20 Best Barbecue Side Dishes—Because It's Not Just About the Meat

Crispy Andouille Hush Puppies
Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez

So you're hosting a barbecue. Sounds like it's going to be easy and breezy, right? Wrong. Even the most casual events require some planning and forethought. You spend so much time pouring TLC into that meat—the sides deserve the same treatment.

Complement your best 'cue with these staff-favorite barbecue side dishes, all with a savory, mouth-watering twist. Our barbecue sides transform staples like coleslaw and potato salad into side dish stunners. Try the crowd-pleasing Shout Hallelujah Potato Salad or Roasted Tomato Macaroni and Cheese, which offers a new twist on the classic dish. If you are short on time, whip up the family-favorite Rum Baked Beans; they're as memorable as they are easy to make. Going fork-free? Barbecue sandwiches are perfectly paired with our seaside-inspired, bite-sized Crispy Andouille Hush Puppies. From Crispy Potatoes to Grilled Jalapeño-Lime Corn on the Cob, these barbecue sides will ensure that guests clean their plates at your next backyard barbecue.

01 of 20

Rum Baked Beans

Rum Baked Beans
Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Rum Baked Beans

Prepare these baked beans up to two days ahead and bake just before serving.

02 of 20

Whipped-Cream Corn Salad

Whipped-Cream Corn Salad
Southern Living

Recipe: Whipped-Cream Corn Salad

This no-cook salad comes together with just 10 minutes of hands-on time.

03 of 20

Crispy Potatoes

Crispy Potatoes
Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Prop Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller; Food Styling: Katelyn Hardwick

Recipe: Crispy Potatoes

When roasting potatoes, be sure and don't crowd the pan. Overcrowding will result in steaming, mushy potatoes.

04 of 20

Best-Ever Succotash

Best-Ever Succotash
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Tina Bell Stamos; Prop Styling: Christine Keely

Recipe: Best-Ever Succotash

The ultimate summer side, our Best-Ever Succotash is just that: the best ever.

05 of 20

Quick Pickled Slaw

Quick Pickled Slaw
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Tina Stamos

Recipe: Quick Pickled Slaw

An easy alternative to the bagged stuff, this Quick Pickled Slaw sure will make your life easier.

06 of 20

Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Beth Dreiling Hontzas

Recipe: Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese

This classic dish belongs at every party.

07 of 20

Street Corn Salad

Street Corn Salad
Photo: Hector Sanchez; Styling: Caroline M. Cunningham

Recipe: Street Corn Salad

This corn salad comes together in a snap, so it'll save you if you've waited until the last minute.

08 of 20

Field Pea, Corn and Bacon Salad

Field Pea, Corn, and Bacon Salad
Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Cat Steele

Recipe: Field Pea, Corn, and Bacon Salad

This easy salad will find a regular place in your summer recipe rotation.

09 of 20

Golden Corn Fritters

Golden Corn Fritters
Southern Living

Recipe: Golden Corn Fritters

These nostalgic fried bites will be the absolute favorite at the family feast.

10 of 20

Roasted Tomato Macaroni and Cheese

Roasted Tomato Macaroni and Cheese
Victor Protasio

Recipe: Roasted Tomato Macaroni and Cheese

Use those fresh summer tomatoes for this grown-up mac and cheese.

11 of 20

Zucchini-Potato Casserole

Zucchini-Potato Casserole
Iain Bagwell

Recipe: Zucchini-Potato Casserole

Aside from pantry staples, you need just five ingredients for this colorful casserole.

12 of 20

Herbed Potato Stacks

Herbed Potato Stacks Recipe
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Prop Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller; Food Styling: William Smith

Recipe: Herbed Potato Stacks

A mandoline is key for getting extra thin, consistent slices.

13 of 20

Shout Hallelujah Potato Salad

Candied Jalapeños
Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Shout Hallelujah Potato Salad

Bragging rights for this flavor-packed, perfectly balanced potato salad favorite go to Blair Hobbs of Oxford, Mississippi, and The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook. Hailing from Oxford, Mrs. Hobbs probably knows a thing or two about making a side dish that is perfect for every tailgate and barbecue she attends. This recipe is so good because of the fresh ingredients Mrs. Hobbs throws in her bowl – Yukon potatoes, pickles, red onions, green bell peppers, celery, parsley, pimiento peppers – and that's not even to mention the variety of spices she adds. The ingredients combine in a unique salad that'll make your guests shout to the Lord in thanks and praises

