Turn those BBQ ribs into an unforgettable meal with these quick and easy side dishes.
Just the thought of some juicy and fall off the bone tender barbeque ribs makes my mouth drool. Whether baked, smoked, or grilled, these bad boys are oozing with so much finger-licking goodness.
When having a barbeque party at your place, make sure to provide your guests with three things. First, napkins – and tons of them, because it will be a messy kind of good. Second, loads of smoky barbeque sauce to dip the ribs in. Last, a few side dishes that will serve as a palate cleanser to the sweet and tangy flavors of the BBQ ribs.
But cooking loads of barbeque ribs for your loved ones is already time consuming as it is, let alone also thinking of a perfect side dish to go with it. Don’t worry, because that’s what we’re here for!
From Southern classics such as mac & cheese and cornbread to healthier options such as coleslaw and broccoli salad, we’ve got you covered. All you need to do is pick a few of your favorite side dishes below and your barbeque feast is all set.
So, let’s dig in, shall we?
1. Baked Beans
Tomato – based soups complement well with the strong flavors of barbeque ribs. This is why baked beans and other bean salads are some of the most popular sides of ribs.
2. Mac & Cheese
Ahh, mac & cheese. This cheesy and filling pasta is a classic side dish that works with barbeque ribs. Not only does its vibrant yellow hue look so good with the reddish-brown rib, but its rich flavors compliment the smokiness of the barbeque as well. Take your Mac & cheese to a whole new level by giving it a crunchy surprise: panko breadcrumbs!
3. Fried Green Tomatoes
Red ripe cherry tomatoes are the most popular of its kind, but we want to highlight its lesser-known cousin, for a change. Green tomatoes may be firm and sour, but coat them in cornmeal and fry them to perfection and you will get a side dish that tastes fantastic with ribs.
If you want to feel a little less guilty about devouring one barbeque rib after another, eat it with a light summery coleslaw. Picture this: crunchy green cabbage, juicy corn kernels, sour tart, and sweet cherry tomatoes, finished off with a light mustard lime garlic dressing. Now, doesn’t that sound like the perfect refreshing partner to savory ribs?
When eating barbeque ribs, you’ll want a sponge-like side dish to soak up all of that thick sauce lingering on your plate. This is why cornbread works so well with barbeque. But, cornbread is such a common side that some might find it too boring. If you want to make things more interesting, add some pickled jalapenos your cornbread batter to give it a hint of spice.
6. Corn on the Cob
You will already surely have a messy meal with your barbeque ribs, so why not take the chance and pair it with a messy side? Grilled corn on the cob is a classic, but you can kick it up a notch by slathering it with some herbed butter and sprinkling over some sea salt. It makes for a perfect summer side!
7. Corn Fritters
Here’s another thing you can do with corn. Corn fritters are crisp and brown on the outside and sweet, fluffy, and tender on the inside. Just like cornbread, it makes for a great sponge that can soak up all that barbeque sauce on your plate!
8. Fried Pickles
While it’s best paired with barbeque ribs, fried pickles are so good you’d eat them on their own! Who can resist that juicy, briny pickle coated in tempura batter and deep-fried into perfection? We sure can’t!
9. Green Salad
Sometimes it’s fun to get creative with your side dishes, but you also can’t go wrong with the classics. Sometimes, a simple green salad is all it takes to round out your savory barbeque dinner. It’s got everything you want in a salad: It’s refreshing, crunchy, flavorful, and healthy!
10. Cheese Grits
If you want an easy but satisfying side, go for baked cheese grits. The combination of cheddar cheese, milk, eggs, and hot sauce makes the casserole oozing with wonderful flavors. If you have it on hand, add some corn kernels as well for that sweet and juicy surprise.
11. Fruit Salad
Dessert with barbeque ribs? Why not? Barbeque ribs have a nice sweet flavor to it, so it only makes sense to pair it with another sweet treat. Serve a bowl of fruit salad with your barbeque dinner for a refreshing palate cleanser.
12. Sweet Potato Fries
French fries are undoubtedly yummy, but it has been the go-to side dish for ribs that the thought of it may not excite your taste buds anymore. But, if you still want to serve crispy, tender fries, why not use sweet potatoes instead?
13. Cucumber Tomato Salad
Cucumber tomato salad is perhaps the epitome of summer salads. It’s brimming with flavors and textures. You’ve got slices of fresh tomatoes, green peppers, cucumbers, and red onions, coated in a refreshing herb dressing. And, not only is it refreshing and nutritious, but it’s also super affordable and easy to prepare.
14. Broccoli Salad
Here’s another way to give a light contrast to your heavy rib meal: serve it with a side of broccoli salad. This dish combines broccoli, sweet and savory bacon, with a creamy dressing on top. It’s one of my favorite ways to get loads of healthy veggies while still being incredibly delicious.
15. Creamy Macaroni Salad
If you’ve got a hungry crowd, you’ll want to serve something tasty, filling, and affordable. Thankfully, there is one side dish that fits all these requirements: pasta salad. With a creamy and flavorful pasta salad, you can easily fill your guests’ tummy without breaking the bank.
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