Decoding Your Personality Based on Your BBQ Plate Choices

If you’re from the South, you know that people take their barbecue very seriously, from which restaurants to wait in line for to what type of sauce they prefer. While we have a specific list of the top barbecue places, we understand that customers like to stay with their favorites and, more importantly, what’s on their plate.

What you get at a BBQ place can vary depending on the side dishes—which include saucy baked beans, creamy potato salad, ham-infused greens, and other vague “vegetable” interpretations—and the smoked meat choices, which vary widely by state. Furthermore, regardless of side dish selection, cornbread and pickles are always served.

Southerners are a distinct group, and they prefer what they like without apology. In that spirit, here’s what your BBQ plate order reveals about you.

Pulled Pork Sandwich With Mac & Cheese and Collard Greens

Decoding Your Personality Based on Your BBQ Plate Choices

If you pull up and order these oldies, you’re sure to get a nod of admiration. It’s the type of plate that will never let you down because it has something for everyone: spicy, cheesy, tangy, and vinegary. You are not here to take risks, which is not a bad thing. Plus, adding something green never hurts, even if we all know those collards contain ham hock.

While some may argue that ordering a sandwich is unnecessary when you can simply order a piece of bread on the side, there’s something so perfect about how a potato bun soaks up all the delicious juices of pulled pork and, what should be, a tangy vinegar sauce, especially if you’re from South Carolina, where whole-hog pork barbecue and mustard-based and vinegar sauces reign supreme.

Beef Brisket + Pinto Beans + Cole Slaw

Decoding Your Personality Based on Your BBQ Plate Choices

This is how Texans would describe the “only way to eat barbecue.” It’s simple, yet quite effective. There are no frills because a good barbecue should not require them, and you will die knowing that.

However, you’re not too proud to order a side of frito pie or a link of jalapeño cheese sausage. While we find that spicy-sweet tomato-based sauces reign supreme at restaurants with plates like this one, you’re probably among those who believe that no sauce is required at all.

You’re a principled person who understands that if you don’t have a decision by the time you get to the counter at a respected establishment, you’ll be told to leave. You also know to arrive well before opening time, should the exquisite brisket sell out.

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Smoked chicken + green beans + banana pudding

Decoding Your Personality Based on Your BBQ Plate Choices

You’re displaying your Alabama origins with this plate, which is ridiculously Southern in design. While we all know you’d rather have mac and cheese most days, the Alabama white BBQ sauce, which occasionally comes with smoked chicken, is creamy enough to mix well with a side dish like braised green beans.

You’re a fan of traditional barbecue, so you’re not skipping the banana pudding. Your Southern grandma would be proud, as long as you reminded her that her recipe is still better. Like most orders on this list, it’s incomplete without a side of cornbread, yet you’re as accustomed to it as the styrofoam cup of sweet tea. There is no need to address it.

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Pork Ribs plus Potato Salad and Baked Beans

Decoding Your Personality Based on Your BBQ Plate Choices

You’re the type of person who gets angry when someone tries to order a salad (or any green vegetable) at your favorite barbecue restaurant. A traditionalist at heart with a fondness for excess, what you call a perfect plate are these two meaty side dishes and dry-rubbed ribs that fall clean off the bone with each bite. Sure, it could appear that you lack originality, but you simply know what you prefer.

You’re most likely a Memphis-style BBQ fan by birth, so seeing barbecue spaghetti on the menu won’t bother you, and you’ll defend the unique delicacy against anyone who tries to argue otherwise. You don’t usually order dessert because the sweet sauce on the table is plenty.

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Loaded BBQ Baked Potato + A Cup of Chili

Decoding Your Personality Based on Your BBQ Plate Choices

How does it feel to be uninterested? That’s what most people are thinking as you throw your five-pound tray across the room. It takes a daring barbecue restaurant to provide loaded baked potatoes covered with smoked meat and everything but the kitchen sink, but there are lots of nothing-fancy, old-school places in tiny towns that serve up massive spuds.

You don’t feel trapped in the box of the traditional BBQ plate, therefore you don’t fit in, even if your great-uncle describes your plate as a souped-up Wendy’s order. Who doesn’t enjoy a buttery baked potato covered with smoky meat? Some people are secretly envious as they watch you dunk into the over-the-top dish.

Read More: The Brown Hotel Has Kentucky’s Best Hot Brown, Claims Southern Living Readers


There are endless permutations and combinations to savor at Southern BBQ establishments, and we couldn’t possibly cover them all. To all those who enjoy burned ends, boudin, wings, and even BBQ salads, we still see and admire you. Keep doing what you’re doing and let us know what you think is the correct order.


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