When it comes to pork dishes, there is an array of delectable options to choose from. However, for me, nothing surpasses the mouth-watering and oh-so-delicious pulled pork experience.
Pulled pork is not only scrumptious but also an economical choice. Slow-cook it to perfection, and the tender texture will rival any expensive pork dish. It’s perplexing to me why some people overlook pulled pork as a main dish. When paired with the right side dishes, pulled pork can elevate any gathering, from a casual backyard barbecue cookout to an elegant summer dinner.
A Variety of Sides to Enhance Your Pulled Pork Experience
Determining the best sides to accompany your pulled pork can be quite a challenge. The ideal side dishes can range from sweet to savory, soft to crispy, light to hearty, and everything in between. These side dishes provide a refreshing contrast to the rich meat, creating a well-balanced and satisfying meal.
Cornbread is a timeless companion to pulled pork. The combination of these two classics is sure to please. The great thing is that cornbread is relatively easy to make, and you can have fun experimenting with different flavors. Consider trying jalapeno cheddar cornbread, a popular option that combines sharp cheddar and spicy jalapeno with the classic corn goodness. The savory and sweet blend pairs exceptionally well with pulled pork.
2. Sweet Corn Fritters
For a crispy alternative that even children will enjoy, opt for sweet corn fritters. These golden, deep-fried balls of sweet corn goodness add a playful element to your meal. Another option is North Carolina-style buttermilk hush puppies, which provide a sweet and crunchy component to your dish.
3. Honey Butter Biscuits
If you’re in a dilemma about which side to choose, look no further than honey butter biscuits. These easy-to-make, quick delights are loved by both kids and adults. Just be cautious not to leave them unattended, as they tend to disappear rapidly, especially when children are around. Avoid instant biscuits from a can, as homemade biscuits taste even better. The best part about a bread side dish is using it as a sponge to soak up any leftover sauce on your plate. Yum!
4. Spicy Collard Greens
Collard greens are a popular choice for Southern side dishes, and for good reason. Spicy collard greens can elevate your pulled pork dish to new heights. With a variety of collard recipes available, you’ll always find something new and exciting to try.
Coleslaw is a classic salad accompaniment that offers endless options. Traditional coleslaw is always a safe bet, but if you’re watching your weight and calories, you can create a healthier version with low-fat mayo. For vegans and vegetarians, a purely plant-based coleslaw is also an excellent choice.
6. Onion and Tomato Curtido Salad
While not a traditional Southern side dish for pulled pork, trying new things often leads to pleasant surprises. This Latin American salad featuring tomatoes, onions, and lime adds a refreshing Latin kick to your barbecue. It pairs wonderfully with the meaty, earthy flavors of pulled pork, helping cleanse the palate for another serving of barbecue goodness.
7. Macaroni Salad
If you’re seeking a filling, make-ahead side dish that can be served chilled, macaroni salad is an excellent choice. Prepare it the night before and refrigerate, so it’s ready to serve when needed. This versatile dish also provides an opportunity to incorporate vegetables, making it appealing to selective eaters.
8. Cucumber Tomato Salad
A classic summer salad, cucumber tomato salad adds a refreshing and crunchy dimension to your pulled pork picnic. The combination of green peppers, red onions, cucumbers, and tomatoes creates a colorful addition to any plate of pulled pork.
9. Fruit Salad
To add a touch of sweetness to your pulled pork dish, complement it with a fruit salad. The fruity flavors harmonize well with some sweet variations of pulled pork. So, serving a large bowl of fresh fruit salad is an excellent choice.
10. Green Salad
A quintessential salad, the green salad always remains the gold standard for healthy green eating. Pairing it with pulled pork creates a well-rounded meal by balancing the richness of the meat. This light, refreshing, and crunchy salad offers a healthy side alternative.
11. French Fries
A classic potato side dish suitable for any occasion, French fries are quick to make and easily customizable. Add different ingredients to infuse various flavors or cut them into thick wedges for a twist.
12. Classic Rice Pilaf
If you want to let the pulled pork take center stage without distractions, serve it with a classic rice pilaf. This versatile side dish with subtle flavors complements any main dish. With multiple variants available, you can choose different rice pilaf recipes based on your preferences or those of your guests.
