Epic Eateries & Sweeteries – Our Reader’s Recommendations for Epic BBQ!!!

We think that it goes without saying that barbecue is perhaps the ultimate North American summer food, with regional styles as diverse as the people that love to eat it.  Whether you love smoked brisket, sticky ribs, pulled pork, chicken, or burnt ends and everything in between, these were our reader’s recommendations for the best places to add to your foodie bucket list to get your barb-be-que on, for those that don’t like to lick your fingers, we recommend you take a few extra napkins.


B.T.’s Smokehouse
Sturbridge, MA, USA

This roadside BBQ Joint was founded in 2007 and has been servicing amazing barbecue ever since and has been named the #1 BBQ joint in New England. 

Brian Treitman and his team pays homage to the regional BBQ joints that scatter the southern states. Wherever you are from you have your favorite BBQ joint. In most places BBQ is at least as important as religion if not more so. BBQ is not just firing up the grill and slappin’ on a steak, it is a culture, a way of life, and the B.T.’s Smokehouse will help you live your best life with amazing BBQ in New England. They proudly serve fine quality natural meats that have been dry rubbed and slow smoked for up to 24 hours with local cherry and hickory woods.  

From their humble beginnings as a roadside trailer to their current restaurant spaces; their passion and love for food is something they hope you will feel and taste in every bite of their food. The smile on their customer’s faces and silent tables with the occasional moan and sounds of smacking lips, are the reasons why they do what they do.

In the mood for chicken, well they recently opened B.T.’s Fried Chicken and BBQ in Worcester, MA and have a concession stand at Polar Park home to the WooSox, the AAA affiliate of the Red Sox.

Brisket is what they have become famous for, and according to our readers their brisket rueben is probably one of the best sandwiches you will ever put in your mouth!!! 

When chatting with Treitman he says, “I try to cook my BBQ the way you think BBQ should taste. When you think about a pork rib, in your mind it is tender, succulent, ready to fall off the bone with a little smoke and glazed with a flavorful, spiced, sweet sauce. You want to lick your fingers – no need for a napkin. You want to dip the bone into the drippings that are left and then suck it dry. That’s the way I try to cook,” and for that reason our readers thank them and recommend them for your BBQ fix.

 

Baba Q’s Smoke & Grill
Labrador City, NL, Canada

Baba Q’s Smoke and Grill is the first authentic smokehouse in the province of Newfoudland and Labrador that is a family owned and operated restaurant that employs 35 staff giving the utmost dining experience to their customers.  They use traditional methods of smoking meat by using our own in-house dry rubs which is made with 13 herbs and spices and their very own Baba Q’s BBQ sauce which is bourbon based.  Baba Q’s Pitmaster is also a diverse chef that specializes in fusion style cooking that touches the taste buds of customers that are looking for something different than their smoked food selection.  Some of these specialties include Brazilian skewers, Mediterranean chicken, pastas, gourmet soups, fish, lamb, and rib eye steaks.

Their large cuts of meat that they use are pork shoulders and brisket which are smoked in the smoker for 12 to 15 hours over Maplewood.  This is used for their delicious pulled pork, brisket meals and Montreal smoked meat sandwiches.  Baba Q’s also use other flavours of wood like Cherrywood, Applewood, and Hickory for the rest of their cuts of meats.

Their cozy restaurant is a hit with all of their guests as they have created a rugged and rustic atmosphere, but let’s be honest the customers are coming here for the amazing food! 

Baba Q’s does offer the total experience as their bartenders are mixologists by trade and create some of the best cocktails in the area, from your classics like the Negroni to their signature specialty Martinis and cocktails like their Burnt Orange Sour Martini.  Plus, they have a large selection of draught and bottle beers, from IPA’s to lagers.  

So, if you are ever in the Labrador City area please stop by and say hello to the Baba Q’s family and try some of their delicious food as they love to serve, feed and see the happy smiles on their customers faces everyday and the reason they have our readers recommending them to their fellow foodies.

 

Boneheads BBQ
Halifax, NS, Canada

Nova Scotia is historically known for having some of the best seafood in the world however, Cindy Wheatley and her team at Boneheads BBQ are changing that one brisket at a time.

