Barbecue is one of the summer's ultimate comfort foods, but it can't stand alone. Don't let your perfectly prepared cuts of meat languish lonely on the plate. Instead, pile a few sides up next to them that are sure to exhibit the flavors of your lovingly smoked meat at their finest. Whether you are smoking your own meats or bringing them back to your summer cookout from your favorite barbecue joint, you always need BBQ side dishes to accompany the food.
Choose from salty, sweet, or tangy, the options are all there. Side dishes are meant to enhance your barbecue experience, but they also can't take you away from the grill for too long. So to help you out, here are eight that can be thrown together in a jiffy and are impeccably delicious when paired with smoked meat.
1. Fried Pickles
This true Southern delicacy just belongs at a summertime barbecue. The tangy pickles pair perfectly with the sweet sauces that you slather all over your flawlessly smoked meats.
When it comes to barbecue recipes, this one is always a crowd-pleaser. Get the recipe here.
2. Pasta Salad with Tomatoes + Zucchini + Feta
What could be better than a cold, veggie-laden salad to accompany the fatty, indulgent barbecue that you're about to pile high on your plate?
The perfect pairing to grilling recipes, this cool pasta salad can be made to suit your taste. Would you prefer grilled zucchini for a smoky flavor? Pop it in! Do you like fresh corn and red onion in your pasta salad? Add it! How about fresh parsley? You do you. Get the recipe here.
3. Asian Cabbage Mango Slaw
Fresh and unexpected, this crisp slaw is light enough to be eaten in massive quantities at any barbecue as an ideal summer side. You'll be surprised how well it pairs with traditional barbecue fare.
Though not technically one of the summer salads by name, this fresh slaw might even outshine one of the grilled mains you're throwing down. Get the recipe here.
4. Rosemary + Garlic Roasted Potatoes
Barbecue always requires potatoes, so make sure you have a good recipe. This one does the job way beyond Memorial Day and Thanksgiving, and is the perfect universally blank slate for any flavors you want to add.
Do you prefer a Southwestern spin? Pair with spicy sauces or sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Get a great recipe here.
5. Parmesan Corn on the Cob
You already have the grill going, so why not throw on a couple sweet corn cobs and then dust them in parmesan? It's a simple update on a classic.
Grilled corn is a necessity at any summer barbecue, and is a quick addition to a last-minute party. Get the recipe here.
6. Hush Puppies
Simple, easy, and delicious. All the requirements for a perfect barbecue side.
Sprinkle cayenne pepper into the batter for a subtle heat that pairs well with almost all of the barbecue dish recipes on your table. Get the recipe here.
7. Sunshine Chard + Carrot Salad
A seasonal salad is a must at any outdoor affair. After all, you should be celebrating the season every way you can for as long as you can. The dressing here is simple and refreshing with apple cider vinegar and a smidge of Greek yogurt. While you could add dijon mustard for a tangy twist, it's not required.
Take advantage of the fresh green bean season by tossing in a few. This salad recipe pairs exceptionally well with any smoked or grilled chicken items. Get the recipe here.
8. Whole30 German Potato Salad
No barbecue is complete without a potato salad. However, you really should branch out from the standard creamy fare and introduce a tart, full flavor German potato salad into the rotation.
To go all out, pair with cornbread and enjoy the finger-licking deliciousness from this recipe. Get the recipe here.