The Ultimate Guide to Traditional Side Dishes Served with Kansas City Barbeque

Discover the rich history and flavorful dishes of Kansas City barbeque, including its famous side dishes that have become an integral part of the city's culinary culture.

The Ultimate Guide to Traditional Side Dishes Served with Kansas City Barbeque

As an expert in the world of barbeque, I have had the pleasure of exploring the rich and flavorful dishes that Kansas City is known for. With a long history dating back to the early 1900s, barbeque has become an integral part of the city's culinary culture, attracting people from all over the world to taste its famous dishes.

The Art of Kansas City Barbeque

Kansas City barbeque is a slow-cooking process that involves cooking meat over a wood fire, resulting in tender and juicy meat with a smoky flavor. The meat is typically coated with a dry rub or a sauce made from a blend of spices, vinegar, and tomato-based sauces. The most popular meats used in Kansas City barbeque are beef, pork, and chicken. But what truly sets Kansas City barbeque apart are the side dishes that accompany the main course.

These side dishes are an essential part of the barbeque experience and have become an integral part of the city's culinary culture.

The Classic Side Dishes

One of the most iconic side dishes served with Kansas City barbeque is burnt ends. These small pieces of meat are cut from the ends of smoked brisket or pork ribs and are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, making them a perfect complement to the main course.

Baked beans

are another classic side dish that is often served with Kansas City barbeque. These beans are slow-cooked with bacon, onions, and spices, giving them a rich and smoky flavor that pairs well with the barbeque sauce.


is a staple side dish in Kansas City barbeque. It is made with shredded cabbage, carrots, and a creamy dressing, providing a refreshing contrast to the rich and savory barbeque flavors.

The Unique Side Dishes

While the classic side dishes are a must-try, Kansas City also offers some unique and delicious options that are worth exploring.

Burnt end chili is a popular dish that combines the smoky flavor of burnt ends with the spiciness of chili. It is a hearty and flavorful dish that is perfect for colder days.


is another side dish that is commonly served with Kansas City barbeque. This sweet and savory bread is made with cornmeal and can be served as a side or as a dessert with a drizzle of honey.

Mac and cheese

may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of barbeque, but in Kansas City, it is a popular side dish. The creamy and cheesy mac and cheese pairs well with the smoky flavors of the barbeque, making it a crowd-pleaser.

The Vegetarian Options

While Kansas City barbeque is known for its meat dishes, there are also plenty of options for vegetarians.

Baked potatoes are a popular side dish that can be topped with various toppings such as cheese, sour cream, and chives.

Corn on the cob

is another vegetarian option that is often served with barbeque. The corn is grilled to perfection, giving it a smoky flavor that complements the barbeque dishes.

Vegetable skewers

are a great way to add some color and variety to your barbeque meal. These skewers are loaded with a variety of vegetables, such as bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms, and can be grilled alongside the meat for a delicious and healthy side dish.

The Perfect Pairings

No barbeque meal is complete without a refreshing drink to wash it down. In Kansas City, iced tea is the go-to drink to accompany barbeque.

It is often served sweetened and pairs well with the rich and savory flavors of the barbeque dishes.


is another popular drink that goes hand in hand with barbeque. Kansas City has a thriving craft beer scene, and there are plenty of local breweries that offer a variety of beers that pair well with barbeque.


is another classic pairing for barbeque. The smoky and sweet flavors of bourbon complement the smoky flavors of the barbeque, making it a perfect match.

In Conclusion

Kansas City barbeque is more than just meat and sauce; it is an experience that involves a variety of side dishes that enhance the flavors of the main course. From classic dishes like burnt ends and baked beans to unique options like burnt end chili and mac and cheese, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

So next time you visit Kansas City, make sure to try out these traditional side dishes and experience the true essence of Kansas City barbeque.