22 Best Barbecue Side Dishes

bbq side dishes collage

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A tasty side dish is well worth the extra few minutes it takes to prepare. Without stealing the show, a great side or two will really round out your barbecue and transform it into a complete meal.

We have put together a list of side dishes that will complement your meat dishes perfectly. Whether you’re looking for a side dish to serve with brisket, rib, pulled pork, or any other smoker recipe, you’ll find some great options for your next barbecue.

Delicious side dishes to serve at your next barbecue

1. Southern Style Coleslaw (both sweet and tangy)

southern style coleslaw recipe

If you have five minutes to spare, you can whip up our perfectly balanced southern coleslaw recipe. If you have bought pre-shredded cabbage, you probably only need three minutes.

Creamy, tangy, and just a little bit sweet, it is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. It is also versatile. For instance, if you have any coleslaw left over from the night before (which is unlikely, as it is so tasty) then pop it on pulled pork tacos.

Even if it was all gobbled up the night before, it is so delicious and easy to make, you might just find yourself whipping up another batch anyway.

Recipe: Southern Style Coleslaw

2. Smoked Baked Beans

smoked baked beans in cast iron pan

Baked beans are one of the best side dishes to accompany your BBQ spread.

They pair well with smoked meats, but one of the best things about baked beans with BBQ is how well they take on smoke. 

In this recipe, I’ll walk you through how to make smoked baked beans, and how you can customize them to be as sweet, savory, or spicy as you like.

Recipe: Smoked Baked Beans with Bacon

3. Smoked Mac and Cheese

Smoked mac and cheese

There’s no more decadent side dish to serve with your perfectly cooked barbecue than mac and cheese.

This version doesn’t require a dozen different cheeses you’ve never heard of (although you can totally use a few different kinds of cheese if you like).

Instead, you get the wonderful smoky flavor, and there are also some BBQ spices incorporated.

You can easily cook this in the smoker while your main protein is resting. Depending on how hot you can get your smoker you may want to finish it with a quick broil in the oven.

Recipe: Smoked Mac and cheese

4. Smoked Cornbread with Honey Butter

Cornbread with Honey butter

This classic skillet cornbread cooked on the smoker is a perfect side dish for ribs, brisket, or any barbecue main.

When your protein is nearly cooked, throw this cornbread together and put it in the smoker as well. It will be hot out of the smoker when you’re ready to serve up.

The honey butter would also be good with dinner rolls, and biscuits.

Recipe: Smoked Cornbread with Honey Butter

5. Smoked Green Bean Casserole

smoked green bean casserole

One of the most popular Thanksgiving sides, this Green Bean Casserole can play the supporting act for any barbecue feast.

Cooked on the smoker for extra flavor, and topped with fried onions from scratch for an extra hit of texture and flavor.

Recipe: Smoked Green Bean Casserole

6. The Best Pasta Salad for BBQ

Pasta

This is a truly versatile side dish to have in your repertoire, just stick with homemade garlic vinaigrette and you can’t go wrong.

Choose the shape of pasta you want, throw in some veges, don’t have cucumber but asparagus, that will do, green olives not black will work as well, as for cheese, mozzarella, feta, or cheddar they’re all delicious.

And the great thing about this pasta salad is it can sit for a day or two and only gets better with age.

Recipe: The Best Pasta Salad for BBQ

7. Garlic and Rosemary Smoked Potatoes

smoked potatoes with garlic and rosemary

Potatoes, are they not the perfect side dish?

This classic combination of potatoes, garlic, rosemary, and parmesan cheese is enhanced when smoked with fruitwood.

No more average old roast potatoes.

Recipe: Garlic and Rosemary Smoked Potatoes

8. Smoked Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

smoked balsamic brussels sprouts

This is a twist on a viral potato recipe where we wrapped out the potatoes for Brussels sprouts.

These mouth-watering balsamic Brussels sprouts are a perfect blend of smoky goodness and zesty balsamic vinegar.

Recipe: Smoked Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

9. Grilled Caesar Salad

grilled caesar salad

Fancy a smoky twist on the classic Caesar salad?

This recipe reimagines the traditional creamy, tangy, and crunchy salad by introducing a delightful char to the romaine lettuce, enhancing its flavors with a homemade dressing, and topping it with freshly made croutons and Parmesan.

Recipe: Grilled Caesar Salad

10. Smoked Cabbage With Bacon Butter Sauce

smoked cabbage with bacon butter sauce

These smoked cabbage quarters make for a great side to serve alongside your main protein.

Topped with crispy bacon and drizzled in a butter sauce, you can also enjoy them on their own.

Recipe: Smoked Cabbage With Bacon Butter Sauce

11. Smoked Garlic Mashed Potatoes

smoked garlic mashed potatoes plated with a wooden serving spoon

We think the best way to make smoked mashed potatoes is to smoke the potatoes first, then mash ’em.

This is a creamy, smoky, and delicious side for any barbecue.

Recipe: Smoked Garlic Mashed Potatoes

12. The Best Macaroni Salad for BBQ

macaroni salad in a wooden bowl with a serving spooin in it

Classic elbow macaroni meets the crunch of fresh veggies and the tanginess of pickles, all enveloped in a creamy, flavor-packed dressing.

