East vs. West
One of the oldest (and most delicious) barbecue “battles” is Eastern North Carolina vs. Western North Carolina. At a recent catering event by Harvest Table Culinary Group at Elon University, the rivalry was played up, starting with appetizers including pimiento cheese bites, housemade pork rinds, housemade pickles and fried chickpeas.
Barbecue’s cheesiest sidekick
The melty, creamy cheesy factor makes mac and cheese possibly be the perfect barbecue side dish. Chef Candace’s mac and cheese was a big part of the Elon University event.
Guests could trick out their mac with local Tickle My Ribs pulled pork, lobster, jalapenos, green onions and more.
Let’s get corny!
Grilled corn on the cob was also customizable at Elon’s barbecue. Executive Chef Jay Vetter curated some sophisticated toppings, including infused butters, Old Bay and other seasonings, fresh herbs and cheese.
Another way to serve mac and cheese: in a treasure chest, like the treasure it is! This was at an event at the Collegiate School, a K-12 private school in Richmond, Va., served by Aladdin, a part of the Elior North America family of companies.
The nacho bar at Smokies Stadium in Knoxville, found at Bush’s Best Ballpark Café, allows baseball fans to build their own piece of nacho nirvana.
Blueberry baked beans
U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council
Speaking of beans, here’s a way to take blueberries in a savory direction in baked beans with lots of fiery flavor. Get the recipe here.
Middle Eastern flair
Tabbouleh makes a light and bright foil to smoked meat at West Virginia Wesleyan College, also served by Aladdin. This was served at a barbecue in May, along with spicy smoked brisket on jalapeno-cheddar buns.
Hot and cool
Jicama papaya slaw added a cool counterpoint to the fiery, smoky guajillo chile brisket at West Virginia Wesleyan.
Sweet summer salad
Elon University celebrated National Strawberry Day with this salad of local berries, pumpkin seeds, radish and fresh herbs.
National Honey Board
This honey-glazed grilled fruit salad is another way to take a walk on the sweet side of things. Get the recipe here.
Aloha side dishes
Hawaiian barbecue is the king of fruit side dishes. Duke University’s dining team got into the aloha spirit with this stunning display.
Oh my, papaya!
Tropical fruits at Duke’s Hawaiian barbecue are colorful and interesting enough to stand on their own as a side to the succulent roasted pig.
Crunchy side dish
This sassy slaw is made with jicama, carrot, apple and walnut. Get the recipe here.
All about the apples
This slaw, created by the Morrison Community Living culinary team at Brooks Bartram, gets crunch from apple and zucchini and the dressing contains the zippy flavors of apple cider vinegar, caraway seeds, scallions and mayo.
This creamy, dreamy Hawaiian slaw from Reser’s Foodservice is perfect for pulled pork sliders on Hawaiian buns. Get the recipe here.
Cool as a (smashed) cucumber
California Table Grape Commission
This traditional Sichuan salad is sweetened up with red grapes. The dressing is made with rice vinegar, soy sauce, chili oil and sesame oil.
Throw an avocado on the barbie
Avocados from Mexico
Avocado halves get gorgeous grill marks (and don’t take nearly as long as brisket to cook!) Get the recipe here.
Iron skillet cornbread
Real California Milk
Another classic barbecue side, cornbread made in the skillet is updated with the addition of lavender honey butter.