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When it comes to barbecue, you might think it’s all about the meat.
You’ve probably got a favorite type (the pork vs. brisket debate is a heated one). And you probably have strong feelings about a particular style of sauce (where are my vinegar fans?).
But while meat might be the main event, there’s one thing that can truly make or break the meal…
From macaroni and cheese to coleslaw, the sides are the unsung heroes of the barbecue world, and it’s high time they get the credit they deserve.
So here it is, a comprehensive list of all the barbecue joints in Charlotte and the best sides to order at each.
What to order at Queen City Q
Best Mac ‘N Cheese – You don’t call your mac ‘n cheese “the best” unless you know it’s pretty darn good.
Green Bean Casserole – Like Mom’s Thanksgiving specialty, only one step better (don’t tell her we said that).
Corn Maque Choux – Hard to pronounce but worth sounding silly while ordering.
What to order at Midwood Smokehouse
Bacon-wrapped Jalapeños – Not your everyday barbecue side but definitely should be.
BBQ Baked Beans – Legitimately some of the best baked beans in the 704 area code.
Pimento Cheese Fries – Do yourself a favor and top these with chopped pork.
What to order at Mac’s Speed Shop
Cheddar Grits – Skip the mac ‘n cheese and go for the grits here. They pair perfectly with the famous Beer Can Chicken.
Baked Potato Salad – Gives regular potato salad a run for its money.
What to order at Bill Spoon’s Barbecue
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Hushpuppies – Crispy on the outside, moist on the inside. They come with everything, and they are bottomless.
Banana Pudding – Not technically a side but so tasty, it’s worth mentioning.
What to order at The Improper Pig
Jalapeño Cheese Grits – Creamy with just the right amount of kick.
Sweet Potato Waffle Fries – There’s something about the waffle shape that makes these better than your average sweet potato fry.
What to order at McKoy’s Smokehouse and Saloon
Fried Okra – Perfectly crispy and best served with some of McKoy’s homemade ranch on the side.
Spicy Pinto Beans – A nice deviation from the typical baked beans you find with barbecue.
What to order at Sauceman’s
Fried Corn on the Cob – I think the name should tell you enough.
Collard Greens – The perfect combo of spicy and sweet; might be the best I’ve ever eaten.
Sugar Biscuits – Trust us, you’ll want to save room for these.
What to order at Seoul Food Meat Co.
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Soy Pickled Devil Eggs – An Asian twist on a classic barbecue side dish.
Pimento Corn Cheese – If you are a pimento cheese fan, this is a must-order.
(This content was co-created with Charlotte’s got a lot.)