Skip to main content

Make the perfect summer meal: Our favorite sides for burgers

And one burger ingredient that you absolutely must try deep fried

Burger
amirali mirhashemian/Unsplash / Unsplash

We all love a deliciously juicy, straight-off-the-grill, steamy, meaty burger. To be sure, no other dish sings of summertime more than this beloved classic, and we can’t get enough now that it’s officially grilling season. But, just as no leading star is complete without her supporting cast, or no artwork complete without its gilded frame, no burger is complete without a delicious side dish.

These are five of our absolute favorite summertime sides that will perfectly complement your burgers this season.

Roasted tomatillo, corn, and black bean salad

Avocado, black bean, and corn salad
Keith McDuffee/Flickr

Some ingredients just take like summer. Corn and tomatillos are two of those ingredients. Mix these beautiful flavors together with creamy avocado, peppery chive, and zesty lime, and you have a burger side that will be the hit of your next barbecue.

Ingredients

  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 lb. tomatillos, husked and roasted
  • 2 ears of corn, husked and cut off the cob
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/2 cup scallion, diced
  • 1/3 cup chives, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Remove husks from tomatillos, cut in half and lay them on a prepared baking sheet.
  3. Roast for 20 minutes or until tomatillos are golden on the outside.
  4. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  5. When the tomatillos are cool, roughly chop into 1/2-inch pieces.
  6. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, including tomatillos and their cooking juices, mixing to combine.
  7. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Crispy potato wedges

Potato wedges
Engin_Akyurt/Pixabay

It’s hard to have an article about burger sides without at least nodding to the most famous of all culinary duos – burgers and fries. And while it’s important to expand our creative wings in the kitchen, sometimes you just don’t mess with a classic. While traditional fries are great, we absolutely love the heartier, beefier take of potato wedges.

Ingredients

  • 4-5 Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 415F.
  2. Combine onion powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Wash the potatoes completely, taking care to remove all dirt from the skin. If desired, you can peel the potatoes, but this is an optional step.
  4. Cut each potato into 1-inch thick wedges, dry completely with paper towels, and place in a large bowl.
  5. Drizzle vegetable oil over the potatoes and add the seasoning mixture. Mix with hands until potato wedges are thoroughly coated.
  6. Bake for 30-40 minutes, flipping the potatoes halfway through the baking process.

Tennessee onions

Tennessee onions
Adobe Stock

There are some who claim that macaroni and cheese is the perfect burger side. Others may make the argument for onion rings. Choosing between these two barbecue mainstays was impossible, so we went with a delicious compromise – Tennessee onions. If you’ve never had the pleasure of sampling this traditional Southern dish, your next backyard barbecue is the perfect time to see what you’ve been missing.

Ingredients

  • 3 large, sweet Vidalia onions, sliced into rings 1/4-inch thick rings and separated
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 cup butter, cut into small pieces
  • 4 ounces Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 ounces smoked Gouda cheese, shredded

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 9×13 dish and set aside.
  2. Place onions in a large bowl. Toss with thyme, garlic salt, Italian seasoning, mustard, paprika, coating the onions completely. Spread the seasoned onions into the bottom of the prepared dish.
  3. Drop the butter pieces over the onions, then top with both cheeses.
  4. Cover with foil and bake for about 45 minutes, until the onions are soft.
  5. Remove foil and bake another 20-30 minutes, until the cheese is golden and bubbly.

Cucumber and avocado salad

Cucumber salad
elenavah/Adobe Stock

While admittedly not your typical barbecue fare, this salad is incredibly tasty and a perfect pairing for a deliciously drippy, messy, greasy burger. The spice of the sorrel and arugula cuts through the fattiness of a good cheeseburger, and the refreshing cucumber cools everything down in the most exquisite way.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups red sorrel
  • 1 cup arugula
  • 2 cucumbers, sliced thinly into strips
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • Juice from one lemon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Pine nuts, for garnish

Method

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper.
  2. Pour dressing over the remaining ingredients, tossing gently to combine.

Deep-fried pickle chips

Deep fried pickles
Adobe Stock

Sure, you could always top your burger with ordinary pickles, but why would you when you can enjoy them deep-fried instead? This fun and crispy little treat is always a hit at barbecues and a cinch to make. Eat them plain, or pile them on your burger for an added crunch.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 large dill pickles, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds, patted dry

Method

  1. In a large pot, pour in enough oil for frying – about 3″ deep. Bring the oil to 375F before frying.
  2. While the oil is heating, whisk together flour, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk and egg, whisk thoroughly to combine.
  4. Working in small batches, coat pickles in flour mixture, shaking off any extra coating.
  5. Dip the coated pickles in the buttermilk mixture and then back into the flour mixture once more.
  6. Carefully fry pickles in the oil for 1-2 minutes, until golden brown and crispy.
  7. Using a slotted spoon, remove pickles from the oil and drain on paper towels.
  8. Serve warm.

Editors' Recommendations

Lindsay Parrill
Lindsay is a graduate of California Culinary Academy, Le Cordon Bleu, San Francisco, from where she holds a degree in…
How a taco stand won a Michelin Star
Taco stand gets top honor
Cilantro in tacos

Michelin Stars are not just for white table cloth restaurants and dishes plated by careful tweezers. As of now, taco stands are in the mix, as one popular Mexico City place just revealed.

Tauería El Califa León is the first restaurant of its kind to garner such honors. Call it another nod to amazing Mexican cuisine or a long-overdue celebration of street food. Whatever the rationale, the formality is significant for a restaurant hocking $5 dishes and operating out of a cart.

Read more
Don’t ruin your meal: This is how long to let steak rest
Just put the steak down and walk away.
Steak on a cutting board

There are many factors that go into cooking a delicious steak. After all, there are a lot of things to consider—a steak's cut, thickness, preferred cooking method, how to season your steak, and many other culinary tidbits. Arguably, the most important step of all, though, has nothing to do with seasoning or searing but simply leaving the steak alone.

If you've ever prematurely sliced into a cooked steak and been met with a pink pool of juices all over your cutting board, you've learned the hard way the importance of resting steak. The science behind this is actually quite interesting. Steaks, like everything else, are comprised of many, many tiny cells. These steak cells are each filled with delicious juices. When steak is cooked, these cells contract and run for an easy means of escape - the steak's cooler center. There, they pool together and wait out the heat. If a steak is cut in this step of the process, all of those beautiful juices will immediately run out all over your cutting board instead of staying inside the meat where it belongs. However, when given the chance to rest, those cells will revert back to their original shape and make their way back to their original places, evenly distributing throughout the steak. The simple step of waiting a few minutes before slicing makes the difference between a dry and flavorless steak and a juicy, succulent, tender one.

Read more
These are our go-to summer beers (and they’ll be yours, too)
These are the beers you'll want to drink this summer
Summer beer

When it comes to seasons, none is so eagerly welcomed as summer. Fall is met with enthusiasm to wear pants and sweaters and sip hot cider, winter is met with dread for the impending snow, and overall lousy weather, and spring is met with hope because the soggy, rainy months will make way for the impending summer. That’s the season we love. The days are seemingly endless, the sun doesn’t seem to stop shining, and there are tons of refreshing beer choices.

IPAs, pilsners, wheat beers, and everything in between. They all pair well with yard games, grilling, and afternoons spent sitting on a dock at an idyllic lake with our feet dangling in the water, hoping the summer days will never end.
The six best summer beers

Read more