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Nobody does barbecue better than the USA, and when it comes to finding the perfect spot for tucking into tender, juicy brisket, and fall-off-the-bone baby back ribs, there are some places that stand out above the rest. From famous barbecue houses in Memphis to off-the-beaten-track eateries that offer housemade sausage and spicy chicken wings and desserts heaving with chocolate, here are some of the top restaurants, eateries, roadside shacks, and cafés to head to for mouthwatering barbecue.
Ace Biscuit & Barbecue
Tucked into an unprepossessing brick building in Charlottesville’s Rose Hill neighborhood, Ace Biscuit & Barbecue is a humble, homey spot that serves all-day breakfast platters, gourmet sandwiches, barbecue with from-scratch sauces and local craft beer. A blackboard menu showcases the daily offerings, which include southern-style delights such as bacon, pulled pork, Mexican chorizo, country ham, fried green tomatoes, buttermilk fried chicken, and a wide assortment of different cheeses. Breakfast dishes include chicken and waffles, flapjacks, and homemade biscuits and gravy, and signature dinner plates range from belly-on-the-bone spareribs to blackened brisket. A selection of craft beers by the bottle and on tap are available, along with casual wines and spirits. Ace Biscuit & Barbecue is open for breakfast and lunch, seven days a week.
711 Henry Ave, Charlottesville, VA 22903, Phone: 434-202-1403
Little Miss BBQ
Little Miss BBQ is a quirky eatery with a retro vibe that specializes in Central Texas-style barbecue, smoked meat dishes, and traditional sides. Smoked and slow-cooked over Arizona oak and pecan wood and served meat market-style, freshly grilled meats, and homemade sausages are served by weight on butcher paper with pickles, onions, and home-baked white bread. Prime meats on the menu included brisket, pork spare ribs and pulled pork, turkey breast, pastrami, and house-made sausage, with sides of jalapeño cheddar grits, potato salad, coleslaw, and beans adding the finishing touch. The food is accompanied by a range of beverages such as craft and draft beers, casual wines, and soft drinks. Little Miss BBQ is open for lunch and dinner, Tuesday through Saturday.
4301 E. University Dr. Phoenix, AZ 85034, 602-437-1177
Located in Waterbury, Prohibition Pig is a hip joint that serves finger-licking barbecue and Southern-style small plates along with New England’s largest and best-curated selection of craft beer, old-fashioned cocktails and casual wins from around the world. The locally-owned and operated restaurant uses the freshest, highest quality ingredients and regionally-sourced produce such as grass-fed beef and lamb and naturally-raised pork and chicken. The menu features signature plates such as brisket, pulled pork, chicken wings, hearty sandwiches, and barbecue platters of mixed meats, and is accompanied by a wide selection of drinks from a fully stocked bar that lines one side of the rustic dining space. Prohibition Pig is open for dinner, seven nights a week, and brunch and lunch on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
23 S Main St, Waterbury Village Historic District, VT 05676, Phone: 802-244-4120
RayRay’s Hog Pit
Launched as a food truck in Clintonville in 2009, Ray Ray’s Hog Pit serves hardwood-smoked meats and simple sides from a year-round food truck between Thursday and Sunday. Based on their farm, Anderson Farms in Granville, Ohio, Ray Ray’s has more than 14 food truck locations around the city, including in the Central Ohio market and at the Land Grant Brewing Company in Franklinton. Signature items on the menu include the Mangalista brat burger, dry-rubbed ribs, pulled pork, and crispy brisket, hearty sandwiches, and sides. Ray Ray’s Hog Pit is open for lunch and dinner, Thursday through Sunday.
2619 N High St, Columbus, OH 43202, Phone: 614-753-1191
Saw’s BBQ has been a Birmingham institution since 2009, serving perfectly butchered cuts of pork, brisket, chicken, and lamb dry-rubbed with a unique combination of herbs and spices and barbecued over hickory, oak and pecan wood. The snug and cozy barbecue joint is owned by Mike Wilson who creates a menu with signature dishes such as Carolina style smoked pulled pork served with a homemade sauce of mayo, cider vinegar, and lemon juice; smoked chicken, sausage and baby back ribs, and sides of stuffed and baked potatoes, macaroni and cheese, beans, deviled eggs, and coleslaw. Saw’s BBQ has four locations, including in Homewood, on Street South in Avondale, Crestline Park, and in Southside. Saw’s BBQ is open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week.
