6 Grilled Sides That Perfectly Complement Chicken
You can bake, fry, broil or boil your food, but nothing beats grilling. You can only get those smoky aromas and flavors by firing up the backyard grill and letting it get to work.
Most grill enthusiasts stick to meat, but the possibilities are endless. Tons of grilled sides pair well with your favorite cuts of chicken. Here are six ideas to get you started.
1. Mexican Street Corn
Corn is a terrific summertime dish. When you go to a cookout, you expect to see classics like corn on the cob. Take this iconic dish and enhance the flavor profile by making Mexican street corn or elote.
For this recipe, you’ll need ears of corn with mayonnaise, cotija cheese, cayenne pepper, garlic and cilantro. You can leave the corn husks on if you’d like. Removing them makes the corn cook faster on the grill.
Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Oil the ears of corn and cook them for about 10–12 minutes or until each side has blackened.
While the corn is grilling, create your sauce by mixing mayo, cayenne pepper, garlic and cilantro. When the corn is done, brush the ears with the sauce and sprinkle cotija cheese.
2. Veggie Skewers
Skewers or kabobs are excellent for grilling because you can customize them however you like. Pair your chicken with grilled vegetables because they reduce the risk of diseases and help your digestive system.
The vegetables are entirely up to you. For this particular recipe, grab zucchini, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and red onion. Enhance the flavor by making a marinade with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, honey, minced garlic and mustard.
Cut the vegetables into bite-sized pieces and marinate them for at least two hours. For best results, marinate them overnight.
When you’re ready to cook, preheat the grill to medium heat. Organize your vegetables on the skewers and customize them for your guests. Grill the veggies for about 10 minutes or until tender.
3. Baked Potato
Another customizable side dish for your chicken is a grilled baked potato. Typically, you’d stick these in the oven, but you can get incredible flavors from your spuds by grilling them. Potatoes are nutrient-dense with vitamin C and other essential vitamins and minerals, so throw a few on the grill with your chicken.
You’ll need aluminum foil, olive oil and salt for grilled baked potatoes. When finished, you can add whatever toppings you like — sour cream, bacon bits, green onions and more.
First, wash your potatoes and poke holes around them with a fork. Brush each spud with olive oil and wrap them in foil. Repeat the poking process with the foil.
Preheat the grill to medium-high and place the foil on direct heat. You’ll need about 30 minutes per side. Use a food thermometer and remove the potatoes when they reach about 210° Fahrenheit internally. While hot, split the potato, and add butter and your favorite toppings.
4. Crab and Cheese Rolls
How can you take a trip to the Chesapeake Bay without leaving your home? Toss some crab on the grill. Try this creamy crab and cheese roll recipe combining seafood delight and warm, flaky pastries. You’ll need cream cheese, crab meat, olives, chives, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese and three tubes of crescent rolls.
First, mix the crab, olive, chives and cream cheese in a bowl. Lay out the uncooked crescent rolls and spread the cream cheese mixture onto the dough. Sprinkle both kinds of cheese on top of the mix. Roll up each crescent and place it onto a cast-iron skillet.
Preheat your grill to medium heat. Ensure the crescent rolls are on indirect heat so you don’t burn them. Cook the rolls for about 12 minutes or until golden. These cook on any grill, but a pellet is terrific for grilling bread.
5. Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus
Picky kids’ mouths don’t usually water for vegetables. How can you get your children to eat more asparagus? This vegetable is high in fiber and vitamin A, so it’s a great addition to your diet. The answer is to wrap it in bacon.
You’ll only need asparagus spears, bacon strips, black pepper and cooking spray. Cut each bacon slice in half — you’ll need two pieces of asparagus for each slice of bacon.
Apply the cooking spray to wax paper and lay your asparagus on it. Grind fresh black pepper over the vegetables and wrap bacon around each piece. Cook the asparagus pieces over direct heat for about five minutes per side, or until the veggies are tender and the bacon is crispy.
Now, it’s time for dessert. Take a typically cold treat and throw it on the grill. No, it’s not ice cream — try this mouthwatering grilled watermelon recipe. Grilled watermelon may be unconventional, but it has sweet and smoky flavors that satisfy many.
You only need thick watermelon wedges, salt, sugar, lime zest and oil for the grill. Preheat the grill to high heat and lubricate the grates with a high-heat oil, such as vegetable oil. Mix the lime zest, salt and sugar to make your seasoning, and sprinkle it on both sides of the watermelon slices. Let them sit for about 10 minutes.
Place each watermelon slice on direct heat for about two minutes per side. Watermelon doesn’t take long, so be careful not to burn it. When complete, add a pinch of salt to the watermelon slices. Optionally, add even more flavor with cilantro and lime juice.
Finding Tasty Pairs for Chicken
Chicken is one of the most versatile meats, so numerous side options pair perfectly. Grilled vegetables are an excellent choice because the grill brings out the best in them. Give the grilled crab and cheese rolls and watermelon a try, too.