Pulled pork is a delicious main event for many backyard barbecues, often called pig-pickins, in the Southern United States. But you don’t have to be a Southerner to enjoy this fan-favorite cuisine. People from all regions enjoy pulled pork meals, often roasting a shoulder cut (a.k.a. Boston Butt), mixed cuts of the hog, or the whole hog.
Usually slow-cooked and smoked over wood, pulled pork generally has a slightly sweet, slightly spicy dry rub seasoning that pairs well with the smoky pork flavor. There are also indoor cooking options, using an oven, slow cooker, or Instant Pot. With the suitable side dishes, a pulled pork meal cooked inside or outside will have dinner guests coming back for seconds…and thirds!
To help you create a pulled pork meal your guests will rave over, we have compiled a list of the best side dishes to make that will complement your main dish beautifully.
1. Old Fashioned Potato Salad
Just like grandma used to make, and now it’s your turn to wow your guests. This potato salad is a beautiful blend of potatoes with boiled eggs, relish, onions, and celery. A tangy creaminess comes from the perfect blend of spices with mayo and mustard.
2. Pioneer Woman’s Macaroni and Cheese
Nothing goes better with pulled pork than creamy macaroni and cheese, especially when it’s made by none other than The Food Network’s Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond.
There is something satisfying about pairing a sweet yet spicy piece of pork with this delightfully delicious comfort food.
3. Homemade Onion Rings
Start out fresh, not frozen, when you’re serving up this complementary side dish to pulled pork. Dipped in a smooth batter and deep-fried in hot oil, these onions are sure to please the most finicky palate. A spicy ranch dipping sauce would make these impossible to resist.
4. Garlic Parmesan Roasted Green Beans
A Panko breadcrumb topping makes this a favorite green bean dish that pairs beautifully with smoky pulled pork. Roasted to perfection, these green beans are flavored with garlic, onion, and Italian seasoning. A generous amount of Parmesan will have your taste buds wanting more.
5. Baked or Fried Sweet Potato Fries
With just the right amount of crunch, these sweet and savory sweet potato fries are sure to please whether you choose to bake them in the oven or fry them up in a pan. Adding a nice honey butter for dipping will have your guests coming back for more.
6. Barefoot Contessa’s Corn Salad
Served warm or at room temperature, this dish was created by the Food Network’s Barefoot Contessa. A mixture of corn kernels, basil leaves, and onion will have you getting rave reviews!
7. Fail-Proof Roasted Corn on the Cob
Oven-roasting corn on the cob is the way to go when preparing the perfect side dish for pulled pork. A sweet, smoky flavor makes this not only a perfect pairing but a delicious alternative to grilled corn on the cob.
8. Italian Pasta Salad
Easy to make and delightful to eat, this pasta salad is constructed with colorful veggies and homemade Italian dressing. With Kalamata olives and artichoke hearts, this pasta dish is sure to be a favorite. Make it ahead to allow the flavors to meld. Use gluten-free pasta for a gluten-free option.
9. Southern Living’s Pineapple Casserole
This warm, comforting casserole blends the flavors of sweet pineapple with cheddar cheese to guarantee your guests won’t stop at just one bite. An easy dish to assemble with few ingredients, it’s topped with the crunchy buttery goodness of crushed Ritz crackers.
10. Amazingly Delicious Classic Creamy Southern Coleslaw
A delightfully creamy coleslaw that will complement pulled pork like perfection. And it’s so simple! The recipe starts with a bag of coleslaw mix, adding mayo, lemon juice, sour cream, and vinegar as a dressing. Add a bit of sugar, salt, and black pepper to make it amazingly delicious!
11. Martha Stewart’s Classic Deviled Eggs
A perfectly delightful addition to your pulled pork entrée, this deviled egg recipe is easy to make and a joy to eat. Mayo and Dijon mustard with a splash of white wine vinegar is a great source of protein and a perfect side pairing.
12. New England Baked Beans
Straight from Boston’s Seaport District, America’s Test Kitchen shows you how to easily make this classic side dish for pulled pork. The key to making the perfect baked beans is to start by brining the beans overnight to soften the skins and ensure a tastefully tender bean.
13. Rachael Ray’s Oven Steak Fries
What could be better with pulled pork than potatoes? This recipe from Rachael Ray of The Food Network shows how well an easy recipe can please any palate.
With only five ingredients, it can’t get much easier than this. Made in the oven with EVOO, thyme, oregano, and seasoning (try Montreal Steak Seasoning, please!), this dish is sure to turn up on your table often.
14. Paula Deen’s Southern Collard Greens
A classic favorite that you must try when searching for a tasty side for pulled pork. Paula Deen joins her sons to share a family-favorite pressure cooker recipe that’s filled with nutrients and flavor.
If you aren’t a fan of the stems, follow Paula’s lead and strip the tender leaves from the stems. You can’t miss with this recipe. Like Paula Deen says, “Everybody loves our collard greens, y’all.”
15. The Ultimate Jiffy Cornbread
Getting off to an easy start with a box of Jiffy cornbread mix, the flavor and texture may make this your go-to cornbread recipe.
Butter, sugar, sour cream, and eggs bring out the tender moistness that will have you reaching for that next piece of cornbread. Bake in a pan, as the recipe suggests, or get wild and crazy and make some muffins. Either way, this recipe is sure to please.
16. Crispy Southern Fried Okra
This recipe for fried okra is an old-fashioned version just like grandma made and will take you back to your childhood. It is one of the many favorite side dishes for pulled pork that you’ll find in barbeque-focused restaurants as well as backyard barbecues.
A mixture of all-purpose flour and cornmeal is used to coat the okra to make it crispy. Cajun seasoning provides a spicier taste, or leave out the spice for a non-spicy version.
17. Twice-Baked Potatoes
An excellent side dish to pulled pork because…potatoes! Twice-baked potatoes can be made ahead and easily heated up to perfection within a few minutes. Crumbled back and melty cheese makes this recipe hard, if not impossible, to resist. Try it. You’ll love it.
18. Seven Layer Salad
One bite of this flavorful seven-layer salad will make your guests feel like they’re in 7th Heaven! Crispy in every bite, the combination of each layer is perfection for your palate.
The right combo of iceberg lettuce, green peas, cheese, grape tomatoes, boiled eggs, and bacon (ooh, bacon!) is super yummy. The coup d’état is a mayo-based dressing to add creaminess to the mix. Presentation in a transparent glass dish makes this salad look as good as it tastes.
19. Pepperidge Farm Squash Casserole
Who knew squash could be this good? Using a combination of yellow summer squash, zucchini, and carrots, this casserole is akin to your favorite comfort foods. Adding Pepperidge Farm Cornbread stuffing makes for a tasty side to pulled pork.
20. Easy Lexington, North Carolina Red BBQ Slaw
A true Southern city, Lexington, North Carolina, is famous for its barbeque, and what better to pair with pulled pork than a tangy, crunchy side born to complement the pork? With only 5 ingredients, unlike traditional slaw, this version has a red tint with a tangy barbecue flavor. A perfect side for your next backyard barbecue.
While pulled pork has enough flavor to please a