13. Picnic Potato Salad
No backyard barbecue is complete without potato salad. Skip the store-bought options and make your own classic southern potato salad. Prepare it with potatoes, eggs, celery, sweet relish, mustard, and mayonnaise, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
14. Baked Beans
Low and slow-cooked pulled pork pairs perfectly with low and slow-cooked baked beans. Simmer the beans in a slow-cooker and add desired flavors like brown sugar for sweetness or apple cider vinegar for tanginess. Let them cook until they reach the desired consistency. This traditional pairing will fill you up and leave you satisfied.
For a delightful blend of corn, greens, and vibrant vegetables, succotash is the ultimate side dish for pulled pork. This meatless option appeals to vegetarian and vegan guests, making it a versatile addition to your meal. With its appealing colors and sweetness, succotash is loved by both kids and adults. Best of all, it’s quick and easy to make.
16. Cracker Barrel Mac and Cheese
Indulge yourself with a creamy, dreamy side dish of macaroni and cheese. This Cracker Barrel version perfectly complements pulled pork, whether served in sandwiches or on its own. The combination of pork and mac and cheese creates the ultimate Southern-style feast that is sure to impress everyone.
17. Ina Garten Pasta Salad
When it comes to exceptional side dishes, nobody does it better than the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten. Her pasta salad, featuring tomatoes, feta, and olives, pairs beautifully with pulled pork, especially at a backyard barbecue. This easy recipe takes just 20 minutes to make and will leave everyone begging for seconds.
18. Sweet Potato Fries
Elevate your meal with simple yet delicious sweet potato fries. Healthier than traditional French fries, they offer a perfect balance of sweetness and savory flavors when paired with pulled pork. Serve them with your favorite dipping sauces, from classic ketchup to spicy aioli.
19. Green Beans Almondine
Add a pop of color to your plate with green beans almondine. This easy recipe comes together quickly and never fails to please the crowd. The crunch of the almonds combined with the crispness of the green beans creates a winning combination. In just 30 minutes, you can have this delightful dish ready to serve.
20. Easy Cucumber Salad
For a lighter side dish to accompany your pulled pork, you can’t go wrong with a refreshing cucumber salad. Made with cucumbers, red onions, dill, honey, and champagne vinegar, this salad brings out the best flavors of your pork. Unlike heavier and starchier sides, this salad won’t weigh you down and leave you feeling sluggish.
21. Fully-Loaded Baked Potato
No matter the type of meat you’re serving, a baked potato with all the fixings is a classic accompaniment. Top your spuds with sour cream, chives, cheese, bacon, and butter. Alternatively, take it up a notch by stuffing the potato with pulled pork for an incredible treat.
22. Homemade Applesauce
If your pork has a spicy kick, counterbalance it with a side of homemade applesauce. This recipe will remind you of the applesauce your grandma used to make. With just a few wholesome ingredients and a touch of sugar, you’ll have a delightful, sweet side dish to pair with pulled pork.
23. Homemade Extra-Crispy Onion Rings
For those who can’t resist the appeal of crunchy onion rings, this recipe will satisfy your cravings. While frying may not be the healthiest option, it yields restaurant-worthy, extra-crispy onion rings. The preparation takes a few minutes, but the process is well worth the effort.
24. Air Fryer Biscuits
What’s a complete pork meal without a side of freshly-baked biscuits? This recipe takes a twist by using the air fryer, making it even easier than baking in the oven. These buttery, flaky biscuits turn out perfect every single time. For a unique experience, use the biscuits to make a pulled pork sandwich.
25. Homemade Potato Chips
Potato chips provide a delightful crunch to your meal and pair perfectly with sandwiches. While store-bought chips are convenient, making your own homemade potato chips is surprisingly easy. Once you try them, you’ll never go back to pre-packaged chips. For pulled pork sandwiches, consider adding a few chips for an extra touch of flavor.
So, there you have it—an extensive list of side dishes that beautifully complement pulled pork. Whether you prefer the classic cornbread or opt for something more adventurous like Latin-inspired onion and tomato curtido salad, these side dishes are sure to elevate your dining experience. Enjoy your pulled pork feast, and don’t forget to check out Hook’d Up Bar and Grill for more delicious options!