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15 Classic BBQ Sides to Elevate Your Grill Game

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With the 4th of July around the corner, it’s time to fire up the Traeger and serve up epic BBQ sides that will make your chicken, ribs, and burgers unforgettable. From tangy smoked beans to creamy wood-fired mac and cheese, these crowd-pleasing sides will have your guests raving all summer long.

How To Decide on BBQ Sides

As you start planning on all the wood-fired meats you’ll be smoking this summer, you should also consider all the flavor-packed side dishes to serve with. If you’re looking for the best sides for BBQ chicken for example, grilled corn or watermelon salad are great options. Not only are they both seasonal during summer, but they’ll add colors and fresh bright flavors to your main.

When deciding on BBQ sides, make sure to keep these things in mind:

  • Do they complement the flavors of your main?
  • How do they balance your main in flavors, textures, and colors?
  • How versatile are they?
  • Are they in season?
  • What’s preparation like?

BBQ Baked Beans


Traeger BBQ Baked Beans are the ultimate sidekick for your smoky, savory meats. This baked BBQ side is classic for a reason. With a sweet and tangy sauce, combined with smoky bacon, fresh onions, bell pepper, and wood-fired flavor it’s the perfect pairing for ribs, chicken, burgers, and more

Grilled Corn on the Cob


Corn on the cob is a summer staple and the perfect side dish for any BBQ. Before grilling the corn on the Traeger, coat it in Traeger Veggie Rub for an extra kick of garlic and herbs. Consider adding it to this elote-inspired corn salad to keep the corn coming.

Learn how to grill like a pro through our Traeger grilling guide.

Smoked Pasta Salad


Meat’s not the only thing you can smoke. This smoked pasta salad is the perfect side to elevate your BBQ feast. This wood-fired salad combines smoked mozzarella, salami, red peppers, tomatoes, olives, and pepperoncini with homemade Italian dressing and pasta.

Roasted Sweet Potato Steak Fries


Take your BBQ to the next level with wood-fired sweet potato steak fries. These thick, hearty fries are seasoned with fresh chopped rosemary and roasted to perfection. These crispy fries are the perfect addition to your BBQ mains.

Make sure to take these fries to the next level by pairing them with homemade smoked ketchup.

Classic Smoked Potato Salad


Potato salad is a must for any BBQ, but it’s taken to the next level when smoked over bold mesquite wood pellets. This is one of many BBQ sides that are welcome at any Memorial Day spread, offering a creamy and satisfying contrast to rich, grilled meats.

Baked Honey Cornbread Cake


Sweet, fluffy cornbread offers a delicious contrast to robust, savory meats taking your Memorial Day BBQ to a new epic level. The honey’s subtle sweetness enhances the flavors of your grilled or smoked meats, while the cornbread soaks up all those mouthwatering drippings. Get ready for a BBQ experience that’s truly epic.

Grilled Vegetables with Lemon Herb Vinaigrette


For a healthy BBQ sides option, grilled veggies are a delicious option. While this recipe recommends carrots, squash, peppers, and snow peas, you can swap any of these out for seasonal picks that pack a punch. For Memorial Day, try asparagus, sweet peas, or broccoli if you want to keep things fresh and fitting for summer.

Check out our ultimate veggie grilling guide here.

Traeger Smoked Coleslaw


For another vegetable-forward BBQ side, try out a smoked coleslaw (perfect to pair with your smoked meats). This isn’t your average coleslaw though – it’s packed with bold, smoky flavor that stands up to any meat you throw on the grill. With a perfect blend of crisp cabbage, tangy dressing, and that signature Traeger smokiness, this coleslaw is the ultimate sidekick for your grilled wood-fired meats.

So that you don’t overpower the tender cabbage with wood-fired flavor, smoke the coleslaw over mild-flavored pellets like cherry or apple.

Flatrock Parmesan Pickle Chips


BBQ sides often pull double duty as top-notch snacks and a snack that will also make into a unique side dish is parmesan pickle chips cooked on the Flatrock Grill. These crunchy pickle slices coated in bold parmesan crust pack a punch of flavor that’s tangy, salty, and downright delicious. If you’re feeling bold, put them on top of your burger in lieu of regular pickles.

Grilled Watermelon with Lime & Smoked Chili Salt


Take advantage of watermelon season by grilling slices of melon on the Traeger. Throw fresh-cut watermelon straight on the grill for 15 to 20 minutes to get those perfect grill marks. Then, hit it with a savory mix of salt and red pepper flakes, and finish with a squeeze of fresh lime. A delicious and unique fresh side to BBQ’d meats.

Smoked Macaroni Salad


Macaroni salad is a fan favorite for pulled pork or ribs, because of its creamy contrast to rich meats. And when you smoke it, you elevate this classic BBQ side dish to an epic new level. The secret to giving this classic side its wood-fired flavor? Smoking the elbow macaroni before combining it with your other ingredients. Just make sure to whip up some extra, because this savory side won't last long!

Roasted Peach Salsa


Another favorite fruit to serve up at your Memorial Day BBQ is peaches. To transform them into a delicious and easy BBQ side, try out our roasted peach salsa recipe. To get wood-fired flavor in every bite, roast the peaches, tomatoes, and jalapeños, on the grill grates before combining them in the food processor for your desired texture.

Summer Grilled Corn and Farro Salad


There’s no such thing as too much corn during summer, which is why we recommend Mandy Tanner’s grilled corn and farro salad for an easy and healthy BBQ side dish. If farro isn’t your jam, feel free to switch it out with wild rice.

Tater Tot Bake


A tater tot bake isn’t just for the big game—it’s also one of the best BBQ sides for your Memorial Day party. To make this wood-fired dish over the top, make sure to drizzle sour cream and bacon bits over it.

Bacon Wrapped Tomatoes

161023_Bacon Wrapped Cherry Tomatoes_RE_HE_M

You can’t have a Traeger list of delicious BBQ side dishes without including something wrapped in bacon. Not only is this bite-sized-side in season, but it’s also easy to cook in big batches. Just make sure to have extra balsamic dipping sauce.

BBQ Baked Beans

by Traeger Kitchen

Prep Time

20 Min

Cook Time

1 Hr
30 Min





We’re elevating a classic side dish and infusing it with our signature wood-fired flavor. This BBQ baked beans recipe is simple to make, and features smoky bacon, fresh onions, and bell pepper.

1 Poundbacon, chopped
1 Mediumyellow onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
4 (15 oz) cans of pork and beans
1 Cupketchup
2 Tablespoondry mustard
1 Tablespoonfreshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 Teaspoonkosher salt
1 1/2 Teaspoongarlic powder
1 1/2 Teaspoononion powder
  • 1

    Place bacon in a cold, large sauté pan. Turn the heat to medium and cook, flipping occasionally, until the bacon is crispy and the fat has rendered. Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the rendered bacon fat from the pan.

  • 2

    Add the onion and green bell pepper to the pan with the rendered bacon fat. Sauté over medium heat until the onion is translucent and the pepper is tender, 5-10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.

  • 3

    When ready to cook, set the Traeger temperature to 350℉ and preheat with the lid closed for 15 minutes.

  • 4

    In a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish, combine the pork and beans, cooked bacon, sautéed onions and peppers, ketchup, dry mustard, black pepper, salt, garlic powder, and onion powder, and stir well to combine. Cover the dish with foil.

  • 5

    Place the casserole dish on the grill grates. Close the lid and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened and darkened in color a little, about 1 hour.

  • 6

    Remove the beans from the grill and let cool for 15-20 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

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