BBQ Ribs are a popular American dish, even more so during summer gatherings. As soon as the weather warms up, it’s grilling season.
So, what do you pair with your ribs? Well, the best match to a savory meal is a savory side.
Just as ribs can be sweet, spicy, tangy, and more, so can the accompanying sides. There are tons of great pairings for ribs, including good old mac ‘n cheese, potato salad, baked beans, and even fried green tomatoes.
17 Savory Side Dishes to Serve with BBQ Ribs
If you’re wondering what to whip up with those ribs, here are seventeen delicious and savory sides.
1. Macaroni and Cheese
Loved by adults and children alike, a rich and creamy mac ‘n cheese pairs well with any number of dishes.
With or without breadcrumbs on top, the cheesy goodness goes perfectly with some sweet and savory ribs. Bake it to golden perfection to give it that matching smokiness.
2. Herbed Potatoes
Whether sauteed in a pan or seasoned and grilled, herbed potatoes are a perfect side. You know what they say, opposites attract.
Beautifully complimenting any sweet or spicy BBQ, herbed potatoes can be made to taste. Sprinkle on some salt, pepper, oregano, and whatever else you like, and cook them to a browned perfection.
3. Potato Salad
There are many types of potato salads out there, and they go stunningly alongside ribs. On a hot summer day, nothing goes better with warm ribs than a cold side
Typically made with creamy mayonnaise, the mild tangy flavor pairs nicely with spicy or sweet ribs. Add relish, mustard, paprika, and any number of choices to make it yours.
4. Baked Beans
What comes to anyone’s mind when it’s picnics and summer? Baked beans. A popular side dish for many foods, including ribs, baked beans complements the strong flavor of ribs.
Rich, savory, and saucy, baked beans are a perfect companion. Plus, they are easy to make. You can even add onion, ketchup, and any other spices/condiments you like to give them more flavor
5. Collard Greens
Ribs are a popular dish across the nation, but especially in the South. What else is popular there? Good old southern-style collard greens.
Flavored with smoked pork or bacon, collard greens are southern comfort food, just like ribs. Collard greens are a healthy dish and a great alternative to salads. The smokey flavor perfectly matches that of the ribs.
6. Grilled Corn
Nothing spells summer better than some ribs and corn on the cob. Grilled corn is another smokey side that beautifully compliments BBQ ribs.
Add some salt and pepper and simply sear them over a charcoal grill. They will absorb the flavor wonderfully, given an extra bite to the sweetness of the corn.
7. Classic Salad
You can never go wrong with a classic salad. Salad is one of the most versatile side dishes that pair well with almost everything.
On a hot summer day, some refreshing leafy greens could be what makes your BBQ party feel like paradise. The almost bitter, clean taste of lettuce will help cleanse your pallet for the next flavorful bite of BBQ rib.
8. Hush Puppies
On the topic of corn, hush puppies are another great side. Sweet and flavorful, this deep-fried side goes swimmingly with some ribs.
Crunchy on the outside, and moist on the inside, they have the perfect flavor, texture, and consistency to pair with any BBQ. Plus, you can use them to wipe up any left-over sauce, and who can argue with that?
Continuing the theme, cornbread is also great with any BBQ dish. Talk about soaking up all that great sauce, cornbread has your back.
Also slightly sweet, but less crunchy than hush puppies, this savory side is delicious even without soaking up any of the sauce.
10. Corn Pudding/Casserole
The last one, I promise. Corn casserole (also known as corn pudding) is yet another corn-based side perfect for any summer eating occasion, including BBQ ribs.
A softer alternative to cornbread, with gooey, corn-filled insides, corn casserole is a refreshing mix of sweet and savory. Don’t count on it to pick up any sauce though.
11. Green Beans
Another quintessential side dish, green beans are great to pair with any number of foods. Their fresh flavor and juiciness of them provide a subtle companion to the overwhelming BBQ ribs.
Just as BBQ ribs can take on many flavors, so can green beans, making them a perfect match. Whip up some green beans with parmesan sprinkled on top, in a garlic butter sauce, or just plain.
Another year-round favorite that is especially popular in the summer, coleslaw is light and fresh in flavor. Crunchy, juicy, and subtly tart, coleslaw pairs great with BBQ sauces.
Coleslaw is a refreshing partner that will also help cleanse your pallet and give you a bit of relief from the strong taste of BBQ ribs.
What list of sides would be complete without french-fries? Thick, skinny, salty, savory, spicy, you name it, french fries got it.
Crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, french fries are a great companion to BBQ ribs. This is especially true if you spice them up a bit with some garlic parmesan, salt, pepper, Cajun spices, or whatever other herbs/seasoning you enjoy.
14. Fried Pickles
Popular as a side and an appetizer, fried pickles are delicious alongside BBQ ribs or on their own. Juicy yet crisp, this dish is sure to impress.
The sour brine of the pickle compliments the sweetness or spice of a good BBQ sauce just as it does the buttermilk batter that coats it. Back to opposites attract, be sure to give this pairing ago.
15. Cheese Grits
Grits are another southern staple and comfort food. Add some creamy cheese on top and you just simply can’t go wrong. Just like with Mac ‘n cheese, cheesy grits go great with some BBQ.
Sweet, juicy, and now cheesy as well, they perfectly compliment ribs. A portion of comfort food for comfort food.
Yet another leafy green known for its semi-bitterness and palate-cleansing, broccoli is a perfect choice for a BBQ rib side dish. Subtle in flavor, broccoli has many ways it can be prepared, allowing for an even better pairing.
It can be eaten raw, steamed, put in a salad, or topped with cheese, butter, garlic, and more. A popular choice to pair with BBQ ribs is a broccoli salad made with lettuce or spinach, broccoli, and some smoky bacon.
17. Fried Green Tomatoes
A less popular cousin to the red tomatoes, green tomatoes are positively delicious when fried. Great as a side or by itself, this dish will go great with your summer BBQ.
Crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, and with a wonderful pairing of tart (the tomato) and sweet (the cornmeal breading), they offer a symphony of flavor that can only be matched by a delicious and savory BBQ rib.
Now that you’ve made it all the way through our list, you have hopefully found a side dish that sticks out as a companion for your summer BBQ. Each entry is just as tasty as the last, be it fried pickles, cheese grits, or coleslaw. It’s time to get cooking!