16 Mouthwatering BBQ Side Dishes
You never need an excuse to barbecue. Sure, a good cookout and backyard party (with all those irresistible BBQ sides) are a great way to celebrate a graduation or summer birthday, but eating BBQ is also something you can do any night of the week, for any reason—including just craving some good pulled pork.
Whether you know how to barbecue or how to grill and cook your brisket or pulled pork at home or you order a cooked Boston butt from your local BBQ joint, there’s no way to BBQ wrong—as long as you have plenty of BBQ sides, of course. BBQ side dishes can include everything from the classic mac and cheese or baked beans to creative takes on slaws, such as a carrot and apple slaw.
The key is to pick and prepare side dishes that go with your meat of choice, whether that’s pulled pork, brisket, or BBQ chicken. Fortunately, these BBQ sides go with all of them; some even serve as good sides for ribs, though they may be best as pulled pork sides or dishes served with brisket.
For the best BBQ in recent memory, pick your meat base, then add on all the sides you and your family love and crave: Any of these BBQ side dish recipes will pair nicely with your favorite smoker-cooked meat. Best of all, most make great leftovers, so you can enjoy the flavors of your BBQ after the smoker is cool. Need something to pair with that smoky brisket or tangy pulled pork? Try one of these recipes for BBQ-ready sides.
RELATED: Sides for Kebabs
Tomato Salad With Pickled Onion
Use a variety of colorful, ripe tomatoes for the prettiest (and most delicious) results.
Get the recipe: Tomato Salad With Pickled Onion
Macaroni and Cheese
Use a mixture of Gruyère and Cheddar cheeses for more complex flavors.
Get the recipe: Macaroni and Cheese
Creamy Potato Salad With Bacon
Fresh herbs brighten up the flavor, while white wine vinegar adds a tang that balances out the rich mayonnaise and sour cream in this BBQ side.
Get the recipe: Creamy Potato Salad With Bacon
Creamy Corn Pudding
This sweet and savory pudding with the perfect just-set custard can be made up to 1 day in advance.
Get the recipe: Creamy Corn Pudding
Maple Corn Bread
Moist, fluffy corn bread gets its sweetness from pure maple syrup.
Get the recipe: Maple Corn Bread
Tangy Red Cabbage Slaw
You can prep this slaw (without the cilantro) up to a day in advance.
Get the recipe: Tangy Red Cabbage Slaw
Herb Potato Salad
Toss the potatoes with the dressing while they’re still hot to help them absorb the flavors.
Get the recipe: Herb Potato Salad
Collard Greens With Bacon
Cook the sliced shallots and greens in the bacon drippings to infuse this side dish with savory richness.
Get the recipe: Collard Greens With Bacon
Carrot and Apple Slaw With Raisins
This tangy slaw will help cut through rich, fatty meats and sweet barbecue sauce.
Get the recipe: Carrot and Apple Slaw With Raisins
This quick and easy method works well with Swiss chard, kale, and mustard greens.
Get the recipe: Wilted Greens
Chopped celery gives this salad a refreshing crunch.
Get the recipe: Macaroni Salad
Parmesan Pasta Salad
Toss cherry tomatoes, Parmesan, and chopped chives with cooked pasta for a simple side that can be made up to 2 days in advance.
Get the recipe: Parmesan Pasta Salad
Traditional baked beans in a ketchup-and-molasses sauce are a classic BBQ side dish.
Get the recipe: Baked Beans
Mexican Grilled Corn With Cilantro
Spruce up grilled corn-on-the-cob for your next barbecue with fresh lime juice and cilantro.
Get the recipe: Mexican Grilled Corn With Cilantro
Tomato, Corn, and Red Cabbage Salad
Use fresh raw corn kernels to add a juicy, sweet pop to this BBQ side.
Get the recipe: Tomato, Corn, and Red Cabbage Salad
Tangy Cucumber-Dill Salad
This simple no-cook salad—with tangy red wine vinegar and red onions—make a great partner for rich, smoked meats like pulled pork and brisket.
Get the recipe: Tangy Cucumber-Dill Salad