Eat_Nopal objects to the universally sweet dishes that seem to get paired with barbecue. Baked beans, coleslaw, potato salad, sweet barbecue sauce, sweet tea–all full of sweet flavors, with little else going on.
Chowhounds point out that the aforementioned dishes don’t need to be sweet. Beans can be spiced and brothy rather than sweet, coleslaw and potato salad can be vinegary or mustardy, and barbecue sauce can be spicy rather than sweet. (Sweet tea is what it is, though.)
But there are other options. In place of starchy Wonder bread, you could serve biscuits, cornbread, roasted potatoes, polenta, or good flour tortillas. South Carolina barbecue often comes with a hash made from whatever is left of the pig–usually organ meats–chopped, spiced up, and served over rice. To cut the richness, kimchee, pickles, or big slabs of tomatoes work nicely. Fried okra, collard greens, and corn on the cob work as veggie sides, and how about wheatberry salad or bean salad?
Sweet is an important flavor in barbecue and Southern cooking in general, though, so don’t forget the freshly churned ice cream, watermelon ice, chess pie, fall fruit crisp, honey pecans, and coconut cake.