13 Barbecue Sides That Are So Good, They’ll Put Your Brisket to Shame

On Memorial Day, there are two things we hold dear: our country and our barbecue. Like true patriots, we’ll fight for our right to all things smoky and good. A beautiful slab of brisket will bring tears to our eyes — and if you dare mention “Memphis” over some Texas ‘cue, be ready for an all-out brawl. But when have you ever gone to bat for coleslaw? For creamed spinach or potato gratin?

Our sides deserve better. After all, they whet our appetites for unholy amounts of meat to come. They get us from course to course, and just when we think we can’t go any further, they offer sweet, meatless relief. So this Memorial Day, let’s take back our sides and give our unsung heroes their due.

Image: Tucker

Lemon Dill Chickpea Salad

When we think of summer salads, it’s usually potato that comes to mind — but this weekend, we’ll give a little love to chickpeas. My Name Is Yeh spices hers up with zesty lemon and bright dill.

Image: My Name Is Yeh

Creamed Spinach

Love and Lemons subs coconut milk for heavy cream, which makes this barbecue indulgence totally healthy…right?

Image: Love and Lemons

Black Bean and Corn Salad

This summer side is a bowlful of seasonal goodness — no cooking required. Head over to Crepes of Wrath for the recipe.

Image: The Crepes of Wrath

Green Beans with Lemon Gremolata

Green beans get a bad rep for being bland and mushy — but if anything can redeem them, it’s an herb-filled gremolata that packs a lemony punch. Thanks, A Better Happier St. Sebastian!

Image: A Better Happier St Sebastian

Italian Potato Salad

Okay, okay. We had to do it. Green Kitchen Stories give the classic potato salad a fresh twist with cherry tomatoes and slivers of red onion.

Image: Green Kitchen Stories

Jalapeno Cornbread Muffins

These muffins are everything we love about cornbread in manageable, bite-sized form. Damn Delicious has the recipe.

Image: Damn Delicious


If you have any leftover muffins (yeah, right), cube them and toss them in Cookie Monster Cooking’s summery panzanella.

Image: Cookie Monster Cooking

Skillet Baked White Beans

So you had your green beans and salads. Now, it’s time for some fun. How Sweet It Is has a decadent, bacon-smothered baked beans recipe that will be the star of your next barbecue.

Image: How Sweet It Is

Sweet Refrigerator Pickles

Think of your pickles as the crown jewels. After all, they’re behind the bright, zippy tang that makes good barbecue glorious. A Farmgirl’s Dabbles shares her mom’s classic recipe.

Image: A Farmgirl’s Dabbles

Crispy Red Cabbage Salad

Coleslaw is usually the side no one touches — it’s soggy, limp, and drowned in mayonnaise in the corner of your plate. Do better this year with Green Kitchen Stories’ cabbage salad. Oranges and grapes add a sweet note, while red cabbage lends this dish some bite.

Image: Green Kitchen Stories

Heirloom Tomato Salad

Few things are better than a whole heirloom tomato — but this salad is one of them. Our friends at Tucker dress their tomatoes simply, with burrata and radishes, to make the most of summer produce.

Image: Tucker

Four Cheese Baked Rigatoni

You can’t do ‘cue without a solid mac, and How Sweet It Is does not disappoint. Rigatoni is an atypical pasta choice, but its ridges and hollow interior hold cheesy sauces like no other.

Image: How Sweet It Is

Brie Mac and Cheese with Ritz Crackers

Obviously, you could use another mac and cheese recipe. If you’re feeling fancy, take a cue from Half Baked Harvest and make your mac with creamy brie.

Image: Half Baked Harvest