What to Serve with Smoked Brisket: Savory Pairings for Your Next BBQ

Explore a variety of side dishes that perfectly complement the rich, smoky flavor of brisket to elevate your next BBQ meal.

Smoked brisket, a BBQ classic, is a dish that’s rich in flavor and steeped in tradition. But what’s the perfect side to serve with it? The answer is as varied as the methods of smoking the brisket itself.

The best sides for smoked brisket are those that can balance its hearty, smoky flavor. Think tangy coleslaw, creamy potato salad, pickles, or even a fresh green salad.

But don’t stop there. This article will dive in deeper, exploring a variety of side dishes that pair perfectly with smoked brisket, from traditional options to more adventurous ones. Whether you’re planning a summer BBQ or a cozy dinner, you’ll find the perfect accompaniment to your smoked brisket right here.

So, let’s get started.

Key takeaways:

  • Baked Potato Bar: Interactive, customizable, and versatile.
  • Baked Beans: Traditional, rich, and tangy-sweet.
  • Scalloped Potatoes: Creamy, rich, and flavorful.
  • Mac & Cheese: Creamy, comforting, and versatile.
  • Brussels Sprouts: Versatile, charred, and flavorful.

Baked Potato Bar

Baked Potato Bar

Creating a baked potato bar provides a versatile side dish that encourages guest interaction. Start by preparing large, russet potatoes, scrubbed clean and pierced with a fork for venting. They can be baked traditionally in the oven or on the grill wrapped in foil for that smokey depth of flavor.

Once they’re soft and fully cooked, serving comes into play. Guests get to build their own potatoes with a variety of toppings. Set out classics like shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, butter, crumbled bacon, chopped scallions, and freshly ground black pepper. Don’t shy away from lesser-used yet delightful toppings too: think salsa, diced avocado, cooked chili, smoked salmon, or sautéed mushrooms. Having a baked potato bar not only caters to varying tastes but also adds a fun, interactive element to your BBQ.

Baked Beans

Baked Beans

Baked beans are a traditional side dish for smoked brisket, offering a rich taste profile that complements the savory, smoky flavor of the brisket. When it comes to the essential components of perfect baked beans, the list includes soaking dry beans for a few hours before boiling them, adding aromatic and flavorful ingredients like onions, molasses, brown sugar, and your choice of spices.

Add ketchup and a hint of mustard for tangy-sweet flavor, and a splash of Worcestershire sauce for depth and umami. For an optional touch, some pitmasters incorporate commingled chunks of brisket into their baked beans for an intensified meaty essence. Over a low heat, aim to slow cook for two hours in a bean pot or Dutch oven, enabling all ingredients to meld together beautifully.

To round off the richness, balance it out with cornbread on the side, which adds a hint of sweet and a crumbly texture.

Scalloped Potatoes

Scalloped Potatoes

Scalloped potatoes hit high note as an ideal side dish to pair with smoked brisket due to their creamy texture and rich flavors that uphold the robustness of the meat. They’re cooked in a creamy sauce, spiced up with garlic and herbs of your choice – often thyme or rosemary.

Here’s a quick rundown of how the dish is usually prepared:

  • Slice potatoes thin. These will be layered, so make sure they’re consistent in thickness for even cooking.
  • Begin by making a cream sauce, a simple blend of heavy cream and milk, seasoned with salt, pepper, and minced garlic.
  • Layer the sliced potatoes in a baking dish – typically in an overlapping style for total cream coverage.
  • Pour some of your cream sauce over the first layer of potatoes, then repeat the process until your baking dish is filled.
  • Adding cheese such as cheddar or gruyere can introduce more savory notes, creating a more complex flavor profile.
  • Bake your scalloped potatoes in an oven heated to 375°F (190°C) until they turn golden brown on top and the potatoes are soft when pricked with a fork, typically about an hour.
  • Severe warm, ideally straight from the oven.

This dish complements smoked brisket deliciously by providing a creamy counterpart to the smoky, rich flavors of the meat. Friends and family alike will relish every savory mouthful.

Mac & Cheese

Mac & Cheese

No barbeque is complete without indulging in a creamy and comforting bowl of Mac & Cheese. Considered a classic side dish, it harmonizes perfectly with the smoky and succulent flavor notes of a smoked brisket.

The Harmonious Pairing: The creamy texture of Mac & Cheese dovetails beautifully with the robust flavors of smoked brisket. It serves as a palate cleanser, preparing your tastebuds to fully appreciate the smokiness of the brisket.

Popular Variations: Mac & Cheese can be tweaked to your preference. Those seeking a smoky flavor consistency may opt for cheeses like smoked gouda or provolone. In contrast, cheese varieties like sharp cheddar or Gruyere add depth to the dish’s flavor.

