It used to be that you had to go all the way to Kansas City or Memphis to get the best "real" barbecue, but today that provincial perspective is changing. Good BBQ (award-winning, even) can be found almost everywhere now, including in your own backyard.
If you’re like me and always looking for easy and creative ways to wow your guests with the “best” barbecue, look no further. For me, it’s all about the side dishes – they’re just as important as what’s on the grill or in the smoker. Especially baked beans! There’s a reason almost every barbecue joint has them on the menu. And with so many kinds of beans to choose from, it’s easy to find the perfect fit for whatever BBQ you might be serving. Here are 8 bean side dish ideas to get you started.
1. Teriyaki Pork Sandwiches and Sriracha Beans: When you throw teriyaki-marinated pork on the grill, it caramelizes, giving the meat a sweet and salty flavor that’s just right for a Vietnamese-style sandwich. A schmear of sriracha mayo kicks up the heat, fresh cucumbers and carrots add cool crunch, and a side of tangy, sweet and spicy beans with sriracha sauce brings it all together.
2. Pineapple Maple Chicken and Bourbon Beans: Since you really can’t go wrong with kabobs, here’s another delicious take. These glazed chicken kabobs are sweeter, with an amazing pineapple maple glaze you’ll want to brush on everything you grill. Serve with brown sugar bourbon beans for a sweet dinner in under an hour.
3. Steak and Beans: There’s nothing like a homemade steak dinner, and the bold spices in this steak marinade are a nice change of pace from the basic salt and pepper. Try it with a side of beans with hickory and steak sauce – they’re just smoky enough to balance the spices in the marinade without being too overpowering.
4. Orange Chicken and Brown Sugar Beans: Add serious flavor to grilled chicken breast with ingredients you probably already have in your fridge, like orange juice and yellow mustard. Heat up some sweet and smoky beans along with whatever veggies you have on hand, and dinner’s served.
5. Stuffed Burgers and Beans: Sometimes you just want a burger. And it’s pretty hard to resist homemade burgers stuffed with cheddar, Colby Jack and roasted red peppers. For burgers, I like to keep things classic with brown sugar baked beans.
7. Pork Chops and Southern Beans: Pork chops are already pretty perfect. A quick rub of brown sugar and cayenne pepper is really all they need before they hit the grill. For a just-right balance of sweet and savory, serve these grilled pork chops with slow-cooked, Southern-style beans.
8. BBQ Squash and Beans: Garden-fresh squash is delicious on the grill, even better when you stuff it with tangy baked beans. This stuffed acorn squash is great as a side dish, and hearty enough to enjoy as a light vegetarian dinner (meatless Monday, anyone?).
The next time you're craving some BBQ or hosting a get together, try out these easy grilling recipes and don’t forget the best barbecue side dish – the beans!