9 Perfect Sides to Serve with BBQ Ribs

Ribs, whether baby back or spare, are the kind of thing that demand total absorption: eyes down, both hands getting messy, not coming up for air until that bone’s picked clean. When you do come up for air, though, you want something delicious to eat before tackling the next rib in the pile. Behold, 9 of our favs.

1. Slow Cooker Collard Greens

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Collards are often cooked with smoked ham hocks, but smoked turkey drumsticks are a great substitute and yield more meat than ham hocks. Cleaning and trimming 5 pounds of greens is the hardest part of this recipe—after that, it’s easy. Get our Slow Cooker Collard Greens recipe.

2. The Ultimate Mac and Cheese

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What’s nice about this recipe is its versatility. It works beautifully as both a creamy stovetop dish with any sort of mix-ins you like, and as a crunchy baked mac ‘n’ cheese sprinkled with panko breadcrumbs. Get our Classic Macaroni and Cheese recipe.

3. Herbed Potato Salad

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The tangy herbed dressing (a shallot-and-Dijon vinaigrette wiht parsley, tarragon, and dill) cuts through the richness of BBQ ribs like a knife. Get our Herbed Potato Salad recipe.

4. Polenta

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If Northern Italians had somehow been the first to discover BBQ ribs, we’d all be eating polenta with our racks of baby backs instead of corn bread. Polenta is the perfect foil for the richness and complexity of a stack of bones. Get our Polenta recipe.

5. Baked Cheese Grits

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Quick-cooking grits combine with milk, sharp cheddar cheese, hot sauce, and eggs, then bake in a casserole dish that can go directly onto the table. Get our Baked Cheese Grits recipe.

6. Corn with Basil Butter and Flaky Salt

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Generously spread this butter on corn for a simple yet sophisticated dish that truly epitomizes summer. Get our Corn with Basil Butter and Flaky Salt recipe.

7. Easy Corn and Tomato Coleslaw

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Green cabbage, fresh corn, tomatillos, and cherry tomatoes: the perfect summer coleslaw recipe. A lime, garlic, and mustard dressing finish it off, along with a sprinkling of chopped cilantro. Get our Corn and Tomato Coleslaw recipe.

8. Spicy Jicama, Grapefruit, and Mango Salad

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Out of the box, for sure, but this tart, cooling, crisp, and refreshing salad is the perfect go-with for rich pork and multi-layered BBQ sauce. Get our Spicy Jicama, Grapefruit, and Mango Salad recipe.

9. Jalapeño-Corn-Beer Bread

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This spicy quick bread with pickled jalapeños is an interesting cornbread alternative. It has a dense texture that’s excellent for dipping in BBQ sauce. Get our Jalapeño-Corn-Beer Bread recipe.

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