BBQ meatballs – just saying the words together evokes a mouth-watering image of sweet, succulent, lightly smoky orbs of deliciousness.
But wait! What goes with BBQ Meatballs?
Sure, there are many classic side dishes that come to mind – oven-baked fries or mac and cheese…
But what if you want to get creative with your plate presentation?
Let’s challenge ourselves to take these humble appetizers and elevate them into an impressive feast for family and friends.
Here we will look at twelve amazing recipes specifically chosen for their complementary taste profiles and stunning visual appeal – making everyone’s experience extra special.
Ready? Let’s dive right in!
What to Serve with BBQ Meatballs? 12 Must-try Side Dishes
1. Creamy Coleslaw
Creamy coleslaw is a refreshing, crunchy side dish that pairs well with BBQ meatballs.
This dish is made with shredded cabbage and carrots tossed in mayonnaise or vinegar-based dressing.
The dressing adds creaminess and acidity, while the cabbage and carrots provide crunch and sweetness.
This dish is best when served cold, so make sure to refrigerate it for at least an hour before serving.
For extra flavor, you can add chopped onions, celery, or even apples.
And if you want a little bit of heat, try adding in some diced jalapeños.
To elevate this dish, try using a high-quality mayonnaise or vinegar and adding in some fresh herbs like dill or parsley.
You can also experiment with different types of cabbage, such as red cabbage or Napa cabbage.
2. Baked Beans
There are few things as quintessential summer as BBQ.
Whether you’re throwing some burgers on the grill or smoking a rack of ribs, chances are you’re going to want some baked beans to go with it.
Baked beans are the perfect side dish for any kind of BBQ because they’re hearty, filling, and have a great flavor that pairs well with all kinds of meat.
The key to great baked beans is in the sauce.
A good baked bean sauce should be thick, slightly sweet, and full of flavor.
The best way to achieve this is to use molasses, brown sugar, and a variety of spices like mustard powder, chili powder, and smoked paprika.
These ingredients will give your baked beans a deep, rich flavor that will complement any kind of BBQ perfectly.
To take your baked beans to the next level, try adding some chopped bacon or sausage to the mix.
This will give them an extra smoky flavor that will really make them stand out.
You can also stir in some shredded cheese or diced onions for even more flavor.
3. Corn on the Cob
There’s nothing quite like fresh corn on the cob in the summer.
The sweet, crunchy kernels are the perfect addition to any BBQ.
And while corn on the cob is delicious on its own, there are a few ways to elevate this classic side dish.
For starters, you can add some flavor to your corn by brushing it with a flavorful butter or oil before grilling.
This will help the kernels to caramelize and develop a deeper flavor.
You can also try adding some spice by sprinkling on some chili powder, cumin, or smoked paprika before grilling.
If you’re looking for something a bit more substantial, you can try topping your grilled corn with shredded cheese, diced avocado, or crumbled bacon.
All of these toppings will add a delicious richness to the dish.
4. Roasted Potatoes
There’s nothing quite like the taste of roasted potato.
The skin is crispy and salty, while the inside is fluffy and full of flavor.
Roasted potatoes are the perfect side dish for any meal, but they can also be enjoyed as a snack on their own.
The key to making the perfect roasted potato is all in preparation.
First, you’ll want to choose a good-quality potato.
For best results, look for potatoes that are firm and free of blemishes.
Next, you’ll need to wash your potatoes and cut them into evenly-sized pieces.
If you’re looking for extra flavor, you can add some herbs or spices to the mix before roasting.
Once your potatoes are ready to go, it’s time to get cooking.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
Spread your potatoes out on the baking sheet and roast for 20-30 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy.
5. Macaroni and Cheese
There’s no denying that macaroni and cheese is classic comfort food.
The creamy sauce and hearty pasta make it a filling dish, and its simplicity means that it’s easy to prepare.
But just because mac and cheese are a classic doesn’t mean that it can’t be improved upon.
Here are some tips on how to elevate this dish and make it even more delicious.
First, don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of cheese.
A sharp cheddar will give the dish a nice bite, while a creamier cheese-like brie will make the sauce even richer.
You can also mix in some other flavors, like garlic or herbs, to give the dish more depth of flavor.
Second, pay attention to the texture of your mac and cheese.
The sauce should be smooth and velvety, not grainy or watery.
And the pasta should be cooked al dente so that it retains some of its bites.
Finally, don’t be afraid to get creative with your toppings.
A simple sprinkle of breadcrumbs can add a nice crunch, or you could go all out and top your mac and cheese with bacon or lobster.
However you choose to dress up your macaroni and cheese, just remember that the key to a great dish is in the quality of the ingredients.
Use good cheese, cook the pasta properly, and let your creativity run wild.
6. Green Salad
A green salad is the perfect side dish for any meal, but especially barbecue.
The taste and texture of a green salad are light and refreshing, which makes it the perfect accompaniment to heavier dishes like barbecue.
There are endless ways to elevate a green salad and make it even more delicious.
One way is to add fresh fruits or vegetables for sweetness and additional flavor.
Another way is to add nuts or seeds for crunch.
You could also add crumbled cheese or diced avocado for creaminess.
The key to making a great green salad is to use fresh, high-quality ingredients.
This will ensure that your salad tastes its best.
Be sure to wash all of your produce thoroughly and dry it before adding it to the salad.
If you’re using pre-packaged greens, be sure to read the labels carefully to make sure they are of good quality.
7. Fruit Salad
When it comes to summer BBQs, one of the best things you can bring to elevate the spread is a fruit salad.
A good fruit salad is all about balance – you want a mix of sweet and savory, with a variety of textures and colors.
Here are some tips on how to make an amazing fruit salad that will have everyone coming back for seconds (or thirds):
Start with a base of fresh, in-season fruits.
