For some people, it is not the meat that is the star of the neighborhood BBQ, but it is the array of side dishes. With BBQ season quickly approaching, it is time to start gathering up some delicious side dish recipes to add to your repertoire. Here are 12 of the best side dishes that are sure to be a hit at your next BBQ.
Fresh Corn Salad: There is nothing quite like fresh summer corn. You can harness one of the best tastes of summer with this fresh corn salad. The salad will taste the best if you shuck the corn directly from the cob. The corn combines with tomatoes, cucumber, and red onion for an explosion of flavors. The vegetables are tossed with a light dressing, featuring apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and fresh herbs. This healthy side dish is a great complement to some of the heavier meat entrees at your BBQ buffet table. Those watching their waistline will appreciate this low-calorie and low-fat salad.
Pimiento Pasta Salad: A big bowl of pasta salad is a centerpiece of most BBQ dinners. This pimiento pasta salad adds a unique twist to the classic dish with the inclusion of pimiento peppers. With only seven ingredients, this salad could not be any easier to pull together. Be sure to serve the salad chilled for the best results.
Smoked Mac and Cheese: Your smoker is not just for meats. If you are going to be firing up the smoker for the BBQ, you might as well throw some creamy mac and cheese on it. Traditional mac and cheese will take on a smoky flavor if you cook it in your smoker for at least one hour. The biggest thing to remember is to keep your smoker at a low temperature so that you do not overcook the noodles. While this recipe is basic, you can also add bacon, jalapeno, green chiles, bread crumbs, or anything else that you desire to the mac and cheese for an added infusion of flavor and texture.
Fully Loaded Cauliflower Salad: Looking to cut your carbs but still want to enjoy a potato salad at your BBQ? Try this mouth-watering fully loaded cauliflower salad instead. The recipe combines cauliflower, bacon, green onions, chives, and sharp white cheddar. The dressing consists of sour cream, mayonnaise, hot pepper sauce, and paprika. Be sure to start this salad ahead of time so that you have time to refrigerate it prior to ensure that all of the flavors blend together.
Brown Sugar and Bacon Baked Beans: Everyone at your BBQ will flock to a big pot of baked beans, the perfect companion for burgers and hot dogs. This brown sugar and bacon baked beans recipe is sweet and savory with every bite. While the recipe calls for canned pork and beans as the base, you can use any combination of your favorite canned beans. Black beans, kidney beans, and cannellini beans will help you to mix it up. You can also prepare this recipe in the slow cooker for an easier way to keep them warm throughout the duration of your BBQ.
Green Goddess Potato Salad: Add a burst of color to your buffet table with this green goddess potato salad. Small red potatoes are the base of this delicious side dish. Celery and snap peas add an extra layer of crunch while the avocado brings some creaminess. The dressing consists of tarragon, lemon juice, mayonnaise, parsley, buttermilk, and chives. Because of the mayo, you will want to make sure that this salad stays cold throughout the gathering.
Homemade Coleslaw: Every BBQ deserves a big bowl of tangy homemade coleslaw. You can even buy cabbage already chopped, making the prep work a breeze for this recipe. The simple dressing uses mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, celery seeds, dijon mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. If you want a bit of sweetness, add a teaspoon or so of sugar to the dressing. The dressing also makes a delicious accompaniment for roasted vegetables or chicken, so be sure to make some extra to store in your refrigerator.
Bacon Shrimp Skewers: You can never have too much meat at a BBQ. These bacon shrimp skewers make a great appetizer or side dish to complement your main entree. You can prepare these ahead of the event to have something ready for guests to snack on when they arrive. The only four ingredients are shrimp, pineapple, bacon, and BBQ sauce. You can serve these beauties steaming hot or at room temperature, making them a versatile appetizer to get your guests excited for what is to come.
Marinated Grilled Vegetables: It is rare that the vegetables are the biggest hit of the BBQ, but this recipe may change that truth. These marinated grilled vegetables paired beautifully with chicken, shrimp, and steak. The key to this recipe is to toss the vegetables in the marinade after grilling them. This is because they will better absorb the deliciousness if they are warm. You can choose a rainbow of vegetables to grill, including mushrooms, zucchini, asparagus, and peppers. The smoky char from the grill and the zesty herb marinade will take your vegetables to new heights of tastiness.
Classic Macaroni Salad: Round out your side dishes with a serving of classic macaroni salad. Everyone will appreciate a scoop of this creamy salad. This recipe also includes hard-boiled eggs, crunchy celery, red bell pepper, red onion, sweet pickles, and a traditional dressing to bring it all together. Be sure to make extra because this side dish will go fast.
Cast Iron Skillet Cornbread: Go overboard with the carbs with this mouthwatering cast iron skillet cornbread recipe. You will never make cornbread out of a box again when you try this from-scratch version. Add some chopped jalapeno or green chiles to kick it up a notch. Or serve it with homemade cinnamon honey butter for a touch of sweetness. This cornbread is the perfect indulgence.
Regardless of if you are hosting or charged with bringing a side dish to a gathering, all 12 of these dishes make great additions to any backyard BBQ.