Supporting Roles

At a pig pickin’, the swine is the star of the show, but that doesn’t mean the sides should be anything but memorable. Here are a few options to round out the meal.

Photo by Tyler Darden

Corn and Tomato Salad

Combine fresh corn, right off the cob, with sliced heirloom tomatoes and red onion. Add whatever herbs are plentiful in the garden—basil, parsley and chives would all work well. Dress simply with olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. This salad will help lighten up a menu that’s otherwise heavy on meats and carbs.

Brussel Sprout Slaw

A good slaw is a must-have side for a proper pig pickin’. For a variation on the classic, try shaved brussel sprouts. Use the grater of your food processor to make quick work of the sprouts, or grate them by hand, and then combine with grated carrots and thinly sliced shallots. Make a dressing of mayonnaise, buttermilk, cracked pepper and lemon juice to add to the vegetables up to a day in advance.

Best Baked Beans

The best baked beans start with dried beans that have been soaked—cooking from dried allows you to control texture and flavor more precisely than with canned beans. Combine your soaked beans with rendered bacon, simmered onions and bell peppers, plus your favorite barbecue sauce.  The Shack Sorghum Barbecue is the perfect balance of sweet and tangy. Then let ‘em roll in a slow cooker for about six hours, testing for doneness each hour.

Creamy & Crunchy Mac ‘n Cheese

There are two camps of mac ‘n cheese lovers: creamy mac and baked. Believe it or not, it really is possible to satisfy both. Make a cheese sauce with a variety of cheeses, including sharp cheddar, creamy Colby and nutty Gruyere. Then top with more cheese and buttered panko breadcrumbs before baking for 10 minutes covered and then another 10 uncovered; you’ll end up with a crispy crust and a creamy interior that means mac ‘n cheese harmony for one and all.

Fruity Rum Punch

It doesn’t get more classic than barbecue with rum punch. You’ll be eating and drinking like a colonial when you combine light or dark rum with fruit juices—we like pineapple and fresh watermelon—plus grenadine and a sliced lime garnish. The sweetness of the rum and juice plays well with the smoky barbecue and creamy sides.

Sparkling Limeade

Sweeten lime juice with simple syrup and mix with seltzer water. You’ll need two big limes per person. Garnish with lime wheels and sprigs of fresh mint. Whip up a big batch in advance, and keep refilling your pitchers until the sun goes down.


This article originally appeared in our Smoke & Salt 2018 issue. For more on pig pickin’, click here.

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