cajun seasoning, and bleu cheese crumbles to compliment the sweetness of the sweet potato.
#3. Baked Beans
Any summer barbecue is basically 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. Heat up 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. Make sure to cook them long enough to remove that canned flavor.
#4. Macaroni Line Salad
This family favorite combines the tangyness of a vinegar dressing with the sweetness of a coleslaw that has been allowed to marinate overnight. Cook your macaroni as normal and then combine some mayo, some vinegar, and any other dressing that you might prefer. Add a little sugar to the mixture if it’s got a little extra zip. Add your favorite cold vegetables as well, stir it all together, and then let it sit in the fridge overnight.
Need to go gluten free? Utilize a quality corn pasta instead of rice pasta for this dish. It’ll stand up better to the overall process.
#5. Slow Cooked Mac and Cheese
The dish that Thomas Jefferson reportedly invented is an American classic, but belongs at any summer barbecue. Utilize your slow cooker to make the cooking process simple and enhance the flavors that you prefer. Bacon, provolone, and some finely chopped collards is a popular variation in our family. The best part is that you can experiment easily with this dish and add virtually anything to it and still have a good dish.
#6. 7 Layer Salad
Having a cold dish that doubles as a dip is always a strong barbecue option for snacking while you’re cooking. With ground beef, sour cream, salsa, guac, black beans, corn, and tomatoes, you’ll have a great 7 layer dip that fuses old and new flavors together in a fresh way.
#7. Hush Puppies
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 literally just take a dollop of dough and stick it into hot oil. You can pan fry them if you don’t have a deep fryer too.
For an added bonus, infuse some maple syrup with some red chili peppers to create a sweet and spicy combination.
Three pepper hummus is super easy to make with some chickpeas, a few peppers from the grocery store, and some olive oil. Be careful not to over-process the chickpeas, however, 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.
What are your favorite barbecue side dishes? Are you disappointed that coleslaw didn’t make the list? Share your favorite dishes and recipes with us to join the discussion!