Barbecue chicken is more than just a vehicle for the sauce, it can be moist and flavorful on its own if you do it correctly. What can make it even more enjoyable is pairing it with some equally tasty side dishes. Many of the sides that go with barbecue chicken are the same ones that pair well with ribs, pork butt, and many other grilled or smoked proteins. The list includes:
Barbecue chicken goes well with a salad featuring leafy greens whether you are preparing a heavy meal of sauce-coated dark meat or a lighter one of grilled chicken breast. If you are focused on a lower-fat meal, opt for a light vinaigrette dressing or go with something richer like a blue cheese if you want something more filling.
Potato salad, coleslaw, and macaroni salad all work well alongside barbecue chicken. All three can be prepared with mayonnaise- or vinegar-based dressings.
If you have room on your grill, you can cook more than just your proteins. There is a whole range of vegetables that are great when cooked over an open flame. Corn, bell peppers, and asparagus are some of the better-known examples of grill-friendly vegetables. You can try endive, or even watermelon if you are adventurous enough. Brussels sprouts can be cooked on the grill as well; this recipe for chipotle pepper brussels sprouts uses an oven but could easily be modified to work over an open flame.
If you want a traditional American barbecue meal, beans have to be somewhere on the table. You have many options here, from green beans to blackeyed peas but the most traditional of all is baked beans. You can serve baked beans straight from the can with nothing added except for a little heat, or you can make improvements by adding some of your seasonings.
Macaroni and cheese
The creaminess of mac and cheese pairs well with smoky flavors from the grill. There are numerous varieties of this dish, such as the bacon jalapeno mac and cheese recipe. Some cooks argue that mac and cheese should not be served alongside potato salad so that two creamy dishes won’t be competing with each other. One way around this is to use a vinegar- or mustard-based dressing for your potato salad to balance the richness of mac and cheese.
The term cowboy candy refers to jalapeño peppers that have been candied in a cider vinegar and sugar syrup. It is like a combination of pickled jalapenos and jalapeno jam or jelly. Pepperscale’s version of cowboy candy makes an excellent addition to all grilled meat, including barbecue chicken. It’s a great way to add a little extra sweetness along with a mild to moderate heat.
The saltiness and crunch of fries will complement the smokiness of barbecue chicken. For an interesting flavor twist or to increase the nutritional value of the meal, you can try sweet potato fries. Chipotle sweet potato fries are a good option if you want to try out a new recipe.
Cornbread is versatile and will not only complement your barbecue chicken, but it will balance many of the other sides as well. Spread a little of your cowboy candy on it for a delightful combination of savory, sweet and tart flavors.