We here at Wicked Good Gaming have promised to bring you gaming takes hotter than leather seats in the summertime, but we also have a passion for a few other things… Well, really just two other things: food and beers. In addition to the typical gaming goodness you’ve come to love and admire (or maybe just tolerate), I’ve decided to throw in a beautiful side dish of a blog about, you guessed it, sides. The wingman of the meal. The pregame to the poultry, the sidecar to the steaks, the bedwarmer to the burgers. Sides can make or break a meal just as they can a cookout, casual BBQ, family reunion, picnic, or any other summertime gathering, and I’m here to break down the top titans of the table: The Top 5 Greatest BBQ Sides of All Time. Enjoy.
I’m just going to preface this by saying that there will be zero mayonnaise-based salads on this list. I understand that pasta and potato salad might be more synonymous with BBQs than family political arguments or sunburns, but to me they’re gross and theres just too many variables to make them consistently trustworthy or enjoyable. Enjoy your lumpy mass of white clay, I’ll be mowing on the real heavy hitters listed below.
5.) Ruffles with French Onion Dip
The first thing you see out at any BBQ worth mentioning. It’s on the tables as the grill heats up, and stays consistent throughout the day. Unmistakable, unwavering, undeniably amazing – you’d have to be a fool to ignore its presence on the table. Ruffles and French Onion Dip (or Freedom Onion Dip, if you wanna be that guy) is easily one of the most versatile sides in the game. You walk by, scoop a handful up, throw it on your plate. Put some between your bun and burger. Dip the chips in another side altogether. It doesn’t matter, Ruffles and French Onion Dip are the Cory and Topanga of the BBQ world. Your Tom Brady and Gronk. Your Jordan and Pippen. The list goes on, but the song remains the same: they’ve earned your love and respect. Next.
4.) Grilled Veggies
Whether you grill them alongside the meats on a kebab, or you’re letting them do their own thing in a nice little adorable tinfoil hammock, grilled veggies are delicious. When done perfectly, you’re looking at a gorgeous, colorful helping of juicy peppers, onions, mushrooms, asparagus, you name it – all capped off with just the right about of smoky flavor at the end. Unreal. And for the uncles out there rocking khaki shorts or New Balances who slow-cook their grilled veggies while the steaks are searing so that they can be served exactly at the same time, I salute you.
3.) Scalloped Potatoes
Oh you didn’t know?! YO ASS BETTER CALLLLLLLLL SOMEBODAYYYYYYYYYY!!! Scalloped. Potatoes. Baby. Whenever my mother would throw these together to take part in any meal, I’d find God all over again. Cheesy, creamy, and just a little bit crispy, scalloped potatoes have to be something that everyone (who participates in consuming animal by-products) can agree on. Its literally just mac and cheese, except take the mac out and throw little adorable potatoes in. Scalloped potatoes are like that cousin you grew up with that was closest in age to you that you always hoped would be around. You might not see scalloped potatoes at every BBQs, but when you do, you know its about to be very lit. Do yourself (and everyone you know) a favor, and pass along the gospel of scalloped potatoes.
2.) Grilled Corn on the Cob
If you’re thinking to yourself “Dom, shouldn’t grilled corn on the cob have been down there with the other grilled veggies?”, then maybe you should tab over to the WordPress homepage and start your own blog. Also I’m pretty sure corn is a fruit, but at this point I’m just shooting from the hip and can’t back that up with facts. Corn on the cob is no ordinary side, and there’s really no bad way to prepare it, except for like… Failing to prepare it in the first place. Personally, I have always preferred my corn on the cob to be grilled (not boiled) for many of the same reasons listed in the “Grilled Veggies” section. You could grab some tinfoil, but if you’re feeling adventurous just use the husk (aka, nature’s tinfoil, aka I just made that up) and throw it on the grill. When you peel the husk back you’re looking at a perfectly cooked, slightly seared, seriously sweet side, and that’s all there is to it. Pass the butter and salt, because its going down.
1.) Mac and Cheese
Is there a person on this earth (that isn’t a vegan) that doesn’t like mac and cheese? Its what your bratty little cousins screamed for instead of the meticulously prepared meal your mom made. Its what millions of college kids survive on in their dorms (aside from Rubinoff), and its got to be one of the most undoubtedly American dishes of all time. Everyone makes it differently, which is what makes this dish (and this country) so great. Different cheeses, toppings, homemade or store-bought breadcrumbs, with chicken, without, it doesn’t matter. Mac and cheese will conform to you, like a beautiful, edible tempur-pedic mattress (for non-edible tempur-pedic mattresses, see my comments regarding potato salad). Mac and cheese is a staple, nay, a pillar of human culture, and it deservedly is hereby awarded the Wicked Good Gaming Greatest BBQ Side of All Time Award.
There you have it. Five sides, five different unique offerings. None of them involve mayo (because, gross) and I’d argue that all of them are agreeable upon by most walks of life. That being said, what are your favorite sides? Yell at us on Twitter at @WickedGoodGames and let us know.