This could be anything from berries and cherries to melon and pineapple.
If you’re using fruits that are on the firmer side, like apples or pears, make sure to chop them into bite-sized pieces, so they’re easy to eat.
Next, add in some soft, creamy elements like avocado or diced mango.
These will help balance out the sweetness of the other fruits.
For a bit of crunch, toss in some chopped nuts or seeds.
This is also a great way to add in some extra protein and healthy fats.
Finally, don’t forget the dressing.
A light honey-lime vinaigrette is always a good choice, but you could also go for something more unique, like a passionfruit or mango dressing.
Just make sure not to put too much on – you don’t want to overpower the delicate flavors of the fruit.
8. Rolls and Butter
There’s nothing quite like a good roll and butter.
The taste, the texture, the way it just melts in your mouth; it’s heavenly.
But sometimes, you want to elevate this dish and make it even more special.
Here are some tips on how to do just that.
For starters, try using different types of rolls.
A nice sourdough or whole wheat roll can add a bit of flavor and depth to the dish.
If you’re feeling really adventurous, you could even try making your own rolls.
The next step is to choose your butter wisely.
While plain old salted butter will do the trick, why not try something a little fancier? Herbed butter is always a good choice, or you could even go for a flavored cream cheese spread.
Just make sure whatever you choose pairs well with the type of roll you’re using.
Last but not least, don’t be afraid to get creative with your garnishes.
A sprinkle of fresh herbs or a drizzle of honey can really take this dish to the next level.
9. Pickles and Olives
Pickles and olives are a classic combination that can be found on many appetizer plates.
The salty, briny taste of the olives pairs perfectly with the sour, tangy taste of the pickles.
The two ingredients also have contrasting textures – the olives are smooth and slippery, while the pickles are crunchy and firm.
There are endless ways to elevate this simple dish.
For example, you could try using different types of olives or pickles.
Or, you could add some fresh herbs or spices to give the dish an extra kick.
If you’re feeling really adventurous, you could even try making your own pickles or olives.
10. Potato Chips
Potato chips are classic American snack food. They’re salty, crunchy, and oh-so-addicting.
But did you know that there are ways to elevate this humble dish? Here are some tips on how to take your potato chips to the next level.
First, let’s talk about taste.
To really make your potato chips stand out, try pairing them with a dipping sauce or topping them with a flavorful cheese.
For a sweet and savory twist, top your potato chips with caramelized onions or crumbled bacon.
And if you’re feeling adventurous, try dusting them with a little bit of chili powder or cumin for a spicy kick.
When it comes to texture, potato chips can be either thick and hearty or thin and crispy.
If you like your chips on the thinner side, try slicing your potatoes thinly before frying them.
For a heartier chip, opt for thicker slices or even leave the skins on.
Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment with different kinds of potatoes.
While russet potatoes are the most popular choice for chips, red potatoes, and sweet potatoes also make delicious versions.
11. Iced Tea or Lemonade
When it comes to iced tea or lemonade, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, consider the taste and texture of the drink.
Iced tea is typically sweet and refreshing, while lemonade is tart and tangy.
If you’re serving iced tea, you might want to add a slice of lemon or lime for garnish.
If you’re serving lemonade, you might want to add a sprig of mint or some berries for garnish.
Second, think about how you can elevate the dish.
If you’re serving iced tea, consider making it with fresh-brewed tea or adding some fruit juice to give it extra flavor.
If you’re serving lemonade, consider making it with fresh-squeezed lemons or adding some sparkling water for a bit of fizz.
12. Cookies or Brownies
When it comes to after-dinner sweets, few things can compare to a freshly baked cookie or brownie.
But what if you want to take your dessert game up a notch? Here are a few tips on how to elevate your cookies and brownies so that they’re even more delicious than ever before.
First, let’s start with the basics: taste and texture.
When it comes to cookies, you want to make sure that they’re nice and chewy – no one likes a dry, crumbly cookie.
Brownies, on the other hand, should be dense and fudgy.
The key to achieving the perfect texture is all in the baking time.
For chewy cookies, bake them for just shy of the recommended time; for fudgy brownies, bake them for a minute or two longer than recommended.
This will ensure that your desserts are perfectly moist and delicious.
Now let’s talk about elevating the flavors.
One way to do this is by adding mix-ins to your batter before baking.
For cookies, try adding chopped nuts, dried fruit, or even chocolate chips.
For brownies, you could try adding a swirl of peanut butter or Nutella before baking.
Another way to amp up the flavor is by topping your desserts with something special after they come out of the oven.
A drizzle of melted chocolate or caramel would be perfect for cookies, while a sprinkle of sea salt would be lovely on brownies.
Whatever you choose, just make sure that your mix-ins and toppings complement the flavors of your cookie or brownie recipe – you don’t want anything to clash.
In conclusion, there are a ton of great side dishes that go great with bbq meatballs.
Some of our favorites include baked beans, corn on the cob, roasted potatoes, macaroni and cheese, green salad, fruit salad, rolls and butter, pickles and olives, potato chips, iced tea or lemonade, and cookies or brownies.
What’s your favorite side dish to serve with bbq meatballs? Let us know in the comments below.
Carrie is a food writer and editor with more than 15 years of experience. She has worked for some of the biggest names in the food industry, including Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, and Martha Stewart Living.
As the Editor in Chief of IntroChicago.com, Carrie oversees all of the content on the site. She also manages the team of contributing writers and editors, who help to create delicious recipes, helpful tips, and informative articles that you’ll find on the site.
A native of the Chicago area, Carrie is passionate about all things food. She loves trying new restaurants and experimenting with new recipes in her kitchen. She’s also a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, so she knows a thing or two about food!