34 Mouthwatering BBQ Side Dishes for Pulled Pork, Brisket, and More

Why should the main meat hog the spotlight? These barbecue sides are ready for their closeup.

BBQ side dishes - barbecue sides for pulled pork, brisket, and more (collards)
Photo: Jonny Valiant

A good cookout at a backyard party (with all those irresistible BBQ sides) is a great way to celebrate a graduation or summer birthday. But eating BBQ is also something you can do any time. Whether you know how to grill brisket or pulled pork, or you order a cooked Boston butt from your local BBQ joint, there's no way to BBQ wrong.

Side dishes for pulled pork (or any grilled protein) can include everything from the classic mac and cheese or potato salad 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.

Fortunately, these barbecue sides go with all kinds of 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, ribs, or tangy pulled pork? Try one of the following recipes.

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Creamy Potato Salad With Bacon

Creamy Potato Salad With Bacon
Con Poulos

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 dish. Crisp bacon provides a crunchy addition that brings this potato salad to the next level.

02 of 34

Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese
Sang An

This is about to be your go-to BBQ recipe for macaroni and cheese. Use a mixture of Gruyère and Cheddar cheeses for more complex flavors. The Cayenne pepper adds another layer of flavor that makes this barbecue side irresistible.

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Herb Potato Salad

Herb Potato Salad
Anna Williams

The secret to this unique recipe is lots of fresh herbs—tarragon, parsley, and chives. Toss the potatoes with the dressing while they're still hot to help them absorb the flavors. Bonus: You don't even have to peel the potatoes first!

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Collard Greens With Bacon

Collard Greens With Bacon
Jonny Valiant

In this Southern comfort food, salty, meaty bacon adds heft to healthy greens. Cook the sliced shallots and greens in the bacon drippings to infuse this side dish with savory richness.

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Mexican Grilled Corn With Cilantro

Mexican Grilled Corn With Cilantro
Sang An

While some grilled corn-on-the-cob recipes call for grilling in the husk, this recipe requires removing it and placing the corn directly on the grill. Fresh lime juice and cilantro are the flavors that bring this side dish to life.

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Tomato, Corn, and Red Cabbage Salad

Tomato, Corn, and Red Cabbage Salad
Paul Sirisalee

This BBQ side dish couldn't be easier: Just whisk together the dressing of oil, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Then toss it with the tomatoes, avocado, corn, avocado, scallions, and cabbage.

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Sliced-Tomato Salad With Dill Pickle Relish Vinaigrette

Tomato Salad with Pickle Relish Vinaigrette
Caitlin Bensel

This recipe turns jarred relish into a tangy dressing that brings out the flavor of crisp cucumbers and heirloom tomatoes. Add the herbs last. The dressing calls for honey, but taste the salad first before adding it; it might be sweet enough without it.

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Carrot-Apple Slaw

Carrot-Apple Slaw Recipe
Antonis Achilleos

You can prep this slaw (without the cilantro) up to a day in advance. The ingredients in this side dish include sauerkraut, which brings a boost of flavor as well as the beneficial microbes of fermented foods.

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Minted Watermelon Salad

Spicy Beef Kebabs With Watermelon Salad
Christopher Baker

Torn mint leaves and cool watermelon give this salad a refreshing taste. Meanwhile, the spicy grilled jalapeño peppers give it a counter-balancing kick.

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Wilted Sesame Spinach

Wilted Sesame Spinach
Greg DuPree

This quick and easy method also works well with Swiss chard, kale, or mustard greens. Tahini, maple syrup, and tamari bring a nutty creaminess to this unique side dish, which pairs well with a steak or salmon filet.

11 of 34

Southwestern Pasta Salad

Southwestern Pasta Salad
Greg DuPree

Toss cherry tomatoes, avocado, black beans, and corn with cooked campanelle pasta for a delicious side that can be made up to two hours in advance. You can spice things up by adding some thinly sliced fresh jalapeños or chopped green chilies to the dressing before blending.

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Smashed Cucumber Salad With Spicy Feta and Olives

Smashed Cucumber Salad With Spicy Feta and Olives
Jennifer Causey

This simple no-cook salad with spicy feta and olives makes an excellent side for a summer BBQ. Smashing the cucumbers creates nooks and crannies, where the dressing and toppings can soak in and add flavor.

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Green Beans With Bacon Vinaigrette

Green Beans With Bacon Vinaigrette
Gentl & Hyers

This recipe livens up green beans with a mustardy, tangy dressing that pairs perfectly with salty bacon. The flavors of shallots, vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper combine here to make you forget you ever disliked green beans.

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Beet-Radicchio Salad

beet radicchio salad

Christopher Testani

This colorful salad, which is full of antioxidant-rich ingredients, is topped off with a rich maple dressing that's spiked with savory miso. If you're short on time, use shortcuts like pre-cooked beets and already-shaved Parmesan cheese.

15 of 34

Charred Broccolini With Tahini Caesar And Crispy Chickpeas

Charred Broccolini With Tahini Caesar And Crispy Chickpeas

Jennifer Causey

The secret to this delicious salad is the creamy Caesar dressing, which is made with tahini, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, mustard, and garlic. (Well, you may decide the secret lies in the crispy, crunchy, roasted chickpeas.)

16 of 34

Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Pancetta

Top View of Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Pancetta Served in a White Bowl on Top of Blue Fabric, with Metal Spoon and Small Metal Bowl of Peppered Oil to the Left
Anna Williams

Recipes like this one make it clear why this vegetable has made such a huge resurgence of late. The fat from the salty, savory pancetta flavors the Brussels sprouts as they're caramelized—leading to a golden-brown exterior with an exquisitely soft center.