Often referred to as ‘Halifax’s hidden gem,’ Boneheads BBQ has customers feeling like they have been transported to the southern region of the United States where barbeque connoisseurs embrace their passion for this form of cooking that features a distinctive smoky tasting meat and have their taste buds delighted with authentic, mouth-watering flavours of Southern style BBQ.  

Cindy might be a Nova Scotia girl, but she is also a certified judge of Kansas City barbeque and her love of barbeque stems from road trips she took with her mother when she was growing up where she says she quickly became fascinated by the world of barbeque. In fact, she still has the backyard oil drum smoker that she purchased years ago when her interest was first peaked.

Boneheads is committed to cooking in true, authentic Southern barbeque style.  Their secret is cooking with nice hardwood, at low heat, with “A whole lotta patience.” Cindy shared with us that, “Proper smokehouse bar-b-que is a slow process, this style of cooking demands up to a full day of cooking to produce meat that is moist, tender and full of smoky flavour.” Trust us and our readers, this BBQ delivers and then some.

It might have taken a while for customers to embrace the concept of Southern barbeque-style counter service in Halifax, but one try and they will be coming back for some of the best BBQ in Canada according to our readers.  

Whether it is Bonehead’s best-selling pulled pork, beef brisket, smoked chicken or any of their delicious sides, you will not be disappointed by whatever you select, but don’t take our word for it try it for yourself the next time that you are in Halifax.

 

Davila’s BBQ
Seguin, TX, USA

Barbecue is a sacred language with many dialects, and the South Texas flair of Davila’s BBQ speaks like no other. 

In 1959, Davila’s BBQ was first opened by Raul Davila in an old, abandoned schoolhouse in Seguin, Texas and based all his recipes on his deep Mexican American roots and traditions of their family. He passed the secrets of his smoked barbecue to his son Edward who then passed them along to his son Adrian. 

Over sixty years later, Davila’s BBQ has continued to grow and is nationally recognized as one of the top BBQ places in Texas by many publications and not surprisingly recommended as a favorite among our readers for one of the best BBQ Joints is North America.

Adrian Davila, award-winning third generation pitmaster continues to lead the restaurant and specializes in authentic Texas barbecue with a uniquely Latin American twist. Davila keeps the tradition of the vaqueros, the Latin American cattle herders who once roamed the plains of Texas and Mexico, alive in the restaurant, with dishes like his authentic Texas-style barbacoa, a recipe Davila grew up eating with tortillas on his family’s ranch. Their mesquite-smoked beef brisket, pork ribs, lamb ribs and more stand apart and highlight the flavors as well as the stories of the Tejano community.

 

Gates Bar-B-Que
Kansas City, MO, USA

HI, MAY I HELP YOU” Gates Bar-B-Que’s signature greeting; that is what you will hear as you enter any of the now five Gates Bar-B-Q restaurants.  Founder George W. Gates opened the first Gates Bar-B-Q joint in 1946 at 19th & Vine Street during the time of segregation in Kansas City.  1956 was the year the first “Ground Up” restaurant was built.  Since that time, Gates Bar-B-Q has grown to a family chain of five restaurants in the Greater Kansas City Metropolitan area.  You will see the distinguished “Struttin Man” in full tuxedo and top hat as the Gates logo and trademark serving you with style and a friendly smile.  Ollie Gates, George Gates’ son and second generation pitmaster is president and CEO of the Gates Corporation.

From the moment you exit your car to the entrance of the restaurant doors, as you walk into the Gates Bar-B-Q restaurant, your senses will be heightened.  You will smell the distinctive mixed aroma of hickory barbecue smoke, see the pit, and watch as friendly personnel serves warm, smokey, flavorful Gates ribs, chicken, sausage, beef, ham, turkey and pork.  You may feel a little rushed to order but take your time and enjoy the Gates Bar-B-Q experience.  Dine-in or carry out; the choice is yours and it is delicious either way.

