This post was sponsored by Big Red, our favorite soda to pair with summer barbecue.
Every year when the weather gets warmer, people all over collectively pull out their grills and invite friends and family to the first backyard cookout of the season. We here at Key Ingredient are certainly no exception (we're Austinites, after all!). In our opinion, it's not really summer without getting to share a huge bbq feast with people we love.
And the feast isn't just about the brisket, ribs, sausage, pulled pork, and other fall-off-the-bone meats! The proper sides, beverages, and desserts are also essential to completing the best possible bbq spread to share with everyone. Without further ado, let's take you through our steps to creating that perfect cookout menu.
This one's a no-brainer; you obviously have to start with a few choice meats, smoked, marinated, rubbed, slow-cooked, and/or grilled to your liking. In our opinion, brisket and ribs are essential—this array from @sspitcrew looks absolutely divine!—but there's lots of meats to choose from, so follow your carniverous heart!
Brandi from Stay Snatched has it right with her spread here! A classic southern bbq requires mac & cheese, potato salad, and baked beans on the side. You can keep it super simple with these, using any tried and true recipe you love. If you don't already have a go-to mac & cheese recipe, you'll love Brandi's recipe pictured here, which uses a blend of fontina, sharp cheddar, muenster, pecorino, and parmesan cheeses.
This one will also be familiar to you if you've experienced classic southern barbecue. Whether you like building a little bbq sandwich or just munching on some crispy pickles between bites of brisket, bread and pickles are two little additions that we love. You can buy sliced white bread and jarred pickles from any grocery store of course, or you can get crafty and make your own. This recipe for Homemade Garlic Dill Pickles is perfect for pairing with summer barbecue!
These loaded nachos with slow-cooked Big Red shredded beef from Girl Carnivore can be an easy alternative to classic bbq on the grill, or another snackable side on the table with everything else! Either way, it's super easy to make, and gets a boost of bright, slightly sweet flavor from the Big Red soda that's cooked right in. Serve with fresh guac, salsa, and sour cream, and make your bbq a little more Tex-Mex inspired.
Carnivores may scoff, but a light vegetable salad is the perfect way to complement an otherwise heavy bbq meal. This recipe from Life A Little Brighter uses just a few vegetables that are perfect for summer and won't weigh you down with the rest of your meal.
There's always room for dessert, right? To finish off your feast, we recommend whipping up a simple sheet or bundt cake like this 2 Ingredient Cake. This particular recipe takes no time at all, and only requires a can of soda and a box of cake mix! We recommend trying this one with a bottle of Big Red and a box of cherry or chocolate cake mix for a sweet addition to your bbq feast.