What Goes Good with Barbecue Chicken: Top Side Dishes for Your Meal

Discover a variety of sides that elevate barbecue chicken from a simple dish to a complete feast.

Key takeaways:

  • Sweet Baked Beans: Brown sugar, molasses, and smoked paprika enhance the flavor.
  • Rich and Creamy Coleslaw: Use cider vinegar and add fruits or spices for variety.
  • Smoked Mac and Cheese: Choose a mix of cheeses and smoke at 225°F for 30 minutes.
  • Buttery Cornbread: Provides flavor contrast, texture tango, sauce support, and heat relief.
  • Corn On the Cob: Add spices, lime, cilantro, or cheese for extra flavor.

Sweet Baked Beans

sweet baked beans

These beans steal the show with a blend of savory and saccharine notes, complementing the smoky tang of barbecue chicken like a match made in heaven.

Brown sugar and molasses give them a deep, caramelized sweetness, while a dash of apple cider vinegar introduces a bright acidity, creating a harmonious balance on your taste buds.

To add a layer of complexity, consider throwing in a pinch of smoked paprika or a spoonful of your favorite barbecue sauce—this not only amplifies the profile of your main dish but also weaves a subtle thread of continuity through your meal.

They’re just like jazz—improvisation is key.

Throw in some diced bell peppers or bacon bits for texture, and you’ll elevate a humble side to star status.

Remember, patience is paramount when baking your beans, as slow cooking deepens their flavor, ensuring every spoonful is loaded with soul-satisfying goodness.

Rich and Creamy Coleslaw

Balancing the sizzle of barbecue chicken, a tangy, creamy coleslaw brings a refreshing crunch to the plate. The cooling effect of the slaw’s mayonnaise base acts as a perfect counterpart to the chicken’s heat, offering a contrast in both texture and temperature. Opt for a slaw dressed in cider vinegar to introduce a welcome zing that cuts through the richness of the meat, or toss in a spoonful of sugar to play up the sweetness.

Looking beyond the usual shredded cabbage and carrots, consider adding unexpected elements like thinly-sliced apples for a fruity twist, or fennel for a hint of licorice-like sharpness. A sprinkle of celery seeds can introduce an earthy, slightly spicy note. Slaw’s adaptability allows it to conform to your palate: mix in a dollop of Dijon mustard for tang, or a touch of sour cream for extra indulgence.

Quick to prepare, coleslaw serves as an effortless side that marries well with the bold flavors of barbecue. Its color and vibrancy on the plate ensure it’s as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the taste buds.

Smoked Mac and Cheese

Fire up your smoker because this classic comfort dish gets a smoky makeover that’ll make taste buds dance. The trick is in choosing a mix of cheeses that melt well and have standout flavors—think sharp cheddar for a punch and Gouda for that smoky undertone. Don’t shy away from a touch of cream cheese for silkiness.

Now, the smokiness isn’t just in the cheese. A good hickory or applewood infuses each bite with a depth that oven-baked versions can only dream of. To achieve an irresistible crust, top it off with a sprinkle of panko breadcrumbs mixed with a little melted butter, giving you a satisfying crunch against the creamy backdrop.

Remember, the key to elevating this side dish is balance—smoke should complement, not overpower. Aim for about 30 minutes of smoke time at 225°F, just enough to let that woody charisma join the party without kicking down the door. Pair this with your barbecue chicken, and you’ll wonder how you ever did without.

Buttery Cornbread

Pairing your smoky barbecue chicken with a side that’s got a golden crust and a tender heart is a surefire win. Think crumbly yet moist; that’s the magic of cornbread. A pat of butter melting into its warm surface is a sight to behold, and each bite acts like a sponge for the BBQ sauce that might just escape your chicken.

Here’s the lowdown on why this classic is a match made in BBQ heaven:

  • Flavor Contrast: The slight sweetness of cornbread complements the savory spices from your barbecue rub. It’s like they were meant to dance together — and your taste buds get to be the dance floor.
  • Texture Tango: The crisp exterior contrasts with soft, fluffy interiors, creating a sensory delight that balances the varied textures you encounter with grilled poultry.
  • Sauce Support: Cornbread is often hailed as the unsung hero of BBQ plates. It’s excellent for sopping up extra sauce, ensuring no flavor is ever left behind.
  • Heat Relief: Got a little heavy-handed with the spice? A bite of cornbread cuts through the heat, rescuing your palate and prepping you for the next mouthful of that deliciously fiery chicken.
  • Versatility: Whether you like it plain, jalapeño-studded, or honey-drizzled, cornbread can be customized to suit anyone’s plate.

Bake it fresh and watch it disappear slice by slice—as it definitely will. Sometimes, it’s these rustic, homely additions to the table that remind us the simple things in life are often the most enjoyable.

Corn On the Cob

Slathering butter on smoky grilled kernels is like a high five to your taste buds. It’s the basic move. But why stop there? A BBQ chicken plate teeming with flavor begs for corn that can hold its own. Enter spices – think paprika or cayenne for a smoldering kick. Or maybe you’re all about the zest? A squeeze of lime and a sprinkle of cilantro can teleport you to a sunny Cancun beach.

Don’t forget the cheese. A dusting of grated Parmesan or, dare I say, a coat of tangy, melting cotija, can turn every bite into a symphony of ooey-gooey goodness. And for the ultimate twist, give that corn a quick char on the grill, accentuating its natural sweetness and adding a crispy contrast that dances alongside your barbecued chicken.