Boosts Nutritional Value: Coupled with a high-protein entrée like smoked brisket, Mac & Cheese contributes to your meal’s nutritional value, packing in calcium and other essential nutrients.

Easy to Prepare: Preparing Mac & Cheese requires minimal culinary skills. You essentially boil the pasta, create your cheese sauce from your selection of cheeses and milk, combine them and then bake until golden and bubbly.

Providing a cozy touch to your BBQ spread, Mac & Cheese as a side reaffirms its place due to its flavorful versatility and high comfort food score.

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are a versatile side that complement the hickory-smoked, succulent flavors of the brisket perfectly. These miniature leafy greens can be cooked in a multitude of ways to suit your guests’ preferences.

For a simple, traditional approach, tossing the brussels sprouts in olive oil, seasoning them with salt and pepper, and roasting them until golden is a great option. The robust, slightly earthy flavors pair well with the smoke-infused brisket.

Adding cooked, crumbled bacon to the roasted Brussels sprouts provides an additional smoky flavor that enhances the meal. Alternatively, sprinkle them with freshly grated Parmesan immediately after roasting for a cheesy, savory twist.

Grilling the Brussels sprouts is another fantastic preparation method. Skewer them after a quick blanch, coat them with your favorite barbecue sauce, and grill until tender. The charred, caramelized exterior and tender interior of the grilled sprouts will amplify the smoky taste of your brisket.

If you know your guests appreciate spicy foods, try tossing the Brussels sprouts in a mixture of sriracha, honey, and lime juice before roasting. This gives your sprouts a bite that will contrast and balance the rich flavors of the brisket.

Finally, remember to serve them while they’re hot for the best flavor and texture. Each of these preparation methods takes less than half an hour, keeping your focus on the star of the meal – the smoked brisket.



Coleslaw, when homemade, becomes a delightful mix of textures and flavors, playing the perfect counterpoint to the rich smokiness of the brisket. Prepare it with crisp shredded cabbage, preferably a mix of both green and purple for color variety, combined with carrots for a complementary crunch.

A tangy dressing brings coleslaw to life. Stick with a creamy mayonnaise-based dressing, accented with a touch of vinegar and a dash of sugar for a perfect balance of creaminess and acidity. Alternatively, use a vinegar-based dressing to add a element of tanginess.

For a unique touch, don’t forget to add in extras like finely chopped onions, jalapenos for heat, or even dill pickles for a savory twist. Toss it all together a few hours before serving – this allows the flavors to meld and the cabbage to soften just slightly, while still retaining its pleasing crunch.

Remember, coleslaw isn’t just a side—it can also be served atop the brisket, providing a cool, refreshing contrast to the warm, savory meat.

Corn On the Cob

Corn On the Cob

Fresh, sweet and incredibly flavorful, corn on the cob is a surefire hit at any BBQ party. While simple boiled corn on the cob is classic, grilling can add a beautiful layer of smokiness, matching the brisket’s rich flavor.

Begin by selecting fresh ears of corn. Look for husks that are green and moist and silks that are stiff, dark and moist.

For grilling, you’ll need to soak the corn in water before placing it on the grill. Peel back the husks without removing them, discard the silks, then pull the husks back up. This method also offers an opportunity to insert flavorings like butter and herbs inside the husk.

The corn is placed on a hot grill and turned occasionally, ensuring an even cook. Depending on the grill’s temperature, it typically takes between 15 to 20 minutes for the corn to cook.

Lastly, peel back the husks to reveal beautifully charred corn kernels. Serve them hot with butter, salt, and pepper or a specialty spread like chili-lime butter or garlic-parmesan. This tasty side dish offers a sweet contrast to the smoky, savory brisket and will be relished by adults and kids alike.

Dinner Rolls

Dinner Rolls

Soft and fluffy, dinner rolls are a must-have at any BBQ feast. Choose from either store-bought for convenience or homemade for an extra touch of love.

When choosing store-bought dinner rolls, opt for those that are light and have a slightly sweet taste to complement the smoked brisket. Popular choices often include Hawaiian sweet rolls or buttery brioche rolls.

If going for homemade rolls, the sky’s the limit in terms of what flavors you wish to incorporate. Whether that’s a hint of garlic and herbs or a dash of cheese for extra savoriness.

Serving warm, slightly toasted dinner rolls can up the BBQ game. A couple of minutes in a preheated oven does the trick. Spread a layer of butter on top while they’re still warm for that comforting, creamy touch.

