One of the best ways to pass a summer day is with a cold drink in one hand and a worn pair of tongs in the other, with the sun shining overhead and friends gathered around the garden. Backyard barbecues are a wonderful way to celebrate the warmer months. There are drinks on ice, paper plates to make cleaning up a breeze, and good food for all to enjoy.
So make sure that some of these star players are present at your next backyard barbecue. There’s no need to include all of them, but it’s always nice to see a childhood favorite or an all-American classic somewhere in the mix. So go on and check out these 21 essential backyard barbecue classics that no summer cookout would be complete without.
It doesn’t get more American than apple pie, right? With a dollop of freshly whipped cream or delicious vanilla ice cream, a slice of apple pie is the perfect barbecue classic that your cookout cannot be without.
It goes without saying that barbecue sauce is a must-have condiment at any backyard barbecue. Why not try and make your own? Once you master one recipe, you can tweak it and create your very own sauce that is tailored to your tastes. Never rely on store-bought again!
These baked beans are loaded with thick slices of bacon, molasses, and brown sugar, with a hint of spice from Tabasco sauce. Make these for an authentic Buffalo bean experience that you and your guests will adore!
Slowly cooked pork butt becomes juicy and mouthwateringly tender. Though it takes a bit of time and effort, the end results are more than worth it, so don’t hesitate.
An all American burger is hard to beat, and you are bound to disappoint people if you fail to include at least one burger at your next backyard barbecue. It’s important to provide guests with the standards they’ll expect, but if you fancy something a little bit different, why not try a burger that uses a mix of ground lamb, ground pork, and ground beef?
Coleslaw, sadly, has a bit of a tarnished reputation. Too many people associate it with a gloppy, tasteless, mayonnaise-saturated pile of anemic cabbage. If you too have had unfortunate slaw encounters, then try an Asian slaw for something full of flavor and texture. It is sure to convert even the most committed cabbage cynic.
A cherry pie full of tart, juicy cherries will add a wonderful brightness of flavor as well as color to any backyard barbecue. If you use a store-bought crust, this pie comes together in a flash!
Once corn is in season, the summer becomes infinitely sweeter! While perfectly ripe corn is delicious simply grilled and slathered in butter, a dusting of sweet paprika and some fresh cilantro make for a tasty twist on a classic that everyone will love.
Another great use of sweet corn is salsa. Use it as a dip or side dish or put it on top of your burger or your favorite greens. Avocado and black beans can make for a heartier concoction that can be dressed with your favorite salad dressing.
Ahh, fried chicken — juicy, crispy, and delicious. The magic of fried chicken makes it delicious hot, cold and every temperature in between, so it is possible to make it at the beginning of a barbecue and continue to enjoy it for the rest of the day!
For a refreshing barbecue dessert, why not try a fresh fruit salad? For extra fruity fun, you can make a sangria fruit salad that will ensure the party keeps on going!
Grilled chicken, when done right, can be an utter delight. Crispy skin and sticky glazes with perfectly cooked meat within make for perfect messy outdoor eating! You can simply grill chicken, or you can kick your chicken game up a notch with a flavor-boosting marinade that will please a crowd.
Forget store-bought condiments. Jazz up your backyard barbecue hot dogs by making your own toppings. Homemade mustard, house-made pickles or your own onion sauce — whatever condiments you make will dramatically enhance everyone’s hot dog experience!
Vegetarians shouldn’t be left out simply because they don’t eat meat! Make something that even the meat eaters will enjoy with perfectly grilled vegetable kebabs. Add a tasty dressing to show the vegetarians how much you care.
Ribs, when done right, are juicy, fall-off-the-bone tender, messy, and finger-licking good. If you have a hankering for ribs, don’t hesitate one minute longer. What could be better than slowly cooked ribs, basted in your favorite barbecue sauce? Pro tip: Refrain from wearing white while eating them.
Pulled pork, dressed with barbecue sauce and sandwiched between two pillowy-soft buns with bright coleslaw cutting through the rich sweetness — what harmony! For the true pulled pork devotee, a plate and a fork might be all that you need. Either way, pulled pork is a delicious barbecue classic that should not be missed.
Creamy and cooling, macaroni salad complements the heat and richness of barbecued meats and sauces. Macaroni salad should be acidic, with crunchy celery and bright, fresh parsley. Add bacon and avocado for a great twist on the classic barbecue side.
Grilled pork tenderloin is easy to cook and a great lean alternative to some of the fattier cuts that are normally cooked on the grill. If prepared correctly, a grilled tenderloin is juicy and full of flavor. Just be careful not to overcook it!
Like macaroni salad, potato salad offers a cool and often crunchy and acidic flavor to contrast with the sweeter and more heavily flavored barbecue items. Potatoes have the added bonus of being gluten-free and full of fiber and vitamins! There are many wonderful twists on potato salad, and you can easily add ingredients that speak to you — cheese, tomatoes, capers, whatever strikes your fancy! Try using olive oil and lemon juice instead of mayonnaise for a lovely lighter dish.
A steak on the grill really speaks for itself. If you have a lovely cut (such as rib-eye or New York strip) then all you need to do is season simply and make sure you cook it right for a divine backyard barbecue dish.
A cool and crisp watermelon salad on a hot day will quench thirst and satisfy taste buds. Sweet and perfectly ripe watermelon pairs well with salty feta, and if you have never tried that combination before, then I urge you to make it right away. It is a perfect, refreshing salad for a backyard barbecue on a hot day.