This Is The Most Searched BBQ Side Dish In The South

It's fresh, colorful, and not your usual BBQ side.

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Summer Barbecue

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While ribs, steaks, hot dogs, and burgers are typically the main attraction at a barbecue, the array of dishes served alongside are just as important (and are often the best part of a cookout, if we’re being honest).

Corn on the cob, potato salad, and baked beans are typically in the mix, but far be it from us to tell you that’s where the options end. In fact, none of those classic sides made the top of the list for what Southerners are searching for when it comes to summer BBQ side dishes. 

One side dish category did emerge quite popular, and that was pasta salads.

They're a great make-ahead side that travels well, and are wonderful served cold on a hot summer day, so we can’t say we’re surprised. And of all the Southern Living pasta salad recipes we created y’all favored one in particular. It happens to be a riff on a classic side dish, too.

The most searched BBQ side dish in the South is our Broccoli, Grape, and Pasta Salad, and once you taste it, we think you’ll understand why.

Broccoli, Grape, and Pasta Salad

Jennifer Davick

This Side Dish Has It All

Pasta salads, including this one, are a host’s dream. They’re easy to scale up or down depending on guest count, are easy to transport, and get even better as they sit and marinate. This pasta side dish is inspired by broccoli salad, with a dressing that mimics its tangy-sweet flavor and plenty of bacon crumbled into the mix.

Pecans add crunch to this creamy salad (made with mayonnaise, like any good Southern recipe should), but what really makes this dish special are the grapes. Juicy and sweet, they help balance the tang of the red wine vinegar in the dressing and the salty bite of the bacon.

Why Readers Love This Side Dish

Our Broccoli, Grape, and Pasta Salad is exactly the kind of effortless dish that makes hosting a barbecue a little easier. Even if you aren’t hosting, you might feel stressed just by what to bring as a guest. Nobody wants to lay claim to the dish that sits untouched throughout the party. You also have to consider so many variables when it come to side dishes, including how long the dish can sit out without getting soggy.

This recipe checks off all the boxes for a go-to summer side dish: Flavor, portability, and wow-factor. That’s why our readers return to it, again and again. 

“This salad is SOOOO good that I can eat two helpings in one sitting. Everyone in my family loved it. Try it and you'll be happy you did!” writes Southern Living reader Sherry Bartel. 

Aside from pleasing guests, another reader noted how well leftovers kept, serving them for dinner with grilled chicken the next day. And like many of our recipes, while you can follow the directions to the letter, you can also easily customize this salad to make it your own, like Southern Living reader Jenny McGurk who says she added feta cheese.

The other nice part about this recipe? It doesn’t require you to turn on the oven. Sure, we tell you to toast the pecans in the oven, but you can also do that in a pan on the stovetop, and save yourself from the heat. 

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