Fatty and juicy, smoked pork butt and brisket are both dishes that are typically cooked in and served with some type of liquid like a gravy or sauce. What you serve on the side should be something to soak up the extra juice other than multiple dinner rolls.

Take advantage of the already fired-up oven or grill and roast some vegetables alongside of — or even right in the pan with — the meat. The key with roasted vegetables is to cut the pieces into similar sizes. Use just one favorite vegetable or a medley of what’s seasonal and available. Some good options for roasting include:

  • carrots
  • onions
  • potatoes
  • sweet potatoes
  • parsnips
  • beats
  • Brussels sprouts
  • cauliflower

This classic side is a classic for a reason. Most people find a second helping of mashed potatoes irresistible, and they act as the perfect carrier for a spoonful of gravy. Take mashed potatoes to the next level by adding sour cream, fresh herbs, lemon or even bacon.

Sturdy enough to sit on a plate next to other steaming hot dishes, cabbage is a hearty yet light addition to a special roast meal. It can be braised, roasted or left raw in coleslaw salad.

Also known as “grits” due to its initial gritty texture during cooking, polenta is an extremely versatile side that can be served creamy, fried, grilled and baked. It’s also a good side for making ahead of time if you are short on time.

Tips

Polenta’s simple base can be elevated by the addition of Parmesan cheese, paprika or fresh herbs like sage and thyme.