7 Classic Desserts Perfect For Pairing With BBQ

Backyard barbecue events should be fun for everyone, including those who are doing the hosting. Hiring a professional caterer to prepare the fare for your next family reunion or other outdoor gathering that calls for barbecue is an excellent way to enjoy the company of family and friends rather than focusing on food preparation tasks, and BBQ catering companies will let you mix and match menu items to suit the personal tastes and dietary needs of you and those on your guest list. Choosing the right dessert to pair with the items on the main menu will make the event even better. Following are seven classic summer desserts and the types of barbecue they complement best.

Banana Pudding

Banana pudding is an old-school barbecue classic that never fails to please. It consists of layers of sweet vanilla cream custard, fresh banana slices, and bite-sized vanilla wafers. It's traditionally topped with whipped cream, although some like it with browned meringue instead. This dessert goes best with barbecued red meat such as beef brisket. The addition of bananas provide an excellent way to slip a little nutrition into the meal's sweet finale.


Another quintessential barbecue dessert, s'mores is another richly flavored delectable delight that pairs well with barbecued red meat. However, s'mores just don't taste the same if they are prepared in advance, so ask your caterer to simply provide the ingredients so that you and your guests can take it from there. You'll need Graham crackers, chocolate, marshmallows, and a roaring fire in your outdoor fire pit. This is a perfect dessert choice for family events where the guest list includes lots of children, but be sure to have at least one adult supervising when the children are roasting the marshmallows.

Buttermilk Cookie Salad

Buttermilk cookie salad is a medium-bodied, not-too-sweet dessert that makes an excellent companion to pulled pork. It's recommended for gatherings that include mostly adults, however, because most children prefer sweeter fare. The buttermilk provides an interesting contrast best suited for the adult palate. It should always be served chilled, and it's sour top caused by the buttermilk makes it perfect for enjoying with an ice cold beer. 

Blueberry Buckle

Anything containing blueberries pairs well with fish, and blueberry buckle is no exception. This is great news for barbecue enthusiasts because barbecued salmon, steelhead, and trout can be difficult to pair with sweets. Blueberry buckle is basically a cobbler. Many people prefer it with whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream, although expertly prepared blueberry buckle should be able to stand on its own without these embellishments. 

Peach and Raspberry Parfait

Fruit parfaits are excellent ways to end outdoor feasts on warm summer days, and the combination of peaches and raspberries is particularly cooling and refreshing. This dessert pairs especially well with barbecued chicken. Vanilla ice cream provides this dessert with the classic summer flavor of peaches and cream. Other berries such as blackberries or strawberries can be substituted if fresh raspberries are not available.

Chocolate Icebox Cake

As its name implies, chocolate icebox cake is served chilled. Like buttermilk cookie salad, it's suitable for adult gatherings, but not because it contains buttermilk that imparts a sour note -- it contains coffee liqueur and espresso powder! It's complex flavors are sophisticated enough to satisfy adult palates, and it can be successfully paired with chicken, pork, or beef. This dessert needs to be chilled for at least eight hours before serving to ensure that all flavors have properly settled.

Brownie Pudding

This dessert is a mixture between chocolate brownies and chocolate pudding -- it's only baked long enough for the outer portion to develop a classic brownie texture, leaving the interior resembling pudding. Vanilla ice cream is a must with this dessert, and because it's gooey, messy, and super sweet, it's perfect for pairing with barbecued hot dogs and hamburgers.