What Desserts Go With BBQ Ribs?

With summer just around the corner, the time of outdoor barbeques is upon us. You've got a spectacular rack of ribs ready to go, but what kind of dessert should you finish the meal with? Well, hold on to your grilling apron because we've sifted through the research and have some decadent suggestions for you!

Because BBQ rib meals are normally on the heavier side, less dense desserts can be great complements to your menu. Consider:

  • Pineapple meringue pie
  • Strawberry cheesecake
  • Lemon bars
  • Apple spice cake

Alternatively, if you or your guests are craving something with a little more sticking power, pecan pie and molten lava cake are delicious options.

So, how are these sweets made? How many ribs do you make per person? What sides can go with barbequed ribs? Keep reading to learn smoking hot tips on pulling off your perfect BBQ dinner!

Marinated BBQ Pork Ribs on Barbecue Grill, What Desserts Go With BBQ Ribs?

Tasty desserts for a BBQ rib meal

Pineapple meringue pie

Pineapple pie with meringue (whipped egg white and sugar), decorate with yellow flowers, wooden background.

The acidity of the fruit and sweetness of the whipped topping makes pineapple meringue pie an excellent dessert for cutting the rich flavor of ribs. Served chilled, it refreshes the palate and makes your stomach smile. Toasted coconut flakes on top add additional texture to every bite.

Strawberry cheesecake

A high angle extreme close up of a strawberry cheesecake and some fresh strawberries on an old wire cooling rack.

Strawberries are the ultimate summer fruit. With its luscious cream cheese filling, graham cracker crust, and fresh berry sauce, strawberry cheesecake is the perfect last course for barbeque. This silky-smooth, vibrantly colored treat will make your guests love you forever.

Lemon bars

Traditional lemon bars on a white table

Lemon bars are bright, zesty treats that are absolutely delightful and easy to prepare. They're full of luscious, lemony filling on a crisp crust of shortbread. Use fresh lemons, and your belly- not to mention your taste buds- will be revitalized after those fatty ribs.

Apple spice cake

A delicious apple nut cake with some of it's main ingredients in the background. Shallow DOF, focus on the front edge of the cake

Pork and apple are best friends in the culinary world because of their complementary flavor profiles. If you're serving baby back or spare ribs especially, you'll love the finishing note this dessert provides. Made with fresh apples, real applesauce, cinnamon, vanilla, and sometimes a butterscotch frosting, this cake is packed with flavor and stays moist.

  • We're totally tempted by this Apple Spice Cake recipe by Preppy Kitchen.
  • Run over to Yellow Bliss Road for an Apple Spice Cake method using a yummy cinnamon cream cheese frosting.

Pecan Pie

Pecan pie, tart with a cup of tea. Grey background.

Crammed with both salty and sweet elements, pecan pie is a classic Southern dish that pairs well with barbeque. The sugared filling combined with the pecans' salted crunch makes for one of the best dessert bites available. It's also a simple pie to make, so you'll spend less time in the kitchen and more with your company.

Molten lava cake

A single serving of warm chocolate lava cake sprinkled with powdered sugar with a bite taken out.

For you hardcore dessert junkies out there looking for something heftier, molten lava cake provides a satiating gut-bomb. Although you might have to be tucked into bed afterward, this is comfort food to the max! It's like a combination of a souffle and a cake. The warm liquid chocolate in the center runs out in a gooey trail when cut, and it is simply blissful. Add a scoop of cold vanilla ice cream to the mix, and you'll have some very satisfied tummies.

What sides go with BBQ ribs?

The list of mouth-watering dishes you can successfully pair with barbequed ribs is staggering. You'll never run out of enticing options. Let's take a bite out of a few of the heavy-hitters in the game!

Baked beans

Crock pot full of baked beans on blue gingham

Have you ever been to a barbecue where there wasn't a giant pot of baked beans? Us either. Their dense, smoky, syrupy taste is a stellar addition to the table. They can be made with nearly any kind of bean you like, add protein and fiber to the meal, and can even have bacon thrown in.