1008 Oxmoor Rd, Homewood, AL 35209, Phone: 205-879-1937
Opened Corktown in 2005 next to the iconic and abandoned Michigan Central Station, Slows Bar-B-Q is one of Detroit’s top spots for mouthwatering, finger-licking good barbecue. The destination joint has a cozy, rustic dining space and serves all the best barbecue hits ranging from blackened brisket to pulled pork and tender baby back ribs, as well as few local specialties like a pulled pork sandwich with mustard BBQ sauce, onion, and cheddar known as The Lafayette. The food is accompanied by 36 craft beer taps, and casual wines, which can be found at all of their locations from Cass in Midtown Detroit to the Downtown Market of Grand Rapids. Slows Bar-B-Q is open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week.
2138 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI 48216, Phone: 313-962-9828
Smokin Pig BBQ
Established in 2013 as the Smokin’ Pig: Legendary Rib Joint, the Smokin' Pig BBQ chain of restaurants has four locations in Pendleton, Easley, Anderson, and Williamston, all of which offer classic American staples and low-and-slow cooked meats such as brisket, dry-rubbed ribs pulled pork and chicken. Owned by Chef Jo-an Raagas and Annie Beldia, the restaurant boasts a charming location with a backyard that has beautiful panoramic views of the city and a sprawling golf course. Specialty smoked meat items are slow-cooked over a combination of hickory and applewood in a charcoal brick oven creating a perfect balance of earthy flavors and a hint of smoke. Smokin’ Pig serves all-day breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as in-house catering for special events of up to 30 people. Smokin' Pig BBQ is open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week.
3834 US-301, Riverview, FL 33578, Phone: 813-512-2500
Smoque BBQ is a popular smokehouse in Chicago’s Old Irving Park neighborhood that is renowned for serving low and slow-cooked meats and exceptional sides in a simply furnished space with community tables. Founded by five friends and barbecue lovers, Smoque (smok) BBQ has a friendly neighborhood vibe infused with the aromas of slow-cooking beef brisket, 12-hour smoked pork, dry-rubbed baby back and St. Louis-style pork ribs, chicken, and Texas-made sausages laced with garlic and spices. Meats are served with homemade barbecue sauce, and simple sides such as potatoes, fries, coleslaw, and beans, and desserts include peach cobbler. Smoque has garnered a large and loyal following of BBQ devotees and is consistently ranked among Chicago’s best restaurants and best BBQ spots in the country. Smoque BBQ is open for lunch and dinner, Tuesday through Sunday.
3800 N Pulaski Rd, Chicago, IL 60641, Phone: 773-545-7427
Boasting two locations in Central Indiana, Squealers Barbeque is a staple in the Indiana barbeque scene, serving authentic smoked barbeque made from fresh, locally sourced produce from Delphi-based pork processor Indiana Packers. The restaurant is renowned for serving some of the best southern-style barbecue in the country, using only the finest cuts of meat, dry-rubbed and seasoned to perfection and slow-cooked over a blend of cherry and hickory wood in their customized 30-foot, fully-enclosed cooking trailer and smoking wagon. The restaurant also sells a range of in-store merchandise and gift packs. The first Squealers dine-in barbeque restaurant was opened in Mooresville in 2001 and the second at West 86th Street in 2004, both of which have full-service bars offering a wide range of libations. Squealers Barbeque is open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week.
86th & Zionsville Road, Phone: 317-871-7427
Stanley’s Famous Pit Barbecue
Stanley’s Famous Pit Barbecue is an unpretentious eatery and bar with lovely outdoor seating that has been serving authentic pit-smoked barbecue for over 50 years. The oldest operating Mom & Pop BBQ Joint in Tyler, Stanley’s serves a variety of slow-cooked meats such as beef brisket, perfectly cooked pork, baby back ribs, turkey, chicken, and homemade sausage and pulled pork sandwiches and tacos. Sides range from stuffed potatoes, coleslaw, Frito pies, and several vegetarian items, and a full-service bar on the outdoor patio serves a range of beverages, including Texas craft beers, casual wines, and over 70 American whiskeys, bourbons, and ryes. Stanley’s Famous Pit Barbecue is open for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner, Monday through Saturday.
