Fried Mac ‘n’ Cheese Ball
That BBQ Joint
Plenty of local barbecue spots are proud of the creamy and delicious macaroni and cheese on their sides menus, and with good reason. After all, smooth homemade cheese sauce is a nice, cool counter to the spiciness of the smoked meat. But there’s only one place that encases the mac in a deep-fried batter, creating a ball of amazing. It’s a little like turning your plate into a year-round visit to a state fair, in the best possible way.
North and South Seafood & Smokehouse
One of the items on North and South’s “hidden” sides menu is also one of the best—so much so that when Keith and Erin Stoesz considered cutting it, they were turned back by a customer revolt. This cake is the size and depth of an official NHL puck, crisp on the outside and pillowy on the inside, with just the right amount of oniony goodness. North and South serves hush puppies as well, but you might not need them once you’ve taken a bite of this big dog.
Fat Jack’s BBQ
Some places stick with cornmeal muffins. Fat Jack’s embraces its classy supper club vibe by serving up seriously awesome slices of garlic bread, toasted straight on the grill. Whether you like to douse your ribs in sauce or just savor the flavor of a seriously delicious dry rub, you’re going to need something to wipe that goodness off the plate, and you won’t find a more delicious delivery system than this.
Barbecue Baked Beans
The Thirsty Goat
Unlike a lot of chefs, Jeff Whitford doesn’t lean hard on the brown sugar to make the Goat’s hearty barbecue beans sing. There’s a sweetness there, to be sure, coming more from the onion, the red pepper and the spices, naturally. “I have a big spice rack, and I’m not afraid to use it,” says Whitford. Madison is grateful for your courage, sir.
Smoked Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers
Double S Barbecue
At its core, barbecue’s a culinary marriage of the smoky and the sweet, and this sweat-inducing appetizer captures that balance perfectly. Enormous peppers stuffed with homemade cream cheese are wrapped in sweet bacon, then smoked over the pit, right alongside the brisket and ribs. You’ll want to keep a tall glass of beer close at hand.