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The Best Side Dish Ideas to Pair with Kansas City BBQ

This post is sponsored by Big Red, but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

The Best Side Dish Ideas to Pair with Kansas City BBQ include soul food macaroni and cheese, potato salad, baked beans, white bread, pickles, coleslaw. These dishes pair nicely with smoked meats like pork ribs, brisket, burnt ends, chicken, and sausage.

April is here. I cannot believe how fast time is moving in 2018. I have done all my spring cleaning. I cleaned out my garage (that was such a large task, by the way), removed the clutter from all the closets, and donated a bunch of clothing to charity. I even brought out my spring linen tablecloths in the dining room. There’s just one problem. Kansas City has not embraced spring. The weather has been so uncooperative!

We have had a few days where the sun has come out and temperatures were above 60 degrees. On one of those days, I decided to take full advantage! I sat outside with a small slab of ribs, my famous Baked Macaroni and Cheese, and an ice cold Big Red. 

mac and cheese, red soda, with side dishes

Baked mac and cheese is a southern tradition. My family has southern roots, so naturally, it has always been a staple for my family. We serve a large dish of mac and cheese every holiday, and at most barbecues. I usually use elbow macaroni or cellentani pasta. I create a roux using flour and butter. From there, I doctor it up with seasonings, milk, and a lot of cheese. I layer it in a baking dish. Be sure to check out the recipe here

mac and cheese, red soda, with side dishes

Baked beans are another staple. Most baked beans have a sweet flavor. I love recipes that have a hint of sweetness and a bit of tang.

Potato salad is served chilled and does a great job of balancing out the warm food.

Every cookout must have a tray of white bread and pickles. I usually use a slice of bread to dip into my BBQ sauce.

mac and cheese, red soda, with side dishes

We are passionate about BBQ in Kansas City. No one makes their BBQ the way we do. We will argue that our BBQ is far superior to anything else out there. KC-style BBQ consists of meat that has been slowly smoked in a pit. Ribs, burnt ends, pulled pork, and brisket are a few of my favorite meats.

While I love the barbecued meats, a plate would not be complete without amazing side dishes. Red soda is also a staple. I must have a cold glass of Big Red Soda with my BBQ.

mac and cheese, red soda, with side dishes

A spread like this is what spring and summer were made for!

southern style baked macaroni and cheese in a baking dish
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5 from 160 votes

Southern-Style Soul Food Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Southern-Style Soul Food Baked Macaroni and Cheese is a homemade, recipe with 5 creamy types of cheese. Perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and holidays.
Save this recipe here.
Course Side Dish
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 10
Calories 455kcal


  • 1 pound elbow macaroni or cellentani pasta
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2-3 cups milk I often use 2 cups. Use your judgement. Start with 2 and add more if needed.
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • onion powder to taste Start with 1/2 teaspoon. Taste and adjust.
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded parmigiano reggiano
  • 1 cup shredded fontina cheese
  • 1 cup shredded pecorino romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup muenster cheese cut into small chunks


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Cook the pasta in accordance with the instructions on the package.
  • Drain the macaroni and rinse with cold water. This is important. You want the pasta to cool so that it does not continue to cook. The pasta will cook again while baking in the oven. Over-cooked pasta results in a terrible texture.
  • Heat a sauce pan on medium heat. Add the butter and allow it to melt.
  • Once melted, add the flour and whisk.
  • This will create a roux. Continue to whisk until the four is fully combined.
  • Add the milk and heavy whipping cream and stir.
  • Add half of the shredded cheese and stir until the cheese is melted.
  • Add the seasonings and taste repeatedly. This step is important because you don't want bland mac and cheese.
  • Return the pasta to the large pot. Drizzle the liquid mixture over the pasta and stir until fully combined.
  • Spray a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with cooking spray.
  • Begin to layer in the pasta. Start with the pasta, then add a layer of all of the shredded cheese and muenster chunks.
  • Add another layer of pasta, and then another layer of cheese.
  • Ensure there is adequate liquid throughout these steps (additional milk works well). This can be tricky. You do not want the dish to appear like soup, but you do not want it to be dry.
  • This step is important because without adequate liquid the dish will dry out while baking.
  • Bake for 25-45 minutes until the cheese has melted and is bubbly. I like for the crust on top to turn a deep golden brown, which takes more time. Use your judgment based on what works for you.
  • Cool before serving.



You can substitute any cheese in this recipe for whatever cheese you like.
If you’re making this for a crowd, I wouldn’t make it ahead. This is a dish that’s best served fresh while the cheese is still soft and gooey. After making it, I leave it in the oven on warm and covered in foil.
I also wouldn’t prep it in advance. This will ruin the texture of the cheese.
Recipe Tools Used in this RecipeAs an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition (displayed with net carbs)

Calories: 455kcal
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Recipe Rating


Sunday 7th of July 2019

Wow this looks amazing, I can't wait to try it! I am an American living in Europe and haven't had any of these dishes or seen Big Red for many years. Almost brought a tear to my eye, it really made me think back to my childhood and barbecue meals. So nice. Thank you for warning my heart. I will try this and update my review with my opinions this week!


Sunday 7th of July 2019

Thank you, please do!

Nadine Edwards

Thursday 26th of April 2018

It all looks good would like to try the ribs

Nadine Edwards

Thursday 26th of April 2018

Where is the recipe for the ribs


Thursday 26th of April 2018

Here you go.


Saturday 14th of April 2018

Gaaaah those ribs look so mouthwatering! Ive never tried Big Red but it does look like the perfect combo to all those delicious dishes! Need to try that Mac n cheese recipe asap


Saturday 14th of April 2018

It all looks delicious! I love macaroni cheese and BBQ sauce is a major weakness of mine!