In the midst of Austin’s barbecue renaissance, most patrons spend their time in line thinking about the combination of meats in which they should partake. Sides, when discussed, are often thought of as a less essential component of the ‘cue experience. Though sides will never replace brisket, the pitmasters and cooks at these restaurants often take the same level of care with their accoutrements as they do with their prized brisket and ribs.
We sampled sides at a number of Austin’s best BBQ spots without any meat to accompany them. While this drew quizzical looks and smiles from the counter, it also emphasized that many BBQ establishments are serious about all of their food. To help you choose sides wisely, we offer a winner (or two) at most of Austin’s popular spots, along with recommendations from chefs, bartenders, and restaurant owners who love barbecue as much as you do.