Potato salad

Potato Salad

Potato salad is a huge crowd-pleaser at a picnic. Whether you prefer mayo or sour-cream-based, hot or cold variations, chances are it's going to be divine with your ribs.

Fried green tomatoes

A high angle close up shot of some golden brown fried green tomatoes and a container with sauce.

If you were raised in the South, there's a high probability you already have your grandmother's favorite recipe for fried green tomatoes. The acidic, tangy bite of the tomato combined with the fried coating's crunch wins this dish a prime spot at the table.

Corn on the cob

Corn on a barbecue grill

Corn is delicious, fibrous, and contains B-vitamins and minerals. Trust us, you'll want some health benefits somewhere on that plate. Corn on the cob can be grilled, oven-roasted, boiled, and even steamed.

Potato skins

Baked loaded potato with bacon, cheese, sour cream and onion

Potato halves loaded with cheese and bacon, baked to a crisp, and then topped with sour cream and green onions? Yes, please!


Corn Bread in a Cast Iron Skillet with a Pot of Baked Beans-Photographed on Hasselblad H3D2-39mb Camera

Cornbread is light and crumbly and can be prepared either plain or with a small level of sweetness. It's perfect with butter and for sopping up stray BBQ or baked bean sauce. Yum!

How many ribs do you make per person?

There are several factors to use as a guideline to know the necessary number of ribs you need for each person. First, you must consider the gender and age of those you're feeding. Men will generally consume more meat than ladies. Children will typically eat fewer ribs than an adult.

Take into account how many and what types of sides you're cooking. Also, do you plan to serve dessert? Dinner requires less meat per person as side dish numbers increase. There are lots of other things around to help fill those bellies.

Know which type of cut you're interested in. Not all ribs are created equal. For example, baby backs are smaller than spares. Spare ribs are even smaller beef backs. Here are the suggested amounts to provide each diner.

  • 2-3 ribs for beef backs
  • 4-5 for spare ribs
  • 6 for baby backs

When shopping, keep in mind that a whole rack is 12 ribs and a half rack is six.

rack of raw pork spare ribs seasoned with spices on black slate tray with paprika, garlic cloves, bay leaves at background, view from above, close-up

What can you do with ribs other than BBQ?

You can cook ribs by other methods besides barbeque. Let's go over a few different techniques.

Pop them in the oven

raw pork ribs sprinkle with salt, black pepper and paprika in a glass baking tray in the oven. cooking meat at home. Cook.

While you won't get that same rustic flavor of barbeque, baking your cuts in the oven does give you more control over temperature. It's much easier to get them cooked through without overcooking. They can bake low and slow for three to four hours, giving you time to get other things done! You can also add your favorite sauce afterward and then let it broil to let it caramelize.

Sous vide them

sous vide cooking, low temperature cooking

If you haven't heard of sous vide before, don't be disappointed. We've got your back! For the juiciest, most tender ribs you'll ever eat, this method is the way to go. You put your food in a vacuum-sealed bag, which is then submerged in temperature-controlled water. Ribs can stay in there for 24 hours! It's an extremely precise technique, and the meat retains all its juices. It does require some equipment setup, but it's simple to learn. Click here to see Sous Vide Cooker on Amazon.

Cook them in the smoker

Professional kitchen appliance. Closeup of poultry, beef and pork meat, ribs cooked in BBQ smoker.

Smoking your ribs is a good option if you'd like temperature control but don't want to give up that campfire-like flavor. Throw in some apple or hickory wood chips, and you're all set! They can be ready in two to three hours.

Wrapping things up

Marinated BBQ Pork Ribs on Barbecue Grill

We've established that pineapple meringue pie, strawberry cheesecake, lemon bars, apple spice cake, pecan pie, and molten lava cakes are all complimentary desserts for barbeque. Excellent sides include fried green tomatoes, baked beans, potato salad, corn on the cob, potato skins, and cornbread. Keep in mind the age and gender of your company when choosing how much meat to prepare. We're hungry now!

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