Gates Bar-B-Q is celebrating its 75th Anniversary in October 2021 and is one of the oldest and most authentic Bar-B-Q restaurants in Kansas City.  Ollie Gates was recently inducted into the American Royal Barbecue Hall of Fame.  Mr. Gates is involved in community activities and has been recognized many times for business accomplishments, volunteering for special jobs and services, and philanthropy.  Mr. Gates has had a tremendous impact on the Bar-B-Q Community, staying true to the process of authentic barbecuing.

Our readers tell us if you love delicious Bar-B-Q then you must try the mouth-watering and distinct smokey flavor of Gates Bar-B-Q.  However, if you can’t come to Kansas City, Gates Bar-B-Q’s sauces and seasonings are available from their online store at Gatesbbq.com.

 

Iron Grate BBQ
Milwaukee, WI

Established in 2015 by chef-owner, Aaron Patin, Iron Grate BBQ Co. specializes in preparing outstanding wood-smoked meats and sides. Located on Milwaukee’s south side, this local gem serves up a variety of meats, including brisket, pork shoulder, hot links and much more, that are all meticulously smoked in house by their pitmaster using two 1,000-gallon smoker tanks named Hank and Nico.

All of Iron Grate’s menu items are southern inspired and offers a range of options, from quick on-the-go sandwiches to combos that can feed a large family and then some, you will be sure to find something to satisfy any of your BBQ needs.

For the BBQ aficionado, the ‘must try’s’ are the brisket, rubbed with house made spice mixes then smoked for 12 hours, and Iron Grate’s own Milwaukee Rib, a special cut of spare rib with the belly attached. Be sure to pair any meal with one of their house made beverages or cocktails to round out your dining experience that is worthy of a recommendation from our readers for one of the best BBQ joints and a must try.

You can see their full menu and place orders in advance at: www.irongratebbq.com

 

Laughing Sun Brewing
Bismarck, ND, USA

Everybody in the Bis-Man area knows Laughing Sun for their beer; the Bismarck-based brewery has been a staple of the North Dakota craft beer scene since 2012. Laughing Sun’s beer isn’t the only thing drawing crowds though – their BBQ is the stuff of legend in the area. From St. Louis-style ribs and brisket to house made pretzels and fresh smoked wings, Laughing Sun’s BBQ menu is chock-full of crowd pleasers. You’ll want to make sure you load up on plenty of sides (like brisket baked beans or fan fave Mac & Cheese), because this is barbecue after all, and sides are half the battle.

Their most popular menu item is their Brisket smoked over Pecan & Oak for over 12 hours. However, our readers tell us that the MUST TRY Menu item would be their smoked wings (made with sweet tea brine and their house rub with sage) so make sure to order them on your next visit. 

 

LC’s Bar-B-Q
Kansas City, MO, USA

Founded in 1986 by L.C. Richardson, when he started smoking meat in a steel drum outside before moving things to his iconic pit inside, has become one of the premier destinations in Kansas City’s barbecue-obsessed scene. LC’s is well off the beaten path; it’s known for its hole-in-the wall aesthetics and amazing BBQ. Food is piled high on foam plates and the indoor smoker has customers leaving with a smoky scent along with a BBQ sauce stain or two and if they are lucky a full belly of brisket, pork and poultry.

Tausha Hammett, Richardson’s granddaughter, has helped out at LC’s since she was 12 and continues LC’s BBQ legacy.  While LC’s never grew into a big chain like some other local BBQ joints, it has long been a must go destination for BBQ connoisseurs in Kansas City and beyond. It’s also become a must-stop for many fans heading to or leaving Chiefs and Royals games nearby and we can see why. There was nothing fancy about the atmosphere or the presentation, but the food is absolutely amazing as we can see why our readers have recommended LC’s for epic BBQ.

This no-frills establishment is known for having consistently outstanding burnt ends, but they are also known for its smoked wings, thick-cut fries, and overstuffed sandwiches, which arrive drenched in sauce and absolutely delicious according to our readers.  

Their barbecued meat is served by the pound, alongside a range of sandwiches and sides. That’s about it for the menu, simple but delicious. If you’re after fancier BBQ food then you’re better to head elsewhere, but if you want an explosion of flavour then look no further than LC’s.

You are going to get messy picking up juicy, fatty, crusty smoked bits off your plate with your bare hands before you know it.  So, make sure that you have plenty of paper towels with you as you are going to need them.

