5 Fresh Twists on Old Backyard Barbecue Favorites

Burgers and hot dogs are the undeniable stars of any cookout menu. But every star needs a supporting cast to really make them shine. That's where these fresh ideas come in. Set the stage for a stellar cookout with these recipe upgrades for toppings, dips, buns, and side dishes.

Super Slaw It

Cabbage isn't the only vegetable that can be turned into coleslaw. Shred up other robust veggies like beets, jicama, kohlrabi, and carrots, and toss with your favorite dressing. Add-ins like dried fruit, nuts, sliced scallions, and sesame seeds will make your side dish a standout.

In a Pickle

From green beans to chili peppers, there's a world of pickled flavor that can be placed on those sizzling burgers, brats, and chicken breasts fresh from the grill. Take a cue from the classic Chicago dog and add a few pickled peppers or tangy giardiniera carrot rounds to your cookout sandwich.

I Dip, You Dip

Sometimes two really is better than one—blend two of your favorite appetizer dips to make one singular scoopable sensation that your guests won't be able to resist. Try guacamole mixed with spinach artichoke dip, guacamole mixed with hummus, or hummus mixed with French onion dip.

Bounty of Buns

While nothing says "classic cookout" like a sesame seed roll, a buffet of buns gives more options. Set out pretzel buns and rolls, mini ciabatta loaves, sturdy lettuce wraps (like Boston Bibb or iceberg), or even soaked rice paper rolls for seared tuna burgers or shrimp skewers.

Spice is Nice

The secret weapon to improving almost anything? Add a squirt of Sriracha to make taste buds go wild. Add it to some of your usual cookout menu items and condiments: ketchup, mayo, and yes, even mustard and relish.

Want more spice? Watch this video for easy Kansas City Ribs coated with a brown sugar and cayenne spice rub.