Ultimate Grill Out Side Dishes

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I love grilling out! Hamburgers, sausages, ribs — if I can grill it, I will. Sometimes, though, I have difficulty figuring out what to serve with grilled meats. Potato salad and coleslaw are tired (and heavy on your stomach). Fruit salad? That’s good for dessert. Potato chips? Boring. Most importantly, it can’t be too complicated because you’ll be tending a grill outside. So what do you make? Match your grilled meat with side dishes that complement the smoky, rich flavors of summertime grilling.

Ribs
The classic accompaniment for ribs (or any kind of barbecue) is baked beans. A little sweet, a little smoky, they bring out the best flavors in your ribs. Mix it up with this island-inspired side dish. Combine baked beans, bacon, beef and onions, and then place the mixture in half a hollowed-out pineapple. The pineapple’s sweetness and acidity really cuts the richness of ribs. It’s visually impressive (kids love it) and delicious. It’s practically a meal in itself, and one pineapple feeds a crowd.

Hamburgers & Hot Dogs
French fries or potato chips are a classic side, but what if you want something a little lighter? I love bean salads. They’re as light as you’d like them to be, but they’re still filling. This three-bean salad takes the classic bean salad and kicks it up with honey mustard and grapes. The grapes add a cool sweetness that works great with a fully dressed burger or a hot dog with mustard.

Fajitas
I love to cook steak fajitas on the grill, but side dishes can be challenging. What stands up to the bold flavors of marinated chicken or beef, grilled vegetables and salsa? Try a new take on refried beans. These aren’t the pasty refried beans you’re used to — there’s a touch of beer, a lot of salsa and a little heat. Plus, because they aren’t a smooth consistency like traditional refried beans, their texture will make for a great contrast to your fajitas.

Grilled Chicken
While grilled chicken is easy and delicious, it needs a side dish with a lot of flavor. This Mexican-inspired baked bean dish complements grilled chicken nicely, and it’s just as easy to throw together. Simply combine corn, tomatoes, baked beans, bacon and onions in a casserole and pop it in the oven. While you’re grilling, it will bubble and you’ll be finished. Easy!

Grilled meat may get all the attention during these summer months. But with a little thought and creativity, you can have an equally delectable side dish.

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