 

Lewis Barbecue
Charleston, SC, USA

In 2016 Pitmaster John Lewis of Austin, Texas fame, brought his signature Central Texas barbecue to Charleston with Lewis Barbecue, his first restaurant in the city’s emerging Upper Peninsula and it has grown in a short space of time to be considered among the best in the country.

Pitmaster John Lewis has a cult like following and is seriously devoted to his tradecraft. Starting the day at 4am to prime his hand welded smokers, this is serious dedication and it’s no wonder people flock from across the state and beyond to queue to get a taste of the end product.

John’s signature dishes include his award-winning mouth-watering South Carolina smoked brisket, sausages and ribs.

Lewis is known for his dedication to “perfecting” the art of barbecue by customizing his own smokers and for his Texas Hot Guts and Hatch Green ChileBBQ Sauce. 

Lewis is looking to open a second location in Greenville, SC in 2022 spotlighting his creative brining, rubbing, and smoking techniques.  So regardless of which location you have the opportunity to experience our readers just recommend that you have this mouth-watering BBQ on your food bucket list.

 

Peg Leg Porker BBQ
Nashville, TN, USA

Nashville native, Pitmaster Carey Bringle, has been competing in barbecue contests for more than 27 years, and he has the blue ribbons to prove it. With a deep southern background built around family values and valuing a good meal, Bringle founded Peg Leg Porker in 2013. 

Peg Leg Porker was named after Bringle himself and his greatest win, a cancer battle that he triumphed at the age of 17. With his win, he lost his leg, which led him to create a new name and only added more fire to his passion for success. Upon opening its doors in the heart of Nashville, Peg Leg Porker was quickly named one of the hottest BBQ joints in the country by media outlet after media outlet and is considered Nashville’s Original BBQ Standard! 

Over the years, they have been recognized by Food Network, The Travel Channel, BBC, Southern Living Magazine, Texas Monthly, GQ, Garden and Gun Magazine and now Spotlight on Business Magazine.  Plus, Peg Leg Porker has won numerous awards and been honored to cook with some of the top chefs in the world. Bringle was asked to cook at the prestigious James Beard House two times.

Peg Leg Porker is known for its juicy, smoked-to-perfection pork ribs drenched with a spicy dry rub after being cooked and ultra-tender pulled pork.  All their sides are homemade yet playful like Kool-Aid Pickles and pimento cheese from a secret family recipe from Bringle’s grandmother. 

Our readers tell us that all things Peg Leg feel and taste like home, with down to the southern hospitality which is one you won’t forget and why they are recommended as one of the best BBQ joints, so check them out the next time you are in the Music City.

 

The Moose Shed BBQ
Canmore, AB, Canada

The Moose Shed BBQ is a BBQ business based in Canmore, Alberta located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. They specialise in low and slow Texas style BBQ but like to throw in some fusion and live fire items as well. The Moose Shed BBQ is a dream that they have been working on for around 3 years now, after selling their hog roast catering business in the UK and moving to Canada. The culinary flame still burned bright, so they started on social media, posting content to showcase their passion for BBQ and live fire cooking. 

After gaining some popularity they then branched into retail stores, currently in both Canmore and the famous Banff Alberta, with their in house made BBQ spices, and recently their new chilli jellies. Following this they decided it was time to put their brisket where their mouth is and opened their mobile food truck and started sharing their amazing BBQ with others.  They are now able to bring their content to life and provide their BBQ at various great venues in and around Canmore, focusing on 2 local breweries and the Canmore Farmers Market.

If you have the opportunity to catch up with Luke Donald and his team, our readers recommend that you have the brisket, which is smoked for 14 hrs and tentatively taken care of throughout the night and has become a staple of theirs in Canmore and thankfully serve it at nearly every event. However, in saying that, they also have various other popular items and are always working on new creations to keep the menu fresh and exciting for themselves and their customers. 

We hope that you have a chance to try some of the amazing BBQ from our readers recommendations and please let us know about your favourite BBQ joints as we would love to share them with our readers so they can get them on their foodie bucket list.

 

May the smoke be with you this summer. 

by Lee Ann Atwater