14 of 20

Grilled Jalapeño-Lime Corn on the Cob

Grilled Jalapeño-Lime Corn on the Cob
Jennifer Davick

Recipe: Grilled Jalapeño-Lime Corn on the Cob

Fresh summer corn is delicious enough already; amp up traditional char grilled corn by fixing it as trendy "Mexican Street Corn." Add south-of-the-border flavor to buttery grilled corn with ground pepper, spicy jalapeño peppers, cilantro, garlic, lime zest, and lime juice. Because you will be preparing the corn without the Latin lime buttery mixture, we suggest you double the lime butter recipe and use the remainder with other parts of your meal – one reviewer said that she keeps it in her fridge to use for topping on fish, grilled pork, and vegetables. This Southern rendition of savory, finger-lickin' Mexican Street Corn is sure to bring a trendy cantina feel to your backyard barbecue.

15 of 20

Freezer Coleslaw

Chewy Chocolate-Peanut Butter Bars
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Freezer Coleslaw

Freezer coleslaws were a hit in all of our vintage eighties issues, and now we can see why. Make this sweet and tangy vinegar-based slaw ahead of time. With minimal cook time and a short ingredient list, this coleslaw is easy enough to whip up on a weeknight to prepare for the upcoming weekend gathering. After you combine the dressing with the shredded slaw mixture, throw it in the freezer for up to a month. Whether you're making it for a party, or just as a side to have on-hand for a weeknight family dinner, this versatile slaw will please the crowd. Just set it out 3 hours before serving – it'll stay cold and crunchy longer than most.

16 of 20

Bacon Deviled Eggs

Bacon Deviled Eggs
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer

Recipe: Bacon Deviled Eggs

No Southern get-together is complete without a platter of deviled eggs, and there are endless ways to make them. This bacon deviled egg recipe is the best of both worlds – deviled eggs kissed with smoky bacon. One of our favorite make-ahead tips: place yolk filling in a zip-top plastic bag, and the egg white halves in another container (especially handy if taking to barbecue). When you're ready to fill egg white halves, simply snip a corner of the zip-top plastic bag and pipe away.

17 of 20

Zucchini, Squash, and Corn Casserole

Zucchini, Squash, and Corn Casserole
Photo: Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Zucchini, Squash, and Corn Casserole

This Zucchini, Squash, and Corn Casserole is the perfect side to make after a summer Farmers' Market trip. Soft, white breadcrumbs double as a feather-light binder and golden crumb topping. To make them, pulse torn slices of day-old sandwich bread in the food processor. Sprinkle the fresh breadcrumbs on top of a creamy mixture of summer squash, butter, onion, garlic, fresh corn, white Cheddar cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, and beaten eggs; top with Asiago cheese. This colorful casserole comes together in just over an hour. Bring it to a community gathering as a potluck side, or make a family weeknight meal of it, and serve it along with simple grilled chicken.

18 of 20

Classic Grilled Corn on the Cob

Classic Grilled Corn on the Cob
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer

Recipe: Classic Grilled Corn on the Cob

You can never beat a classic husk of grilled corn; this recipe will show you how to do it like the pros.

19 of 20

Big Daddy's Grilled Blue Cheese-and-Bacon Potato Salad

Carolina Blue Potato Salad
Photo: Jennifer Davick

Recipe: Big Daddy's Grilled Blue Cheese-and-Bacon Potato Salad

Potato Salad is the ultimate staple BBQ side dish, and this grilled version takes a Southern crowd-pleasing favorite to the next level. Grilling the potatoes in an easy-to-fold aluminum foil packet adds a subtle note of smoky flavor, plus it makes cleanup a breeze. Tangy vinegar, fresh parsley, red onion, and Dijon mustard make this potato salad perfect as a Summer barbecue side dish. Hearty flavors of blue cheese, bacon, and mayonnaise also make this delicious potato salad great for a fall tailgate. Refrigerate this dish for a few hours to serve cold, or serve immediately for a heart-warming side dish that guests will love.

20 of 20

Crispy Andouille Hush Puppies

Crispy Andouille Hush Puppies
Photo: Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Crispy Andouille Hush Puppies

Readers from the deep South will see the word "Andouille" in this recipe's title and immediately add it to their cookbooks, but for those who haven't heard of this spicy, smoky Creole-Cajun pork sausage, you'll want to see what you've been missing. These crunchy, savory hushpuppy upgrades are coated in a beer batter and deep-fried to golden perfection. Whip them up in 35 minutes using only a few ingredients – cornmeal, flour, onion, eggs, buttermilk, beer, and, of course, Andouille sausage. Bonus if you can find a homemade authentic link. Make sure that you serve them warm – keep them in an oven at 200 degrees until the party starts.

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