Barbecued ribs are a hearty entrée and need few if any side dishes, but for those less inclined to consume an entire rack alone, side dishes will fill out the meal. Some side dishes are more commonly served with barbecued foods of all types than other side options, but there are no limits to the possible sides you can serve with barbecued ribs.
Potato salad is a staple of many barbecue parties. It can be made ahead of time and in a large amount. The ingredients of potato salad vary based on different areas of the United States, but they all consist of boiled potatoes coated with a dressing. Eggs, pickles, onions or celery are added based on the personal preferences of the cook. The dressing can be mayonnaise, mustard or vinegar-based. Most of the time, the salad is served cold to soothe the palate from spicy barbecue sauces. Opt for the bolder flavoured potato salads made with mustard or vinegar to complement the flavour of tangy barbecue sauce covered ribs. For ribs coated with a dry rub, consider a mayonnaise-based potato salads which will not overwhelm the flavour of the meat.
Grilled Corn on the Cob
While barbecuing your ribs, toss some ears of corn in their husks until they have cooked through. Before cooking, soak the corn in water for 30 minutes to keep the husks from catching on fire. Corn on the cob only needs butter and salt and pepper for serving. Like ribs, corn on the cob must be eaten with the hands. This reduces the amount of utensils you need for your guests. Be sure to have some toothpicks on hand for guests to take care of corn kernels in their teeth after dinner.
A close cousin of potato salad, coleslaw consists of shredded cabbage with a mayonnaise or vinegar-based dressing. Shredded carrots might also be added for colour. If possible, chill the coleslaw overnight before serving. The crunchy cabbage will not get soggy and the flavours in the dressing will meld with the vegetables in the slaw.
Baked beans are another common side dish with all forms of barbecue. If serving barbecued ribs with sauce, add some of the sauce into the beans as they bake to tie the two dishes together with a unifying flavour. Recipes for baked beans range from opening a can of commercially prepared pork and beans to taking the hours to soak and cook dried beans. White beans provide a good base for baked beans as their mild taste will absorb the sauce flavours, while pinto beans add a slightly meaty flavour to the dish.