525 S Beckham Ave, Tyler, TX 75702, Phone: 903-593-0311
Sweet Lucy’s Smokehouse – very little info
Sweet Lucy’s Smokehouse is one of Philly's best barbecue spots, boasting a warm, rustic ambiance and serving a range of slow-cooked meats such as hickory-smoked ribs, blackened brisket, pork hocks and hinds, chicken, turkey, and homemade sausage. Sides include housemade cornbread, stuffed potatoes, coleslaw, and desserts are made from scratch daily. The cuisine is accompanied by a range of craft and draft beers on tap and by the bottle, casual wines, and a selection of bourbons, whiskeys and ryes.
7500 State Rd, Philadelphia, PA 19136, Phone: 215-333-9663
Hailed as one of the best BBQ restaurants in America, The Joint in New Orleans may lie slightly out of the BBQ Belt, but it packs a punch when it comes to award-winning, perfectly cooked barbecue. Owned by Pete and Jenny Breen, the restaurant in Bywater features an eclectic, cypress-paneled dining space and a full-service bar and serves a menu of signature barbecue plates such as seared-to-perfection brisket, pulled pork, sausages, pulled pork sandwiches, and tender pork ribs. Meats are smoked in-house, portions are massive, and desserts are epic – think legendary pecan, key lime, and peanut butter pies. The cuisine is accompanied by a range of craft and draft beers on tap and by the bottle, casual wines, and a selection of bourbons, whiskeys and ryes.
701 Mazant St, New Orleans, LA 70117, Phone: 504-949-3232
The Salt Lick
The Salt Lick is a Texan barbecue institution that is renowned for serving Central style, dry-rubbed and slow-cooked meats over pecan and oak wood such as beef brisket, pork ribs, homemade sausage, and turkey and chicken. Located in the heart of Texas Hill Country, the family-owned and operated restaurant draw inspiration from the crackling campfires surrounded by wagon trains enjoyed by the pioneers of the mid-1800s, offering a similar experience. The restaurant has a warm dining space with rustic décor and wood accents, hosts live music outdoors, and is a cash-only and BYOB establishment. The Salt Lick is open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week.
18300 Farm to Market Rd 1826, Driftwood, TX 78619, Phone: 512-858-4959
German for ‘fat pig,’ Fette Sau is a collaboration between Stephen Starr and New York restaurateur Joe Carroll in Philadelphia that specializes in high-quality, locally sourced meats that are dry-rubbed and smoked on the premises and sold by the pound. The indoor/outdoor spot in Fishtown boasts an industrial feel with big communal picnic tables and a pretty outdoor patio with hanging string lights and serves some of the best barbecue meat in the city, including brisket, pork ribs, organic chicken and hot Italian sausage, as well as hearty sandwiches, salads and simple sides. The food is accompanied by a range of craft beers by the bottle and on tap, ciders, and a selection of more than 100 types of bourbon. Fette Sau is open for dinner seven nights a week and weekend lunch.
1208 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125, Phone: 215-391-4888
Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q
Founded by Texas-raised twins Jonathan and Justin Fox after feeding 250 people at a backyard house party, Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q soon grew into a popular catering business working out of Smith’s Olde Bar seven days a week. The DeKalb Avenue restaurant near downtown’s Little Five Points was opened in 2007 and has been serving the neighborhood mouthwatering barbecue in a warm and welcoming atmosphere ever since. The restaurant features a cozy dining space and a picturesque patio where diners can tuck into tasty slow-roasted ribs, chicken-fried pork ribs, pulled-pork sandwiches with crispy okra, Brunswick stew, and Tater-Tots covered in brisket chili. The cuisine is accompanied by seven rotating drafts and 45 local bottled beers, such as SweetWater and Terrapin. Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q is open for brunch, lunch, and dinner, seven days a week.