Remember, dinner rolls aren’t just there to complement the main. They can hold their own too by acting as minibuns for brisket sandwiches or to be used to mop up extra sauce on the plate. The perfect roll is soft enough to soak up juice but sturdy enough to hold its shape.

Creamed Corn

Creamed Corn

Creamed corn is a decadent dish, sure to bring a much-appreciated southern note to your brisket meal. Notably rich and satisfying, it delivers a sweet and creaminess that complements the smoky and robust brisket exquisitely.

To nail down the best Creamed Corn, remember several crucial aspects:

Use fresh corn if it’s in season, as it greatly improves the dish’s flavor. Remember, the use of canned corn can also work in a pinch.

Don’t rush the cooking process. Cook corn kernels over medium heat with butter until they get slightly caramelized. It brings out an unmatchable sweet depth in the corn.

Adding heavy cream is a common step, providing a distinctly luxurious, creamy texture. The milk fat works to balance the inherent sweetness of the corn.

A quality creamed Corn doesn’t have to be made on the day of serving. Indeed, it can be prepared a day or two ahead of time. Reheat it slowly on the stovetop or in a slow cooker, perhaps with a splash of milk or cream for added richness.

To keep your guests on their toes, consider adding in some flavor enhancers. Smoked paprika, crumbled bacon, jalapenos, or even a splash of bourbon can work wonders.

Beer Batter Hushpuppies

Beer Batter Hush Puppies

Beer Batter Hushpuppies not only offer a satisfying crunch, but they also include a hint of beer flavor that pairs excellently with the smoky taste of brisket.

Here’s how to make them:

Collect all the necessary ingredients, including cornmeal, all-purpose flour, baking powder, egg, beer, sugar, and salt.

Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another. This creates a more uniform batter.

Then combine the wet and dry ingredients to form the batter. Remember, the consistency should be like a slightly stiff pancake batter to hold up when frying.

Heat the cooking oil to 350-375°F. You want it hot enough to ensure a crispy exterior and a fully cooked inside.

Drop tablespoons of the batter into the oil and keep them moving during frying to help ensure even color and cooking.

Once they are a dark golden brown, remove them from the oil, drain on paper towels, and serve warm.

This way, Beer Batter Hushpuppies provide a delicious and beer-flavored addition to your smoked brisket meal.

Baby Arugula Salad With Lemon Vinaigrette and Parmesan

Baby Arugula Salad

To create this refreshing side dish, first gather your ingredients: fresh, crisp baby arugula, and high-quality Parmesan. Pay attention to the vinaigrette, as a quality vinaigrette can significantly enhance the overall dish.

Begin with the parmesan. Rather than using a pre-shredded variant, opt for a chunk of high-quality Parmesan cheese. For maximum flavor, use a vegetable peeler to shave slices directly onto the salad.

Moving onto the vinaigrette, prepare this by combining fresh lemon juice, minced garlic, honey, Dijon mustard, sea salt, ground pepper and olive oil. Remember, the quality of the olive oil will impact the flavor of the vinaigrette, and as a result, the entire salad.

Finally, toss the baby arugula in the vinaigrette until it’s lightly coated, then top with the shaved Parmesan.

This salad is best served fresh, so it’s recommended to prepare it close to serving time. It offers a tangy and bright complement to the rich, smoky flavor of brisket. And not to worry if you have leftovers – the salad can be easily kept refrigerated for future use.

Crispy Smashed Fingerling Potatoes

Smashed Potatoes

To prepare Crispy Smashed Fingerling Potatoes, start by boiling them until tender, typically for around 15-20 minutes. Drain and let them cool enough to handle.

Next, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, smash each fingerling potato with the bottom of a glass or a potato masher until they’re flattened but still hold together.

Once the potatoes are arranged on the baking sheet, drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle generously with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. Feel free to up the flavor game by adding other seasonings, like minced garlic or fresh rosemary.

Then, roast them in a preheated oven at 450 degrees F for about 20-25 minutes, or until they become crispy and golden brown.

These smashed fingerling potatoes with their crispy exterior and fluffy interior make an excellent accompaniment to smoked brisket, offering a mouthwatering contrast of textures. Plus, you have the flexibility to customize the seasonings to complement the specific flavor profile of your brisket.

Remember that while these potatoes command attention on any BBQ spread, they’re best when served immediately. Once out of the oven, they should make their debut on your serving table without delay to ensure the perfect, crispy finish for your guests.

All the while, the savory notes of your smoked brisket will be waist deep in a perfect match with these golden nuggets of deliciousness. Enjoy!