It’s an easy-to-make and refreshing twist on traditional pasta salad.

Recipe: The Best Macaroni Salad for BBQ

13. Smoked Bacon Wrapped Carrots with Maple Glaze

bacon wrapped carrots on serving plate

This recipe elevates simple carrots into a smoky, savory side with the added sweetness of maple.

Wrapped in bacon and smoked to perfection, these carrots offer a unique combination of flavors and textures that go with any BBQ menu.

Recipe: Smoked Bacon Wrapped Carrots with Maple Glaze

14. Smoked Beer Mustard Potatoes

smoked mustard potatoes

This simple recipe transforms humble potatoes into a standout side dish, with tangy mustard and savory BBQ seasoning. A unique taste experience that complements any BBQ main course.

Recipe: Smoked Beer Mustard Potatoes

15. Crisp Apple and Beets Coleslaw

apple and beets slaw

Didn’t we already have a coleslaw recipe? Yes, but this crisp apple and beet slaw is different enough and well worth trying.

I think coleslaw might be the perfect side dish to go with any barbecue meal because of how well it cuts through rich, sweet, fatty meat.

This slaw recipe uses apples and beets for an extra fresh take on the classic creamy coleslaw.

Recipe: Apple and Beets Slaw

16. Crisp and Tender Smoked Sausage Stuffing

smoked sausage stuffing with herbs

It’s time everyone stopped making terrible, soggy stuffing. This gives you a double smoke helping with smoked bread, combined with country pork sausage and stuffing mixture, and then smoked again until nice and crisp.

This will go perfectly with your Thanksgiving turkey, but can just as easily go with roast chicken or any protein for that matter.

Recipe: Smoked sausage stuffing

17. Herby Roasted Potato Salad (because the more potato salad the better)

bowl of potato salad

Because it is such a crowd-pleaser, we had to include this much-loved potato salad.

Potato salads are usually rich and creamy, which is great, but this is a slightly lighter and zestier take on it.

The potatoes in this salad are also roasted, which gives them a whole different taste and texture that’s (in our opinion) vastly better than standard boiled potatoes.

Fried bacon gives this dish some wonderful rich crispness, and everything is topped with fresh herbs to keep it light and fragrant.

Recipe: Herby Roasted Potato Salad

18. Celery and Parmesan Salad

Celery and Parmesan Salad

If you don’t want to spend a lot of time on your side dishes, this celery and parmesan salad will be a perfect choice, as takes just 10 minutes to make.

While the recipe is simple, the taste is far more complex. Fresh and crispy, this salad pairs perfectly with poultry, steak, and seafood (for instance, cedar plank salmon).

For a more creamy version, just add some mayonnaise to the mix and you’ll be in salad heaven.

Recipe: Celery and Parmesan Salad

19. BBQ Corn Ribs

smoked corn ribs

If you’re a fan of the flavors of Mexican Esquite, you are going to love these curly smoked corn ribs.

Cooked with a combination of melted butter and spices and then topped with cilantro, fresh lime juice, and cotija cheese, these corn ribs will be a tasty addition to your BBQ repertoire.

Also, the great thing about these corn ribs is you can smoke them alongside other dishes to save time.

Recipe: BBQ Corn Ribs

20. Mexican Grilled Corn

mexican style grilled corn

This is one of the simplest side dishes you can make. And once you’ve tried grilled corn there’s no going back.

Butter your corn and then season with a rub of cumin, garlic powder, chili, and paprika then pop it on your grill, once cooked add a nice grating of parmesan and a spritz of lime juice.

Sweet, juicy corn just got even better.

Recipe: Mexican Grilled Corn

21. Loaded Potato Salad

loaded baked potato salad next to bbq ribs

If a potato salad and a loaded baked potato had a love child it would look like this!

Pillowy potatoes, creamy mayo dressing, and wham, grated cheddar, crispy bacon, and green onions on top.

A match made in potato heaven.

Recipe: Loaded Potato Salad

22. Loaded Smoked Potato Skins

Next time you’re grilling a steak, throw these potato skins on the grill as well.

Crispy skin, creamy potato, filled with melted cheese and bacon. Sounds like a dream!

Serve alongside your condiment of choice for dipping, ours is sour cream, but ranch or blue cheese dressing would be just as good.

Recipe: Loaded Smoked Potato Skins

Wrapping it up

A great side dish rounds out a barbecue and adds light and shade to an otherwise meat-heavy meal. Most side dishes are quick and easy to make, and the ones on this list will perfectly complement any barbecue.

We hope you enjoyed this roundup of the best barbecue side dishes. If you have any others you would like to recommend, let us know in the comments section below, and if you found this article helpful, be sure to share!

bbq side dishes collage

23 Best Barbecue Side Dishes

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Author: Joe Clements

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Nutrition information is automatically calculated and should be used as an approximation only. If you’re worried you could always add a side of kale.

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2 Comments

  1. Terry Baudean/Gatlin says:

    love the reciept

  2. These sound amazing. Can’t wait to try some

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