A good smoked meat can stand on its own. Prepared correctly, it’s a component of a meal that people wished they saved more room for. The same goes for anything cooked on the grill.
However, there's nothing wrong with having a little support by way of side dishes to create a meal that stands out.
To help elevate your meals during the warmer months, we've rounded up three summer barbecue side dish recipes for sides that will give any main course a run for its money.
3 Smoker Side Dishes for Your Table
During the warmer months, one of the last things anyone wants to do is spend time in a hot kitchen cooking. In addition to requiring no indoor cooking, you won't break a sweat preparing these summer sides:
- Cole slaw
- Smoked baked beans
- Chickpea salad
If there's one side that seems to be the perfect match to any BBQ spread, coleslaw takes the crown.
With a flavor profile that's sweet, tangy, creamy, and the slightest bit earthy, coleslaw pairs well with almost every smoked/grilled meat as easily as it stands on its own.
For the Cole?
While you could go ahead and get a medium-sized cabbage and shred it and do the same to a few carrots, we're going to recommend a shortcut: get a bag of tricolor coleslaw mix (they're usually found with the bags of premade salads).
For the Slaw (Dressing)?
- 1/2 cup mayo
- 2 tbsp white sugar
- 1.5 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- Optional: dash of garlic powder
- Empty coleslaw mix into a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, combine dressing ingredients
- Pour dressing over coleslaw mix and mix well.
- For a little bit more flavor and an extra point for presentation, sprinkle a dusting of smoked paprika on top of the finished dish.
Smoked Baked Beans
Another stalwart in the world of BBQ and smoked meat sides, smoked baked beans level up a classic dish. In our experience, this is one of the best smoked side dishes out there.
For this recipe, we're going to take the long route. Yes, that means you won't be using canned beans -- but trust us, the difference in both texture and flavor from making this dish from scratch is well worth the extra effort (which we promise is minimal).
- dried navy beans
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 lb. bacon, cooked and chopped
The Night Before
Soak the beans in a large pot of water (this is that long way we mentioned, but it's truly one of those "set it & forget it's.")
The Day of
- Preheat your smoker to 250°F.
- Drain the beans and add them to a large disposable aluminum pan.
- Add the onion, green and red bell peppers, garlic, ketchup, brown sugar, molasses, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, smoked paprika, salt, and black pepper to the pan. Stir to combine.
- Smoke the beans (we recommend hickory wood) for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Add in bacon.
- Continue to smoke for an additional hour to allow the flavors to meld together.
- Remove beans, allow to cool & enjoy!
This dish is for those looking for a healthy alternative without compromising on flavor or uniqueness. It's also another side that's perfect for a hot summer day as it's best enjoyed cold.
For the Salad
- 1 15 oz can of chickpeas
- Roughly a third of a medium-sized red onion, diced
- 1 diced (small) sweet red pepper
- 1 diced (small) sweet yellow pepper
- 1 diced cucumber (seeds removed)
- 1/8 cup fresh-cut parsley
For the Dressing
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 tsp fresh-ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine salad ingredients
- In a small bowl, combine dressing ingredients and mix thoroughly – We suggest using a whisk, or a handheld milk frother (basically a mini powered whisk)
- Pour dressing over salad ingredients and give a mix
- Refrigerate for at least two hours before serving
Need Help With Main Course Ideas?
Check out our BBQ smoker recipes:
Or download our Smokin' Ugly Cookbook for even more: