Summer is officially here, folks! The weather is warmer, annual pool parties are in full swing, vacation time is around the corner, and a new style of Southern food is on our minds. Some cuisine just tastes better in the summer months – tomato pie, fresh sandwiches, and corn salads are just a few. However, there is one dish that rules above them all: ribs. This flavorful meal is a Southern favorite, especially during the summer. We love any excuse to host a barbecue, and the food that follows is just icing on the cake.

Perhaps it’s the soul-food quality of BBQ ribs or the tangy, rich flavor that makes the dish so appealing, and we wouldn’t dare throw a Fourth of July party without ribs on the grill. However, no main course is complete without the perfect side dish to complete the meal. What food is the ideal complement for BBQ ribs you may ask? Potato salad.

While we’re certainly not opposed to mac & cheese, baked beans, grits, or collard greens here at Southern Living, potato salad rules them all. Here’s why: most barbecue side dishes are served hot, just like ribs. Offering a cool and fresh paring for the steamy main dish is the way to go. When the summer heat tends to be overwhelming, your guests will thank you for the refreshing side dish.

Of course, the type of potato salad is entirely your choice; that’s what makes it so appealing. Eggs? Dill? Cayenne pepper? Toss in whatever ingredients you like, or check out some of our favorite recipes. Starchy potato salad served alongside protein-packed ribs is the combination you didn’t know you needed. When the stresses of hosting having you bogged down, potato salad is easy to make and oh-so tasty. Give it a try!