Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Perfect Side Dishes for Barbecue

There are some foods that are absolutely synonymous with barbecue and they make regular appearances on every great outdoor grill menu. 

Traditional favorites like big juicy steaks, succulent chicken wings, and homestyle burgers will always have a place when it comes to cooking in your own backyard. But while most people focus on these meat-related “big guns” during home BBQ, it's important to remember side dishes as well. Most people don't think too much about side dishes since it's so easy to get distracted by succulent meet that is perfectly charbroiled on the outside and juicy inside. However, side dishes are a perfect opportunity to counteract the greasiness of grilled meat while balancing out flavor as well. In many ways they are just as important as your main dishes and some sides are so essential that a barbecue meal wouldn't seem complete without them. Here is a list of great sides that should be featured at every barbecue.

Potato salad – we’ll start with the big one that is as important to a barbecue as the grill itself. No barbecue would seem complete without a nice helping of fresh potato salad. Of course these days you can simply go down to your local grocery store and buy a family sized portion. But if you have the time, try to make your own version because nothing beats homemade potato salad and the way it complements heavier meet perfectly.

Coleslaw - some would argue this delicious side is just as important as its cousin, potato salad. It definitely has a wonderful ability to balance out the pallet thanks to a crisp texture and tangy taste. It goes wonderfully with chicken and ribs, and especially when they are drenched in barbecue sauce.

Fresh Bread - bread is a common denominator in perfect meals whether you realize it or not. Whether you go to a fancy steakhouse or an old-fashioned barbecue restaurant, chances are you'll be served some incarnation of fresh bread. It could be sourdough or it could be cornbread, and there’s something to be said about just plain old regular white bread. You might not have the time to prepare it yourself, but what could be easier than going to your local bakery and picking up a nice fresh loaf for your barbecue meal?

Wild Rice - this is definitely not considered a traditional side for barbecue, but there's nothing wrong with straying from the old way of doing things. Rice is becoming increasingly popular as a side for any grilled meal because it balances things perfectly with just the right amount of flavor. You can either choose to go with plain rice, or even a delicately prepared risotto or rice pilaf will do the job quite nicely.

Garden Salad - vegetables often get overshadowed when it comes to barbecue, but that doesn't have to be the case with an expertly prepared garden salad. You might surprise yourself with how you can make vegetables sing with excitement when you put them together the right way. Make sure to use the freshest products you can find, and don't be afraid to experiment with different combinations. Think about how different textures, sizes, and colors all blend together perfectly to create a perfect garden salad. It's a wonderful opportunity to make your barbecue meal healthier, just remember to put the dressing on the side so that you don't overload dish with calories.

At the end of the day, good authentic barbecue is all about experimentation and finding the right menu your family will love. Don't get caught in the same boring routine and always look for adaptations you can make using inspirations from various sources. You might even want to think about preparing your own barbecue sauce recipes rather than relying on generic stuff you find in a bottle. Every unique thing you do adds up and becomes your own personal signature for the best grilled food possible.

These side dish ideas come to us from our friends at, a site that celebrates the love of grilled food.