No summer is ever complete without a country-style barbecue with friends and family. There is way too much great food and fun involved not to take advantage of time chowing down with your closest friends. For all you country-style barbecue lovers out there, having the essentials is a no-brainer; however, some country young ‘uns may be unfamiliar with the rural BBQ ways.
Knowing what to prepare and accordingly bring to a country barbecue setting speaks volumes about your wealth of knowledge and talent as a trusted expert. For instance, if you are from Missouri, you know how important it is that those baked potatoes are on point; if you’re from Atlanta, you know grits and fixings are a critical side dish. In order to become a connoisseur of the country-style barbecue, following is a list that can be considered a roadmap of sorts, to the summer essentials of a barbecue that’s truly county.
- Meat: Be honest. Have you enjoyed a barbecue without the one necessity needed for the barbecuing, meat? Probably not. Luckily, there is a variety of meat to choose from when it comes to summer barbecue. Some favorites of experienced barbecue lovers include flank steaks, ribs, or classic chuck for burger meat. If you really want to create a lasting impression on your guests, ribs are always a safe bet. Add a savory barbecue sauce to top off your ribs and there’s no doubt that guests will be coming back for seconds. Seasoned barbecue aficionados will typically provide at least two different sauces, one much sweeter and richer (like a KC barbecue sauce) and one more potent and zesty with additional spices.
- Deviled Eggs: Deviled eggs make for a delicious side dish, delectable in taste and convenience. They serve as the perfect finger food for your guests while they are waiting on their main entre from the grill. Filled with condiments such as mayonnaise and yellow mustard, it’s important you keep the deviled eggs fresh and refrigerated until you hit the great outdoors. The last thing we want is for the eggs to spoil before we serve them, especially in this hot summer heat.
- Potatoes: Baked potatoes are a great addition to any country style barbecue. However, if you choose to provide baked potatoes at your barbecue, it’s imperative that you have the necessary condiments and toppings for your guests as well. Usually, sour cream, butter, cheese, and chives are what people expect for baked potato fixings. If you choose to head in a healthier direction, sweet potatoes serve as another great side dish by satisfying a country sweet tooth. A common trick, while not as healthy, is to cook marshmallows on top of the sweet potatoes. Simply put, the flavor of marshmallows is sweet and delectable, pairing wonderfully with the taste of sweet potatoes.
- Barbecue beans: Barbecue lovers always enjoy a delicious plate of barbecue bean salad. It’s no wonder beans taste great with barbecue sauce — they are a barbecue staple. Beans are a great source of fiber and protein, and offer a healthy alternative to your guests. You can never go wrong with a side of tasty barbecue beans.
- Coleslaw: It wasn’t always so popular, but coleslaw has quickly become a dish that barbecue lovers crave. Mayonnaise can keep coleslaw thick and flavorful, but can also cause it to go-bad quicker in the heat. Try a light vinegar base for a fresher, cleaner, and longer-lasting slaw. Just about any grilled dish compliments coleslaw well.
- Corn Bread: When carefully prepared, corn bread offers a seamless amount of sweetness to a home-cooked style barbecue. Corn bread is a fan favorite among both kids and adults. Every barbecue needs bread, and the taste of warm buttered sweetness completes any country-cooked meal. The savory flavor that melts in your mouth keeps your guests yearning for seconds.
- Firewood: Although some choose to go solely off of propane, firewood is simply a must for every outdoor barbecue. Not only does firewood confer a smoky deliciousness to anything you cook over it, it also allows for a fireplace or a bonfire later in the evening. Bonfires and fireplaces offer a friendly way to relax, rejoice, and enjoy time spent with good company in an outdoorsy setting.
- S’mores: The great outdoors is no more complete without a bonfire than it is without s’mores. Roasting marshmallows and creating an ideal s’more is an American past time enjoyed by friends and family. Although they’re made specifically for the kids at your barbecue, there’s no reason adults can’t indulge in their goodness as well. No matter who’s all eating them though, it’s critical that you remember the s’mores essentials: graham crackers, marshmallows, Hershey’s chocolate squares, and roasting skewers.
- Games: Every barbecue needs fun and games. As if you aren’t already enjoying the food and company, interactive games always make for a great time full of lasting memories. One of the most entertaining and active games is a classic game of charades; it’s a creative way to let down your guard and laugh until your stomach hurts. A more active game would include throwing the football or Frisbee around. You can even set up a flag football game if you have enough people to play. Fun and games serve as an active way to get up and embrace your time with your acquaintances after a stomach full of great cuisine.
- Beer: Now, what everyone has been waiting for: Beer. Any barbecue worth attending includes beer for adults. Beer is great as an icebreaker and is a fantastic way for adults to break bread with one another. Plus, not only does beer break down barriers, but it also serves as a refreshing beverage that brings barbecue lovers delight on a hot summer day. You can forget nearly anything else, but you must never forget the beer for a country-style barbecue event!
Written by the staff of Lutz’s BBQ, where they serve up tasty BBQ and provide some of the best service for catering Columbia MO has to offer.