Best Side Dishes to Serve at a Barbecue
The right side dish for bbq makes all the difference for people already salivating over the main dish. If you’ve got some great side dishes for the grill, then you don’t have to worry about making so much steak that it breaks your budget. Also, if you’re grill tailgating, these dishes serve as great apps.
This post is dedicated to the best side dishes; the side dish for bbq that'll make everyone remember the main dish just a little bit more. Side dishes don’t have to just be things that you toss away to fill plates. Pick side dishes that make the meal.
Of course, the right side dishes are going to require the right grilling gear to really knock them out of the park. Check out some popular side dishes, then head over to the Kick Ash Shop to get what you need.
Side Dishes to Rock the BBQ
Firstly, don’t overthink the side dishes. Let the grill flavors play around with unexpected foods, and you’re well on your way to the perfect side dish for bbq. It can be hard to do if you’re cooking a food that takes a long time, like beef brisket, but quicker meats pair great with grilled side dishes.
If you’re doing up side dishes on the bbq, it can be really helpful to buy an extra rack to set and prepare food while another dish is cooking.
Take green onions and cut the very bottoms off, then wrap up from the base using prosciutto. Cut the top of the green onion so there is only a few inches exposed beyond wherever the prosciutto wrap ends. You can then toss these on the grill with a little bit of salt and pepper, giving them just a few minutes on each side to take on a quality char.
Cut an eggplant into slices that are about half an inch thick and then lay them out onto the grill, dusting with a little bit of olive oil and a generous bit of salt. Then, simply let them cook for just a few minutes on each side, enough to give them great char marks without turning them into mush. These pair really well with halved, grilled cherry tomatoes, and are sure to make your vegetarian friends just as satisfied as the meat eaters at your bbq.
A lot of the main dishes that you’re going to make on the barbecue are going to have a strong salty, umami, and savory taste. You’ll get fresh and hearty veggies with tender, juicy meat, especially if you’re picking the right cuts. With that said, if you can make a side dish that is a little lighter and a little sweeter while still incorporating that good grill flavor, do it.
That’s what makes watermelon one of the perfect things to grill. Cut this fruit into triangles that are flat and about an inch thick, then toss onto a hot grill. You might want to add a pinch of salt, but just a pinch. Grill for a couple minutes on each side so you give time for the sugary, starchy texture to start to melt a little bit. Serve with some sprigs of fresh mint, or, if you want to give the watermelon a more acidic flavor, season with a pinch of lime juice.
Grilling an Onion
The best way to grill an onion is to buy sweet onions and quarter them. Just toss in a little bit of olive oil and salt, but not too much, then toss those onions on the grill and cover for 10 minutes. Next, uncover and cook for another 10 minutes on a different side. That 20 minute time will be plenty for the sweet onions to caramelize without completely falling apart. You won’t want to cook them much longer than 20 minutes, and remember that the onions will keep cooking even after you pull them off the grill.
Easy Side Dish - Corn on the Cob
There’s a reason that corn on the cob is one of the longest running grill classics. Corn on the cob is the best friend from every romantic comedy and the partner from every action movie. It plays well with anything and makes the flavor of everything else better. Bright yellow, a perfectly happy color, it brings together the colors and textures of everything on your plate. Corn on the cob is also kind of hard to mess up. You can grill it straight on the rack, in the husk, or wrapped in foil. Just cook for about 15 minutes and it’ll be perfect.
Side Dishes from Off-BBQ, for the BBQ
Not every great side dish also has to be grilled, especially in the winter grill season. Sometimes the perfect side dish is something that doesn’t even get near the grill until all the flavors sit on the same plate as the freshly prepared meal.
Watermelon Cucumber Salad
If you’ve never paired watermelon and cucumber together before, than this lovely recipe might sound a bit strange to you. But this is different than just tossing some salt onto a watermelon. The perfect watermelon cucumber salad is made with a few torn up mint leaves and a few pieces of red onion. Toss a little olive oil and a bit of red wine vinegar over the top and you’re good to go!
The recipe that we’ve linked has feta cheese in it, but you can do a little better than that. Feta has a stronger, crumbled flavor. If you can get a crumbled goat cheese onto the salad then you can get an even more on-trend variety. Garnish with a bit of salt and then serve it up!
Better Pasta Salad
Yes, pasta salad is a staple of so many cookouts and grills. But most pasta salads leave people thinking that it was almost really good. Pasta salad shows up at nearly every BBQ you could imagine because every time people eat pasta salad, they realize that it is so close to being so good and they hope that they might make a better version in the future.
So here it is, the last pasta salad recipe you’ll ever need, a bruschetta pasta salad that finally gets rid of unnecessary flavors and dials into the right texture.
Street Corn Salad
If you want a creative twist on a classic Mexican street corn, this is the dish that will do wonders for you. Easy to make and easy to enjoy, it’s a great way to get everyone to share the tasty treat.
You don’t even have to toss the corn on the grill. Of course, if you want an even more authentic taste, you can always take cobs that have just been grilled and cut the corn off. But you don’t need to go this far. You can cut raw kernels off a cob, or you can even use frozen or canned corn. Bring some water to a boil and then back down to a simmer, then toss in your corn and cover to let cook for a few minutes. Drain the corn and get rid of water by dabbing with a paper towel.
Now, put the corn in a serving bowl. Add a little drizzle of mayo, some cotija cheese, a bit of lime or lemon juice, some chopped fresh cilantro, and a tablespoon of chili powder. Put a bunch of salt on top, to taste, and viola, your perfect day grilling on the bbq is complete.