Green Bean and Bacon Salad

Green Bean and Bacon Salad

To assemble this flavorful side dish, you’ll require fresh green beans, a few slices of bacon, a red onion, and a few staple pantry ingredients. Start by cooking your bacon till it’s crispy, then pull it aside and reserve some bacon fat. You’ll use this later, it’s the secret ingredient that takes this dish from good to great.

Next, quickly blanch your green beans in boiling water. They should be cooked but retain a bit of a crunch. Following that, sauté thinly sliced red onions in the reserved bacon fat until they become translucent.

Now it’s time to combine everything. In a large bowl, mix together your green beans, crispy bacon, and sautéed onions. Season it with salt, black pepper, and a splash of apple cider vinegar for a zesty kick. This salad is best served at room temperature, allowing the beans to soak up that rich, tangy flavor.

The combination of smoky bacon, crunchy green beans, the spiciness of the red onion and the tang of apple cider vinegar creates a refreshing and versatile accompaniment to smoked brisket. The hint of sweetness from the onions pairs perfectly with the robust flavors of the brisket, balancing out the smoky, savory notes of the meat.

Keep in mind this isn’t a typical lettuce-based salad that wilts quickly – it can sit out for a couple of hours, making it an ideal choice for casual BBQ gatherings. But be warned, it’s so delicious it might vanish quickly!

Moreover, it’s fairly simple and requires minimal prep, meaning more time to focus on the star of the show – the brisket. Remember, cooking is all about being creative so feel free to add your favorite ingredients like crushed garlic or toasted nuts.

Experimenting with flavors only enhances the meal and your guests can enjoy a unique variation each time they dig in. So go ahead, get those green beans and bacon, and start your culinary adventure!

Hasselback Sweet Potatoes

Hasselback Sweet Potatoes

For these, you’ll first need to choose medium-sized sweet potatoes for uniform cooking. Before starting, preheating the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit is important. Then wash and pat dry each potato before making thin, even slices across the top, each about 1/8th inch apart. But be careful not to cut all the way through, stopping about a 1/4 inch from the bottom to keep them intact.

Now, it’s time to add flavor. Start by brushing melted butter all over the potatoes, ensuring it seeps into the crevices. Follow up by sprinkling salt, black pepper, and a smoky spice like paprika over each potato. Don’t forget to get the seasonings right in between the slices for an even flavor distribution.

Next is baking. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil to catch drips and place your prepared sweet potatoes on it. Bake until the potatoes are tender and the slices have fanned out a bit, which should take around 40-45 minutes.

The final and optional step is finishing with a glaze. A sweet maple-syrup glaze goes excellently with the smoky and savory elements of the spice-rub. Simply mix equal parts of butter and maple syrup, about a tablespoon each for two potatoes, and brush the mixture over the potatoes in the last ten minutes of baking.

Serve hot right out of the oven, these delicious Hasselback sweet potatoes can be a side dish that’s just as good as the smoked brisket main itself.

Remember, precision in slicing and seasoning is key to make every bite of these potatoes an explosion of contrasting flavors and textures.

Roasted Sweet Potato Bites

Roasted Sweet Potato Bites

For a standout side, consider the option of sweet potatoes. Opt for a variety that is moist and sweet, like Beauregard. Slice into uniform small cubes, ensuring even roasting. Toss them in a bowl with a splash of olive oil, salt, and pepper for simplicity.

To enhance the flavor profile, add spices like cinnamon, cumin, or chili powder. Roast on a baking sheet at 375°F for about 25 minutes until they’re tender and slightly caramelized at the edges. Remember to turn the potatoes halfway through for even roasting. Serve hot.

One noteworthy variant includes drizzling the roasted sweet potato bites with a mixture of maple syrup and lime juice just before serving, enhancing the contrast of sweet and tart flavors.

Grilled Corn Salad

Grilled Corn Salad

Grilled corn salad brings together the smoky flavor of charred corn, the freshness of vegetables like cherry tomatoes and cucumbers, and a zingy dressing that ties it all together. The key components of this meal side include:

  • Grilled corn: The cornerstone of the dish, it’s recommended to grill the corn until slightly charred for an intense smoky flavor.
  • Veggies: Add bright color and fresh flavor by mixing in diced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and red onions. Feel free to customize to personal tastes or seasonal availability.
  • Dressing: An important element to unite the flavors. A simple combination of lime juice, olive oil, and a touch of honey can do wonders. Add salt and pepper for seasoning.
  • Herbs: Top the salad off with a handful of freshly chopped herbs, like cilantro or parsley, which adds an extra layer of flavor and color.

