What Goes With BBQ Meatballs? Here's Some Ideas | Rock the Grill

What Goes With BBQ Meatballs? Here's Some Ideas

AustinPublished: July 19, 2023
What Goes With BBQ Meatballs? Here's Some Ideas

There is nothing quite like the smoky flavor and tender texture of these delectable bites. But here's the thing - while BBQ meatballs can certainly stand on their own, they're even better when paired with the right sides.

So, if you're wondering what goes with BBQ meatballs, you're in the right place. We have some mouthwatering ideas to take your meatball game to the next level.

The next time you plan a BBQ meatball extravaganza, remember that a whole world of sides is waiting to be savored alongside those juicy balls of meat. Whether you stick to the classics or venture into new flavor territories, these accompaniments will enhance your BBQ meatball experience and leave you craving more. 

Classic sides for BBQ meatballs.

Classic sides can bring out the flavors and enhance the overall eating experience. Here are a few of our backyard experts' favorites when it comes to sides.


BBQ Meatballs with Tangy Coleslaw

One classic side that pairs perfectly with BBQ meatballs is coleslaw. The crispness of the cabbage and the tangy dressing contrast the rich and smoky flavors of the meatballs. Plus, the creamy texture of the coleslaw adds a delightful creaminess to each bite.

Baked beans.

Another classic side that complements BBQ meatballs is baked beans. The beans' smokiness and the sauce's sweetness create a delicious contrast to the savory meatballs. The combination of tender meatballs and hearty beans is a match made in BBQ heaven.


In addition to coleslaw and baked beans, cornbread is another classic side that can take your BBQ meatballs to the next level. The slightly sweet and crumbly texture of cornbread pairs perfectly with the bold flavors of the meatballs. It's like a little taste of comfort food heaven with every bite.

Creative twists for accompanying BBQ meatballs.

Sometimes you want to switch things up and add a creative twist to your side dishes. While classic sides like mashed potatoes and coleslaw are always crowd-pleasers, exploring new flavors that will take your BBQ meatball experience to the next level is fun.

Pineapple salsa.

One creative twist that complements BBQ meatballs perfectly is serving them with tangy pineapple salsa. The sweet and juicy pineapple pairs beautifully with the savory meatballs. And the addition of diced bell peppers, red onion, and cilantro adds freshness and a burst of color. Combining the smoky meatballs and the zesty salsa creates a flavor explosion that will leave your taste buds begging for more.

Spicy sriracha.

Another creative option is to serve BBQ meatballs with a spicy sriracha honey glaze. Mixing sriracha sauce, honey, and a splash of soy sauce creates a glaze that adds a delightful kick to the meatballs. The spicy and sweet flavors dance harmoniously, bringing new excitement to the dish. This twist will leave your guests impressed and begging for your secret recipe.

Embrace the opportunity to get creative with your sides when serving BBQ meatballs. Whether it's a zesty pineapple salsa or a fiery sriracha honey glaze, these unique twists will elevate your meatball game and create a memorable dining experience. Think outside the box and let your taste buds explore a world of flavor possibilities.

Salad options to pair with BBQ meatballs.

When it comes to a satisfying and well-rounded meal, salads are often seen as a healthy and refreshing choice. They provide bursts of flavors and textures that complement the heartiness of BBQ meatballs. Here are a few salad options to consider when serving BBQ meatballs—

  • Classic Garden Salad. A simple garden salad with fresh, crisp lettuce, juicy tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers, and colorful bell peppers is a timeless choice to accompany BBQ meatballs. This will undoubtedly add a light and refreshing element to the meal, balancing the smoky and savory flavors of the meatballs.
  • Tangy Coleslaw. The tanginess of coleslaw is a perfect match for BBQ meatballs' rich and bold flavors. The creamy and crunchy texture of the shredded cabbage tossed in a tangy mayo-based dressing creates a delightful contrast. Plus, the sweetness of the coleslaw can help balance out the savory notes of the meatballs.
  • Mediterranean Couscous Salad. For a more exotic twist, consider serving a Mediterranean couscous salad with BBQ meatballs. Combining fluffy couscous, diced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, Kalamata olives, and crumbled feta cheese adds a burst of Mediterranean flavor. The freshness and tanginess of the ingredients perfectly complement the smoky meatballs.
  • Zesty Southwest Salad. If you want to add a bit of spice to your meal, opt for a zesty Southwest salad. Combine crisp romaine lettuce, black beans, corn, diced tomatoes, avocado, and a tangy chipotle dressing. This salad's bold flavors and vibrant colors will add a kick and a touch of excitement to your BBQ meatballs.

