21 Essential Backyard Barbecue Classics

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.

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Some hosts might favor fancier menus with fussy foods that show off their culinary chops, but the true secret to a successful barbecue is in the classics. Burgers, potato salad, coleslaw, grilled chicken and ribs — how disappointing would a barbecue be without those fundamental dishes? Sure, grilled lobsters might be delicious and freshly shucked oysters are always fun, but nobody will miss them if they fail to make an appearance.

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.