17 of 34

Spicy Street Corn Salad

Spicy Street Corn Salad in a serving dish with a spoon.
Jen Causey

This is a perfect dish to make if you're just back from the farmer's market with fresh corn. Cut the kernels off the cob and mix them with beans, arugula, and cotija cheese.

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Caramelized Veggies With Poppy Seed Dressing

Caramelized Veggies with Poppy Seed Dressing
Caitlin Bensel

For those trying to eat a healthy rainbow of veggies, this side dish will provide lots of colors. You'll boost their natural flavors with a dressing made with lemon, garlic, parsley, tahini, and poppy seeds.

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Spring Green Salad

Greg DuPree

To toss this unique salad, you start with romaine lettuce hearts and add chopped cucumber, snap peas, and edamame. Keep the green theme going with chives, mint, and pistachios, and it's ready to serve.

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Miso Roasted Radishes

Miso-Roasted Radishes
Greg DuPree

Radishes get a salty-sweet boost from miso and caramelized shallots in this easy, one-pan side dish. Include the radish's peppery leaves; they add yet another interesting flavor to the mix.

21 of 34

Summer Squash With Scallions, Chile, and Parsley

Summer Squash With Scallions, Chile, and Parsley Recipe
Greg DuPree

Not much work is involved in this flavorful salad, made from raw zucchini and squash (softened by vinegar and salt), parsley, scallions, and chile. Almonds give it an extra crunch.

22 of 34

Every-Citrus Salad With Almonds and Manchego

Every-Citrus Salad with Almonds and Manchego Recipe
Caitlin Bensel

This utterly unique salad (which features blood oranges, navel oranges, and grapefruit) is citrusy, crunchy, sweet, tart, and nutty. But it's the orange dressing (with maple syrup and Dijon mustard) that makes it unforgettable.

23 of 34

Little Gems and Radishes With Ricotta Salata and Seeds

Little Gems and Radishes With Ricotta Salata and Seeds Recipe
Greg DuPree

A trio of seeds—sunflower, poppy, and sesame—lend an extra crunch to this refreshingly crackly mix of sliced radishes and quarters of Little Gem lettuce. If that type of lettuce is unavailable, substitute romaine hearts, fresh Bibb, or Boston lettuce.

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Lemony Pasta Salad With Cucumber

Lemony Cucumber-and-Herb Pasta Salad
Greg DuPree

Fresh herbs, cucumbers, and feta adorn this pasta salad, which is drizzled in a tangy garlic-lemon dressing. This side dish pairs well with grilled chicken or steak. That said, you could also add tofu or chickpeas to make it a little heartier, and the vegetarians at your barbecue will have a main dish to scarf down.

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Zucchini Tzatziki Slaw

Zucchini Tzatziki Slaw
Greg DuPree

This simple BBQ slaw swaps in crisp cabbage and raw zucchini instead of the chopped cucumber that's typical of tzatziki. Top with pepitas (a type of pumpkin seed that has a sweet flavor similar to pine nuts).

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Sweet and Tangy Baked Beans

Sweet & Tangy Baked Beans
Greg DuPree

Sweet pineapple chunks balance the salty bacon in this boundary-breaking baked beans dish. Plus, you make this side in 30 minutes, so it's easy to add to a quick summer meal.

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Peach, Mozzarella, and Basil Salad

Peach, mozzarella, and basil salad on a white background.
Ngoc Minh Ngo

Tomatoes aren't the only fruit that pairs beautifully with fresh mozzarella and basil. This salad swaps in peaches, which are also perfectly in season around the time you're throwing outdoor barbecues.

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Tortellini Basil Salad

Tortellini Basil Salad Recipe
Jennifer Causey

This restaurant-worthy pasta salad combines tortellini, asparagus, watercress, fresh basil, and several herbs and spices in a complex and enticing mix of flavors. This is also a delicious way to add healthy veggies to a summer shindig.

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Mini Hasselback Potatoes

Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner

Hasselback potato recipes are hugely popular because of how fast they cook and how easy they are to make. And in the case of this recipe, it's because of how absolutely delicious they are.

30 of 34

Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes
Lisa Hubbard

Flour, eggs, cornmeal, and some unripe tomatoes are all you need to make this southern delicacy. They pair nicely with BBQ chicken but could be a nice side to any grilled meat.

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Spiced Rice With Crispy Chickpeas

Spiced Rice With Crispy Chickpeas Recipe
Caitlin Bensel

This sweet and savory dish features a host of healthy ingredients, including turmeric, the spice that gives curry its kick and has anti-inflammatory properties. Pistachios bring a nutty boost, while the dates sweeten things up.

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White Bean and Farro Salad

White bean and farro salad served in a white bowl.
Jennifer Causey

This hearty side is easy to assemble: Just toss some cooked farro with cannelloni beans, shallots, oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Save time by buying quick-cooking farro, and add even more heft by tossing in some shredded rotisserie chicken.

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Grilled Mediterranean Salad

Grilled Mediterranean Salad Recipe
Jennifer Causey

This pasta salad is a perfect vehicle to show off in-season summer vegetables. The pasta is coated with a balsamic dressing and mixed with crispy halloumi and fresh oregano. 

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Spanakopita Creamed Spinach

Spanakopita Creamed Spinach in a white bowl
Jennifer Causey

This rich and creamy spinach-and-onion side dish is brimming with interesting flavors from feta, dill, and nutmeg. It's a perfect pairing for BBQ chicken or ribs.

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