Remember, the key to pairing salads with BBQ meatballs is choosing options that balance flavors and textures. Whether you prefer a classic garden salad or want to try something more adventurous, these salads will elevate your BBQ meatball experience to a new level. 

Bread and grain choices to complement BBQ meatballs.

When it comes to BBQ meatballs, finding the perfect bread or grain to accompany them is like finding the missing puzzle piece. It completes the meal and adds a whole new level of satisfaction.

So, let's explore some bread and grain choices that will complement those smoky, flavorful meatballs.

Hamburger buns.

First up, we have the classic choice: hamburger buns. Soft and slightly sweet, these buns are the perfect vessel for BBQ meatballs. They can handle the juiciness of the meatballs without getting soggy, and the somewhat toasted edges add a delightful crunch.

To take it to the next level, consider opting for pretzel buns. A pretzel bun's slightly salty, chewy texture adds a unique twist to your BBQ meatball experience.

Wheat rolls.

Bread Rolls with Meatballs

If you want a healthier option or to switch things up, consider whole wheat rolls or ciabatta bread. Whole wheat rolls offer a heartier, nuttier flavor that pairs well with the smoky and tangy BBQ sauce. The chewiness of ciabatta bread adds a nice contrast to the tender meatballs and provides a sturdy base for building a satisfying bite.


Looking for something even more unexpected? Try serving your BBQ meatballs over a bed of fluffy quinoa or couscous. These grains add a nutritious element to your meal and soak up the delicious BBQ sauce, creating a mouthwatering combination of flavors. Plus, the slight crunch of the grains adds a delightful textural contrast to the soft meatballs.

Sauces and dressings to serve with BBQ meatballs.

The sauce can make or break the dish. That perfect blend of tangy, sweet, and smoky flavors takes the meatballs to a new level of deliciousness.

Barbecue sauce.

One classic option is an excellent ol' barbecue sauce. This sticky and flavorful sauce is a no-brainer whether you buy a store-bought version or make your own. Its rich and tangy taste pairs wonderfully with the smoky meatballs, creating a match made in BBQ heaven.

Mushroom gravy.

Mushroom gravy is a versatile sauce that brings an earthy richness to a variety of dishes. The thickness and creaminess of the gravy make it a perfect companion for meatballs, as it coats them nicely and adds a layer of savory depth. Its earthy flavor, derived from freshly sautéed mushrooms, complements the hearty taste of the meatballs. When served over a bed of fluffy rice or mashed potatoes, the combination creates a satisfying meal that is both comforting and delectable. This mushroom gravy with meatballs dish is not only a feast for the palate, but also a comforting food experience that brings warmth to any table.

Bolognese sauce.

Bolognese sauce is a staple in Italian cuisine, originating from Bologna, Italy. Its rich and hearty profile is achieved by slow-cooking tomatoes with minced beef, garlic, wine, and a medley of vegetables such as onions, celery, and carrots. The result is a deeply flavorful sauce that pairs exceptionally well with meatballs. Its robust flavors penetrate the meatballs, providing a satisfying and layered taste experience with each bite. Whether served over spaghetti or nestled in a sub roll, meatballs smothered in Bolognese sauce make for a comforting and delicious meal.

Endless options for pairing up your meatballs.

When deciding what goes with BBQ meatballs, the options are endless. From classic sides like coleslaw and baked beans to creative twists like pineapple salsa and bacon-wrapped mac and cheese bites, there is something for everyone's taste buds.

Don't forget about tasty salads, warm bread, and flavorful grains that can enhance the flavors of your BBQ meatballs. And let's not look past the importance of the right sauce or dressing to tie it all together.

Get creative, think outside the box, and let your BBQ meatballs take center stage at your next meal. 



Professional Backyard Chef

Austin, a trained chef and graduate of the The Art Institute of Washington, has a deep passion for locally sourced ingredients. He spent several years working in farm-to-table restaurants, forging relationships with local farmers and learning about the benefits of fresh, local produce. As a regular contributor to various food and lifestyle magazines, Austin specializes in creating delicious, seasonal recipes for the backyard bistro. His dedication to local ingredients helps readers discover new flavors while supporting their local economy.