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8 Easy Sides for Your Next Barbecue

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8 Easy Sides for Your Next Barbecue

Are you planning your next barbecue with friends? While the meats great, sides are the stars. Here are 8 easy sides for your next barbecue. 

As we gear up for another season of grilling under the sun, it’s time to talk about what makes a barbecue memorable—the sides! Sure, the smoky aroma of grilled meats is tantalizing, but the side dishes transform a simple cookout into a feast. From the crunch of a fresh salad to the comforting spoonful of baked beans, sides are where we get to showcase variety and flavor.

Today, we’re diving into some easy yet incredibly satisfying side dishes that will make your next barbecue the talk of the town. Let’s get started!

What’s in This Article:

Classic Coleslaw

No barbecue is complete without a bowl of classic coleslaw. This refreshing side dish, with its crisp cabbage and carrots draped in a creamy dressing, is the perfect counterpoint to smoky meats.

A bowl of delicious creamy homemade coleslaw on a rustic picnic table with watermelon and corn.

Classic coleslaw should be a required side dish for your next barbecue. Photo by Fudio via iStock by Getty Images

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Here’s a quick way to whip it up: mix shredded green cabbage and carrots in a large bowl. For the dressing, blend mayonnaise, a splash of vinegar, a spoonful of sugar, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Combine everything and let it chill before serving.

Slow Cooker Baked Beans

Baked beans are a hearty companion to any barbecue dish, and preparing them in the crockpot makes the process a breeze. Start with a mix of your favorite beans, add bacon for depth, and toss in some chopped onions for a bit of a bite. The secret lies in the sauce—a combination of BBQ sauce, mustard, brown sugar, and a touch of Worcestershire sauce creates a perfect balance of sweet and tangy flavors. Let the crockpot do its magic, and you’ll have a comforting side ready to serve with minimal effort.

Making baked beans in the crockpot brings a rich, deep flavor and saves precious grill space for the main attractions.

Grilled Corn on the Cob

Grilled corn on the cob is a summertime favorite that brings a touch of sweetness to your barbecue spread. For perfectly grilled corn, peel back the husks (but don’t remove them!), remove the silk, and soak the cobs in water for a few minutes. This prep moistens the corn as it grills and adds an irresistible smoky flavor. Brush the cobs with butter and season with salt before wrapping the husks back around.

Close-Up Of Sweetcorn On Barbecue Grill

Grilled corn on the cob is a summertime barbecue favorite. Photo by BreakingTheWalls via iStock by Getty Images

Grill over medium heat, turning occasionally, until the kernels are tender and slightly charred. Serve with additional butter and a sprinkle of chili powder or grated Parmesan.

Watermelon Salad

On hot barbecue days, a watermelon salad is the best side dish. Cube ripe watermelon and combine it with cucumber slices, feta cheese crumbles, and torn fresh mint leaves. Drizzle with a balsamic reduction for a touch of acidity and sweetness that elevates the whole dish. This salad is not only beautiful to look at with its vibrant colors but also a delightful mix of flavors and textures.

watermelon salad with feta cheese

Don’t forget a refreshing watermelon salad for your summer barbecue menu. Photo by juefraphoto via iStock by Getty Images

The juicy crunch of watermelon, the creamy saltiness of feta, and the freshness of mint create a symphony in your mouth, making it a must-have side at any outdoor gathering.

Potato Salad

Potato salad is a versatile classic that can be tailored to suit any palate, making it a barbecue staple. Start by boiling cubed potatoes until just tender. Mix in a dressing of mayonnaise, a dash of mustard, finely chopped onions, and crisp celery for a bit of crunch. Add chopped hard-boiled eggs or tangy pickles to the mix for those who like a little extra.

The beauty of potato salad lies in its simplicity and the endless variations you can create. Whether you prefer creamy or tangy potato salad, it’s a comforting side that pairs well with just about everything off the grill.

Veggie Skewers

Veggie skewers bring a burst of color and nutrients to your barbecue spread. They’re not just a treat for the eyes but a delight for the taste buds.

Grilled skewers of vegetatbles and various meat

Add colorful and tasty vegetable skewers to your summer barbecue plans. Photo by zi3000 via iStock by Getty Images

Start with colorful vegetables like bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, and zucchini. Cut them into bite-sized pieces and thread them onto skewers. Before grilling, brush them with a marinade of olive oil, garlic, and your choice of herbs—rosemary and thyme work wonders. Grill them until they’re nicely charred and tender.

Veggie skewers are a versatile side that complements any meat dish and provides a vegetarian option that everyone can enjoy.

Garlic Bread

Garlic bread is essential for mopping up sauces and balancing the meat-heavy menu of most barbecues. Take a baguette or any crusty loaf and slice it without cutting all the way through. Mix softened butter with crushed garlic, parsley, and a pinch of salt, then spread this mixture between the slices. Wrap the loaf in foil and place it on the grill or in the oven until the bread is toasty and the butter has melted into every crevice. The result is a fragrant, flavorful bread that’s impossible to resist.

Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and cheese is a crowd-pleaser for all ages, bringing a comforting richness to your barbecue. For a creamy and irresistible dish, cook macaroni until al dente and mix it with a cheese sauce made from butter, flour, milk, and a generous helping of your favorite cheeses. Cheddar and Gouda offer a great blend of flavor and meltiness. For an added crunch, top the macaroni with breadcrumbs mixed with melted butter, then bake until the top is golden and crispy.

Mac and cheese, american style macaroni pasta in cheesy sauce

Don’t forget the favorite mac and cheese side for your barbecue. Photo by Roxiller via iStock by Getty Images

More Recipes for Your Summer Dining

Planning Sides for Your Next Barbecue

Each side dish offers something unique, from the comforting richness of mac and cheese to the refreshing simplicity of a watermelon salad. They prove you don’t need to spend hours in the kitchen to create memorable, delicious sides that complement any barbecue fare.

As you plan your next outdoor gathering, remember to mix and match these sides to cater to all tastes and dietary preferences. With these recipes in your arsenal, you’re ready to host a barbecue that’s sure to impress your guests with a spread that’s as vibrant and diverse as the company. We invite you to explore Wander With Wonder for more of our favorite recipes.

Are you planning your next barbecue with friends? While the meats great, sides are the stars. Read the Wander With Wonder article for 8 easy sides for your next barbecue. 


8 Easy Sides for Your Next Barbecue

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