One of the best ways to celebrate the fading of summer’s glories is a backyard barbecue with family, friends, and neighbors. Whether for a family potluck or a more formal event with invited guests, an outdoor picnic-style meal that includes grill cooking makes for a fun and relaxing event on a sunny afternoon. While there are many styles of BBQ and plenty of sides to choose from, here are five basics that every BBQ should be proud to serve.
Almost any kind of sandwich is welcome at a BBQ event. From cold cuts to burgers or cucumber tea squares, anyone can enjoy their favorite spread or filling on delicious breads that might include Kaiser buns. Popular for decades, hearty Kaiser rolls, also called Vienna rolls, allegedly came from Austria and are often made with five top segments resembling a royal crown. A tasty range of spreads like mayo, mustard, ketchup, onion slices, and pickle relish lets everyone create unique combinations. If you want a wide variety of ingredients and options, ask the people attending to bring their favorite non-traditional condiment or sandwich topping.
Fresh salads that combine seasonal greens and an array of garden-fresh produce provide delicious options for sides that complement every barbecue menu. Accents like croutons, bacon bits, grated cheese, and dried fruit can be added to the salad for everyone or set up as individual add-ons. Salad dressings for various preferences should also be available. Don’t forget about the non-vegetable salads you can include like potato salad, pasta salad, macaroni salad, and fruit salad.
Baked beans, roasted potatoes, grilled tomatoes, corn on the cob, and a host of other fresh or cooked vegetables supplement the picnic table smorgasbord of healthy dishes to choose from. Lightly seasoned and barely cooked, newly-harvested vegetables make great kebabs for grilling. While some, like carrots for appetizers and cabbage for Coleslaw, can be served raw. You also can never go wrong with a standard veggie tray and dip for people to load up on if they need to wait for the main course to come off the grill.
Home-churned ice cream is a traditional favorite to contrast deliciously with spicy barbecue cooking. Cupcakes, cookies, or homemade apple pie remain popular sweet choices for after-dinner treats. Sheet cakes, fruit gelatins, and sliced apples with cheese wedges offer more satisfying and delectable treats for casual barbecue dining. Finger desserts are easier to serve and eat than more elaborate confections. Keep in mind, if you’ll be outside or inside most of the time and what all of your guests might enjoy.
Family-friendly drink options besides chilled water might include fresh-squeezed lemonade or ice tea. Fruit punch can be made ahead and freshened as needed with scoops of sherbet and fruit slices. Some people like to also have coffee on hand while others prefer beer or ale. Ice is another must-have for beverages served at a summertime BBQ.
Make your summer’s end barbecue an event to remember by offering these five basic food types to relatives or guests. Other items can be included to please every palate.
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