Throw some ideas my way for an informal BBQ

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Small numbers.. buddy just bought a house .. he wants to have me over to see it. I said I'd bring something.. lately I've been on a kick with making basil pesto.. but while it's been a huge hit I'm kind of tired of the same thing.

Any suggestions on an informal side dish that still has a pop and wow effect? It may just be my male side showing through, but I hate bringing things that "out-do" the other things at the party usually by women. It's like wearing a tux to a casual get together.. awkward for sure. This is just a general group.. so something more mainstream with a little kick would be great.
 
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Surprisingly my favorite side dish for a bbq is fried rice with an american twist.  I don't know why but it goes really well with bbq chicken, ribs, etc.  I make it by sauteeing and rendering bacon first then put it aside on a paper towel for later.  Then sautee diced onions, bell peppers, carrots, mushrooms, and peas.  Add some pre-cooked and cooled rice, soy sauce, and scrambled egg.  Toss in the bacon too.  It's not too chinesey because I use bacon and uncle ben's rice so it has quite a different consistency than the fried rice you get at a chinese restaurant.
 
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For a group like you describe I find bringing a selection of aps works well. Appetisers are something most folks don't think about for a BBQ. But they provide a little wow factor, without conflicting with the sides other people are bringing.

Plus, of course, they provide something to munch on while waiting for the coals to heat up.

Maybe use some of those gorgeous shrimp you caught the other day?
 
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Black bean and corn salad goes good with any bbq  dishes and goes well with everything else. Can also add chopped bacon bits and onions, bell peppers diced tomatoes, cilantro and anything else you think may go well in the salad
 
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Guacamole, Hummus, Mango/Avocado salsa are usually the three go-to ideas to accompany BBQ meats in our house. 
 
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Thinking of some side dishes that I see when I pick up BBQ. Mac n cheese, spaghetti, greens, baked beans, chili, etc. Maybe put your own twist on one of those. Pancetta and caramelized onion in the mac n cheese, or chili on spaghetti.
 
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Thinking of some side dishes that I see when I pick up BBQ. Mac n cheese, spaghetti, greens, baked beans, chili, etc. Maybe put your own twist on one of those. Pancetta and caramelized onion in the mac n cheese, or chili on spaghetti.
 
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Deviled eggs are always good and can be plain to fancy. Homemade baked beans are always a hit. How formal or informal do you want to go?
 
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I personally like the apps idea... I try to think seasonal... the asparagus is great right now... how about something simple and tasty, just par boil it, shock it, wrap in prosciutto di parm, the good stuff, ravor thin, YUM!!
 
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Tomato and corn salad

Endive Slaw

Three Cabbage Slaw with peanuts

Fatoush

Warm mushroom salad with pistou vinaigrette

cucumber mint salad

shaved fennel salad

Beet salad
 
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Thanks for all of the great ideas! I think I may have to make two dishes with all these options! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif
 
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Simplest recipe ever; garlic baguette.

First make a garlic butter; chopped parcely, garlic, shallot, s&p, pinch cayenne, butter at room temperature. Mix all together.

Cut baguettes in 2 halves.

Now slice them open and spread the garlic butter on them. Close the baguettes and wrap in aluminium foil. Few minutes on a hot BBQ, turn regularly, out comes some delicious crispy garlic baguette. Also delicious with some cooked snails (escargots) in them!

You can slice the baguettes from top to nearly the bottom (not all the way through), each inch and put the butter in the cuts. Same result but easier to share.
 
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Two suggestions, easy to proepare and everyone will be able to make it for their next gathering.

1. Lamb Merguez sausage. Grill on the BBQ, cut into 3/4" chunks. Should yield 6 bites per sausage.

Usually comes with 6 to a pkg. Stand alone (YUMM) or serve with Honey Bourbon Mustard.

Like having lamb chop, less expensive and less messy. About $6.99/pkg retail

2. Asparagus wrapped with crispy proscuitto. Serve with Preserved Lemon Aioli.(Diced Preserved Lemon and Mayo) 

I always keep preserved lemons and Mojo de Ajo in the fridge. Can do anything with these master sauces. You can prep the

blanched asparagus and wrap in proscuitto and then pan fry to crisp up proscuitto. Reheat on location or grill on BBQ
 
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Corn on the cobb with butter and cumin. Wrap in foil and throw on the BBQ

Nice surprise flavor.

When you have a little bit more to spend, try Petrone shots in Watermelon cube cups. Cub up the

watermelon and use melon baller to hollow out room for Petrone. You'll be the hit of the party!!!
 

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