1238 DeKalb Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30307, Phone: 404-577-4030
Joining Brooklyn’s current BBQ renaissance is Hometown Bar-B-Que, whose smoked brisket, smoked lamb, hot chicken wings, Jamaican jerk spareribs, and beef-brisket is making a mark on the New York’s culinary scene. Tucked away near Red Hook on Brooklyn’s waterfront and boasting space for live music performances, Hometown Bar-B-Que is helmed by pitmaster Billy Durney, who creates a menu of finger-licking barbecue plates like lamb belly stuffed inside crusted bread and served with homemade cornbread, pickled daikon and carrots, and North Carolina–inspired baby back ribs served with meaty smoked pit beans. Other dishes include Texas-style brisket, smoked jerk chicken, and lamb belly banh mi, and the full-service bar serves draft beers like Smuttynose and Shiner Bock, a selection of American whiskeys such as Van Brunt Stillhouse, wines by the glass, and seasonal cocktails. The restaurant hosts live music on the weekends. Hometown Bar-B-Que is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday.
454 Van Brunt St, Brooklyn, NY 11231, Phone: 347-294-4644
J.R.'s Rhodehouse BBQ Pit
J.R.'s Rhodehouse BBQ Pit was established by Justin Rhodes in 2013, who decided to bring Texas-style barbecue to South Dakota. The family-friendly restaurant serves signature barbecue dishes such as seared-to-perfection brisket, pulled pork, homemade sausages, pulled pork sandwiches, and tender pork ribs, along with sides of coleslaw, potatoes, fries, and beans. A full-service bar serves a variety of beverages, including craft and draft beers by the bottle and the glass to casual wines from around the world and creative cocktails. J.R.'s Rhodehouse BBQ Pit is open for lunch and dinner, Thursday through Sunday.
7201 Infinity Dr, Summerset, SD 57718, Phone: 605-787-7070
Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que
Located inside a gas station in Kansas City, Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que is a family-friendly restaurant that specializes in slow-cooking, such as 15-hour slow-cooked brisket. Ranked among the nation’s top BBQ joints, the always-packed restaurant epitomizes the Kansas City style with slow-smoked meats such as beef brisket and the iconic pulled pork smothered in a thick, sweet, tomato-and-molasses-based sauce. The signature Smoky Joe combines both beef and pork on a soft, over-sized bu, and the food is accompanied by a selection of craft and draft beers, and casual wines. Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que is open for lunch and dinner, Monday through Saturday.
3002 W 47th St, Kansas City, KS 66103, Phone: 913-722-3366
JR's Barbeque is a family-owned and operated barbecue joint that serves melt-in-your-mouth Memphis-style meat in a cozy, family home-style atmosphere with artwork-adorned walls. Founded in 1998 in the heart of Culver City in California, JR’s Barbecue offers made-from-scratch dishes prepared using fresh, locally sourced ingredients such as grass-fed and naturally-raised meats, chicken and organic salad and vegetables. The Memphis-style menu features meats dry-rubbed with a custom blend of herbs and spices and cooked over a variety of woods, including mesquite, white oak, and pecan and served with their award-winning barbeque sauce. The food is accompanied by a range of beverages such as craft and draft beers, casual wines, and soft drinks. JR's Barbeque is open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week.
3055 S La Cienega Blvd #7314, Culver City, CA 90232, Phone: 310-837-6838
Bogart's Smokehouse is a cozy, down-home barbecue joint with Formica tables and a buzzing vibe that serves hot-off-the-grill barbecue and Memphis and St. Louis specialties. Pitmaster Skip Steele and general manager Niki Puto present a menu of sizzling meats ranging from smoky beef brisket and succulent pulled pork to moist turkey and apricot bruléed ribs. Loved by locals and visitors alike, the go-to-spot for outstanding barbecue, cold beer, and a friendly, welcoming atmosphere also serves decadent desserts and a wide range of beverages from craft and draft beers by the bottle and the glass to casual wines from around the world, and creative cocktails made with high-end spirits. Bogart's Smokehouse is open for brunch, lunch, and dinner, Wednesday through Saturday and brunch and lunch Sunday through Tuesday.
