BBQ Menu: Sauces, Meats & Sides
Summer is full of sunshine; the perfect time for picnics and barbecues. Make sure your own cookout stands out this summer, with a great BBQ menu. Check out our tips below for preparing chicken, sauces, and sides to help you on your way to hosting the best barbecue ever.
When cooked, sauced, and seasoned well, BBQ chicken can elevate a picnic and leave your guests with a great taste in their mouths.
Chicken soaks up the flavors you marinate, baste, and cook it in, so when preparing your delectable chicken dish, you’ll need to find standout sauces and seasonings to use. A few other considerations to keep in mind are determining how to retain chicken’s natural juices and figuring out the optimal cooking time so it’s not a dry, unappetizing puck. Perfecting your personal BBQ sauce recipe, and adjusting common recipes to get the perfect sapidity can be enjoyable and rewarding as your guests chow down.
Start with the basic sauces, spices, and marinades:
- Tomato based BBQ sauce (We recommend Sweet Baby Rays, which is gluten-free!)
- Honey teriyaki glaze for marinating or basting
- Italian or ranch dressing
- Buffalo sauce (or spicy teriyaki, East West is phenomenal)
- Smoky chipotle seasoning – try Victoria Taylors
- Dry rubs – create your own, or find a recipe that you love!
At the end of the day, your cooking method will have the biggest impact on the condition and quality of your meat. Chicken prepared on a grill can tend to turn out drier than anticipated, so consider investing in a humidifier. Alternatively, wrapping your chicken in aluminum foil before placing it on your grill is simple and straightforward. This method allows you to have control over how much moisture stays in your bird. Get your char marks on when it’s around 80% cooked and 160-165 degrees Fahrenheit. Unless you marinate your chicken prior to cooking, make sure to only use sugary/sweet sauces toward the end of cooking your BBQ chicken. Sugar burns very easily and will cause black, crusty chicken if applied early on in the grilling process.
If you wish to go the indoor route, pressure cookers offer the best of both worlds. With a pressure cooker, you can cook your chicken thoroughly and retain moisture. Your guests will love the tender, juicy, pressure cooked chicken that is consistently delicious. Get started using your pressure cooker with Rick’s recipe for BBQ infused chicken.
Pork Recipes for the Summer
Another versatile meat to barbecue with is pork. With a wide variety of cuts available, you can find the perfect recipe for you! This salty fan favorite can be served alone or you can use it to bring out the flavor in other meats and foods: such as shrimp, scallops, or a BBQ side dish like bacon mac and cheese. Or, how about gluten-free, Hawaiian-style pulled pork? Here are a few other ideas:
- Pop the shoulder in a smoker for pulled-pork-brisket sliders
- Drop the pork butt in a pressure cooker for carnitas
- Grill some chops with a delicious marinade or seasoning
- Slow-grill baby back ribs over charcoal
- Wrap your pork with more pork… bacon.
Gluten-free BBQ Menu
Sensitivity to gluten (a type of protein found in wheat and other grains) has become more common because we now have more of an understanding of what Celiac disease is.
Creating a GF (gluten-free) menu presents a more positive, healthy, dining experience for everyone, even those who don’t have Celiac. Delicious gluten-free sauces and other recipes like this one for gluten-free BBQ sauce are becoming more popular and accessible.
There are many other marinades and BBQ sauce recipes that will infuse some great flavor into your cookout, so check out our Summer BBQ Pinterest board for more ideas!
No menu is complete without standout BBQ side dishes. From slaws and salads to roasted vegetables and baked beans, sides can truly make the meal. Build your BBQ menu with these sides; some of which are normally gluten-free and some that may require minor adjustments to accommodate:
- Fruit salad – easy and fresh summer crowd pleaser
- Grilled vegetables with honey-balsamic glaze
- Black bean or mango salsa and tortilla chips
- Corn on the cob can be grilled with the husk intact, but be sure to soak in water first
- Gluten-free nachos and bean dip or hummus
- Coleslaw, egg salad, or potato salad made with avocado, sour cream, or blue cheese
- Pasta salad (with gluten-free pasta)
- Gluten-free baked beans
- Cornbread smeared with your homemade BBQ sauce
- Roasted Brussels sprouts
Planning your BBQ Menu
One of the most important things you can do as a host is to make sure your guests have a good time and enough healthy food to eat. You can avoid many dietary limitations by cooking with gluten in mind – for instance, your guests might not even notice you have an entirely gluten-free menu, but your gluten-free friends will appreciate it. And remember: a good sauce goes a long way.