Once the corn is grilled and all the ingredients gathered, dice the veggies and mix everything in a large bowl. Add dressing and herbs, mix well and allow the salad to sit for a few minutes before serving, this will allow the flavors to meld together. Easy to prepare, this salad brings a refreshing contrast to the rich, smoky brisket.

Air Fryer Baked Potatoes

Air Fryer Baked Potatoes

Air Fryer Baked Potatoes will make a delightful companion to smoked brisket, possessing a crispy exterior and fluffy interior that complements the tender, robust flavors of the meat well. This delicious side dish is fairly easy to whip up.

Begin by choosing medium-sized potatoes for even cooking. Thoroughly wash the potatoes and pat dry, ensuring the skin is clean. To enhance the flavor, prick the potatoes a few times with a fork and brush with olive oil. Season generously with salt and desired herbs like rosemary or thyme.

Set the air fryer at 400°F. Arranging the potatoes in a single layer will provide the best results. Depending on the size of the potatoes, you can cook them for 30-40 minutes, or until the skin is crispy and a fork penetrates the center easily.

Remember, every air fryer can vary slightly in cooking times so always adjust accordingly. After cooking, cut a slit on top of the potatoes and fluff the insides with a fork. Serve immediately with butter, sour cream, or any other favorite toppings.

German Potato Salad

German Potato Salad

German Potato Salad stands out for its unique flavors and preparation. Traditionally, this dish is made with red or yukon gold potatoes, showcased by a tangy vinaigrette made from vinegar, mustard, and various spices. Unlike other traditional potato salads, it’s generally served warm, which makes it a perfect side dish for smoked brisket.

To start, boil the unpeeled potatoes until they are tender. Whilst the potatoes are cooking, sauté chopped bacon until it’s crispy to release its fat, then reserved for later. In the same pan, with the bacon fat, sauté chopped onions until they are translucent to extract their flavors.

Prepare the vinaigrette by combining apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, sugar, salt, and pepper. Once the potatoes are cooked, sliced and slightly cooled, mix them with sautéed onions, prepared vinaigrette and chopped crispy bacon. Flavor with fresh chopped dill or parsley.

Kitchen hack: potatoes chunks or slices will better absorb dressing flavors while they are still warm, not hot. This side dish can be easily prepared in advance, heated up before serving and is excellent for an outdoor barbecue or indoor event. The combination of savory, slightly sweet and tangy flavors is bound to create a harmonious balance with the rich and smoky flavors of the brisket.

Tips to perfect your German Potato Salad:

  • Choose potatoes that hold their shape well when cooked.
  • Adjust the vinaigrette ingredients to your taste. It could be more or less vinegary, sweet or peppery.
  • Add fresh herbs before serving for an extra kick.
  • Last but not least, don’t rush – let the flavors meld together before serving.

Grilled Broccolini Recipe

Grilled Broccolini Recipe

Starting by cleaning the broccolini, ensure to rinse off any dirt and then pat dry. Trim off the tough ends of the stalks.

Combine olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper in a small bowl, then brush this mixture over the broccolini. This not only flavors your vegetable but also helps to prevent it from sticking to the grill.

To grill, preheat the grill to medium heat. Place the broccolini perpendicular to the grates to prevent them from falling through. Grill for five minutes, then use tongs to turn over. Grill for another 4-5 minutes, or until crisp-tender and lightly charred.

While grilling, you can make an optional lemon-parsley vinaigrette. Combine lemon juice, shallot, Dijon mustard, honey, parsley, and olive oil in a bowl. Whisk it together and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle this over the grilled broccolini just before serving, if desired.

Remember, grilled broccolini are best served hot straight off the grill. If needed, keep them warm wrapped in aluminium foil while you finish preparing other dishes for your barbecue.

Next, let us introduce you to another great accompaniment: German Potato Salad.


What kind of bread do you eat with brisket?

Brisket pairs exceptionally well with a fresh brioche bun, ciabatta roll, or quality white bread, ensuring the bread is not too hard or crusty to distract from the tenderness of the brisket.

What types of side dishes would complement smoked brisket well?

Side dishes that would complement smoked brisket well include coleslaw, mac and cheese, baked beans, cornbread, and potato salad.

How can smoked brisket be paired with different types of beverages?

Smoked brisket can be paired with various beverages such as bold red wines like Zinfandel or Syrah, craft beers particularly those with a malty profile like Amber Ales or English Bitters, or even bourbon-based cocktails for an additional smoky layer to your meal.

What are some dessert recommendations that would round off a smoked brisket meal nicely?

For a perfectly rounded-off smoked brisket meal, consider serving a rich pecan pie, sweet peach cobbler, or a refreshing watermelon sorbet for an ideal combination of sweetness and brightness.