1627 S 9th St, St. Louis, MO 63104, Phone: 314-621-3107
Burn Co. BBQ
Founded in Tulsa, Oklahoma by Adam Myers and Robby Corcoran, Burn Co BBQ is a bustling barbecue spot that serves a variety of smoked meats with classic sides in laid-back quarters. Located in Tulsa's 18th and Boston neighborhood, Burn Co BBQ uses only the highest quality, freshest and locally sourced ingredients, such as grass-fed beef, naturally raised pork and chicken and organic salads and vegetables. Meats are cooked hot and fast on the grill and served with panache and style, and signature dishes include baby back ribs, pulled pork, chicken drumsticks, Polish sausage, fatty beef brisket, and smoked bologna, otherwise known as Oklahoma tenderloin. Sides range from fresh salads, potatoes, golden fries and coleslaw, and drinks include craft and draft beers by the bottle and the glass to casual wines from around the world, and creative cocktails. Burn Co BBQ is open for brunch and lunch Tuesday through Saturday.
1738 S Boston Ave, Tulsa, OK 74119, Phone: 918-574-2777
Central BBQ is a downtown BBQ joint that is renowned for serving the best barbecue in the city, which includes mouth-watering pork shoulder, tender baby back ribs, and heavily crusted brisket. Central has three Memphis outposts that draw both locals and visitors alike for their famous 14-plus-hour smoked pork shoulders, and some of the juiciest chopped pork sandwiches in the city. Other meaty delights on the menu include hot chicken wings, dry-rubbed, 24-hour-marinated smoky ribs, tender brisket, and an array of homemade sauces. Central BBQ is open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week.
2249 Central Ave, Memphis, TN 38104, Phone: 901-272-9377
Chaps Pit Beef
Chaps Pit Beef is a popular pit-beef outlet that serves Maryland’s best pit beef, turkey and pork, BBQ chicken, and succulent ribs, along with gourmet sandwiches and homestyle sides such as hand-cut fries, baked beans, green beans, coleslaw, potato salad. Located in a parking lot of a strip mall on Pulaski highway, the award-winning barbecue joint specializes in serving Baltimore pit beef, which can be enjoyed straight off the grill or packed into hearty sandwiches. The cozy dive also serves turkey, corned beef, and sausage sandwiches, along with a variety of craft beers, casual wines, and soft drinks. Chaps Pit Beef is open for brunch, lunch, and dinner, seven days a week.
5801 Pulaski Hwy, Baltimore, MD 21205, Phone: 410-483-2379
Founded in 1983 by John Stage as a stand selling finger-licking barbecue meals at motorcycle rallies, fairs, and festivals from a 55-gallon drum, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que has grown into one of New York’s top spots for a barbecue with several locations around town. Nestled in downtown Syracuse, the family-friendly restaurant still delivers consistently good barbecue such as blackened brisket, pulled pork, spicy chicken, and a range of sides such as collard greens, black beans, and rice or carrot raisin salad. Diners can tuck into barbecue and sides in a comfortable, laid -back setting and sip craft beers by the bottle or on tap and casual local and global wines. Dinosaur Bar-B-Que is open for brunch, lunch, and dinner, seven days a week.
604 Union St, Brooklyn, NY 11215, Phone: 347-429-7030
Eli’s BBQ is an award-winning barbecue spot with several locations around Cincinnati recognized by a sign with an outline of a pig that serves some of the best BBQ in America. Famous for their hickory-smoked ribs, Eli’s BBQ sees queues of people lining up every day for mouthwatering plates of ribs, hickory-smoked pork sandwiches topped with homemade BBQ sauce, succulent brisket, and sides of coleslaw, jalapeño cheddar grits, hand-cut fries and more. Food is ordered at the counter and served by friendly waitstaff on red plastic trays and can be paired with cold craft beers and soft drinks. Eli’s BBQ is open for brunch, lunch, and dinner, seven days a week.
3313 Riverside Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45226, Phone: 513-533-1957