Five Delicious Side Dish Ideas for Your Next BBQ

When it’s almost summertime, your thoughts turn to planning all kinds of fun activities. There might be trips to the beach and water park fun on the horizon, but no summer is complete without a good old barbeque!

So you’ve rolled out the grill, dusted it, and managed to get it going. You’ll prepare the meat and invite everyone. Sounds pretty simple so far, right? 

However, don’t forget that a barbeque is much more than simply placing meat and buns on a grill. You have to plan the event so that it goes smoothly, keeping everyone’s tastes and preferences in mind.

Since this is a food-related event, we need to have several options on the table. That’s where the side dishes come in!

Why are side dishes so essential in a BBQ?

The highlight of most BBQ parties or gatherings is usually the meat– burgers, steaks, sausages, etc. However, some might say that the side dishes are equally important.

Here are some reasons why they’re probably right:

  • You put a lot of effort into the meat, so the sides should be good enough to complement it.
  • Side dishes can add flavor and texture that enhances the experience of the meat.
  • Sides also provide nutrients that might not be available with just meat.
  • With healthy side dishes, you can balance out the heavy intake of meat.
  • Suitable for people who attend but don’t eat meat for various reasons.
  • They can make up a potluck party; this way, the host doesn’t have the burden of providing enough food for a large gathering.

If you know how to grill peppers and onions, you can have a quick side dish ready at any BBQ. There are many other options available as well, so let’s get into them now:

1. Baked Beans

An average barbeque usually has some form of baked beans to complement the meat. You can use any type; dark red kidney, black, navy, light red kidney, etc. Remember to pre-bake the beans or use canned ones before mixing them with the other ingredients.

If you’re cooking dried beans, soak them overnight before boiling. Here are some steps you can consider when making classic baked beans: 

  • Mix condiments like Dijon mustard, ketchup, apple cider vinegar, and molasses in a bowl. 
  • Add some smoked paprika powder, cayenne pepper, and brown sugar for seasoning.
  • Pour this sauce over the beans in a baking dish and mix everything. 
  • Cover the dish with foil and bake it for 45 minutes at 350°F
  • Remove the foil at the 30-minute mark to allow the top to brown nicely 
  • You can also prepare the bean mixture two days beforehand and bake the dish just before the party

Of course, you can mix and match ingredients for the baked beans according to your taste. Some people may not like the idea of ketchup in a dish, preferring tomato paste or even fresh tomatoes instead. 

2. Potato Salad

This is another classic option that’s present at most BBQ-themed gatherings. Again, this is a versatile dish containing several or just a few simple ingredients.

Here are some of the basic steps for throwing together a potato salad: 

  • Boil some potatoes (most cooks prefer Yukon Gold for this purpose) 
  • Insert a fork into the potatoes when you think they’re done. If the fork goes in easily, the potatoes are done.
  • Plunge the potatoes into a bowl of cold water
  • Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel and dice them 
  • For the rest of the salad, mix mayonnaise, a dash of mustard, and sour cream with salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you want
  • Consider additional ingredients like apple cider vinegar, chopped dill, etc.
  • Slice some green onions, dice some celery, and chop up any vegetable you want to add.
  • Some folks love hard-boiled eggs in their potato salad; if they sound good, prepare some and cut them into small pieces before mixing. 
  • Combine the extra veggies with the potatoes first, then add the mayonnaise dressing.
  • Fold it all together so that there’s an even coating of dressing everywhere.
  • Garnish with some paprika and dill shortly before serving; you can also consider options like parsley, bell peppers, etc.

3. Corn Salad

This salad usually involves no cooking and can come together in ten minutes. You can customize this salad with different ingredients. Add whipped cream to make it creamy, or cotija cheese for that Mexican touch. Add some peppers to make it spicy, with cucumbers on the side to cool things down.  

All you have to do is take loose cooked corn and mix it up with a few add-ons. The latter may include cream, mayonnaise, peppers, feta cheese, herbs, and whatever seems suitable. 

4. Garlic Bread

Some bread is a must with all the meat you have at a BBQ. Along with tasting buns, try making some garlic bread to amp up the flavor. For homemade garlic bread, you need an Italian loaf or baguette. Slice these according to your desired thickness. 

Make the spread by combining softened better with salt, black pepper, chopped parsley, and minced garlic. Spread this combination over one side of the bread slices.

Wrap the butter slices and grill them on a medium heat setting. You can also bake them at 300°F for about five to seven minutes. 

For cheesy garlic bread, add some shredded cheese on top before baking. When the bread is crispy, take the foil off and toast the cheese for the last few minutes. If you want to do the best side dish ever, check out the various bread types to use for garlic bread

5. Grilled Fruit

It might sound strange, but grilled fruit is an Amazon side dish for any barbeque! If you look up the correct techniques, certain types of fruit can taste very different when grilled. Here are some of the most common examples:

  • Pineapple: When you throw a pineapple slice on the grill, its sugars caramelize and make the fruit even sweeter!
  • Watermelon: Believe it or not, you can marinate watermelon and grill it to make a healthy, low-calorie, vegetarian steak
  • Peaches: Drizzle these with sea salt, olive oil, and honey for an even better flavor after grilling. Adding ice cream or whipped makes these the perfect BBQ dessert.
  • Avocados: Grilling results in a tender, creamy texture with a slightly smoky flavor

There are numerous fruits you can try grilling at your next BBQ get-together. The results might surprise you, but they will make an interesting side dish for everyone to enjoy!


Most BBQ side dishes are easy to throw together. They can also be healthy and nutritious options. The classic side dishes will always be welcome at any BBQ, but it’s also exciting to try out something.

If you’re attending or planning a BBQ soon, select some of these awesome side dishes for a memorable and delicious experience!

Chef with experience in European cuisine and American Cuisine, who has a passion for making dishes that look good and taste good. known for creating original takes on tried-and-true dishes with high-quality, fresh ingredients.

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