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Saucy pork ribs sit on a metal tray with a side of round cornbread and a small cup of sauce. A giant bowl of mac and cheese is visible in the background.
Ribs from M&M BBQ
Bobby Shakes

Where to Eat Barbecue in and Around Boston

Brisket, ribs, and more

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Ribs from M&M BBQ
| Bobby Shakes

Sure, Boston's not exactly known for being a barbecue town, but there are still plenty of places to satisfy the craving if you can't get down South any time soon. Purists and barbecue newbies alike can debate endlessly about which local spots come closest to the real thing and which aren't worth your time, but here's a handy sampling of some of the well-loved Southern-style barbecue restaurants you can find in the Boston area, serving everything from Kansas City burnt ends to Texas brisket and plenty of other hunks of smoked meat.

The latest CDC guidance for vaccinated diners during the COVID-19 outbreak is here; dining out still carries risks for unvaccinated diners and workers. Please be aware of changing local rules, and check individual restaurant websites for any additional restrictions such as mask requirements. Find a local vaccination site here.

This map was originally published on June 13, 2016; it is updated periodically, and the date of the most recent update appears above.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Rusty Can

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6 Fruit St
Byfield, MA 01922
(978) 462-1204
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At the Rusty Can up on the North Shore, the ribs and brisket get top billing. Try them in plate form, fully loaded with white bread, cornbread and honey butter, pickles and onions, and a choice of two sides. Or do the North Shore thing and get a three-way brisket sandwich in the style of the region’s classic three-way roast beef, topped with barbecue sauce, mayo, and cheese.

Takeout is available.

2. Blue Ribbon BBQ

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908 Massachusetts Ave
Arlington, MA 02476
(781) 648-7427
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The beloved counter-service barbecue restaurant and catering operation Blue Ribbon, around for over 25 years, has locations in Arlington, West Newton, and Dedham, serving up pit-smoked favorites in the style of a variety of regions: Kansas City burnt ends, Texas brisket, North Carolina pulled pork, St. Louis ribs, etc. No-frills sides (coleslaw, mashed potatoes, and the like) round out meals, but save room for a slice of pecan or key lime pie. Note: no booze.

Takeout and delivery are available.

Overhead closeup view of a black plastic takeout container stuffed with mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, pulled pork with barbecue sauce, and cornbread
Blue Ribbon pulled pork
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

3. The Porch Southern Fare & Juke Joint

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175 Rivers Edge Dr
Medford, MA 02155
(781) 874-9357
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Medford’s sizable barbecue joint and music venue opened in summer 2019, a move from its original space in Wakefield. Chef and owner Jonathan Post, a Nashville native, serves pulled pork, Texas brisket, St. Louis spare ribs, and more by the tray, accompanied by sides such as smoked green beans, cheese grits, and collards. There’s a packed live music calendar, including a Wednesday residency by local funk favorite the B3 Kings.

Takeout is available.

A plate of glossy red ribs with sides of slaw and pickles at the Porch in Medford.
Ribs at the Porch
Brian Samuels

4. Redbones Barbecue

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55 Chester St
Somerville, MA 02144
(617) 628-2200
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Nearly 35 years old, Redbones has cemented its popularity in Somerville's Davis Square. In non-pandemic times, it's perpetually crowded, and the ambiance is fun, particularly at the downstairs bar, Underbones. Redbones's strength lies in its lively vibe and solid beer list. The restaurant doesn't really specialize in any one aspect of barbecue; there's a giant menu that has a little bit of something for everyone, so it's an easy choice if there's a big group to feed. Try the banana pudding for dessert.

Takeout and delivery are available.

5. Blackstrap BBQ

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47A Woodside Ave
Winthrop, MA 02152
(617) 207-1783
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Founded over a decade ago by a couple of East Coast Grill alums, Blackstrap started out as a tiny space with a focus on takeout, but the restaurant has expanded into adjacent spaces over the years, adding a full bar and dining room. Blackstrap touches on different barbecue regions with Memphis-style dry rub ribs, Texas-style brisket, and North Carolina-style pulled pork. The friendly crew also does catering.

Takeout and delivery are available.

6. Highland Fried

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1271 Cambridge St
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 714-4662
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As the name suggests, the star at Highland Fried — the Highland Kitchen sequel in the old East Coast Grill space — is the fried chicken. But that’s only a third of the equation at the restaurant, which also focuses on tiki and barbecue (and does a great job with each). From brisket to St. Louis-style ribs, there are a variety of options; try the meat in a combo with two sides and cornbread.

Takeout is available.

Overhead view of a tray of barbecue. Ribs, sides, and cornbread sit on red and white checkered paper on a metal tray on a wooden table.
Ribs, sides, and cornbread at Highland Fried
Highland Fried/Official Site

7. Smoke Shop BBQ

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1 Kendall Sq
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 577-7427
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Smoke Shop opened in Cambridge in 2016 thanks to Andy Husbands (who owned the now-defunct Tremont 647), a longtime barbecue devotee and fixture on the competitive circuit. His Kendall Square restaurant and its newer counterparts in Boston’s Fort Point, Somerville’s Assembly Row, and Cambridge’s Harvard Square feature big platters of meats, from burnt ends to ribs, piled high with sides. Don't miss the wings, coated in sticky-sweet agave and spices. On the beverage side, there's so much whiskey. Stay tuned for another new location at forthcoming West End food hall Hub Hall.

Takeout and delivery are available.

Two hands, wearing black gloves, hold a piece of barbecue meat above a wooden counter
Andy Husbands prepping meat at Smoke Shop’s original Cambridge location
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

8. Firefly's BBQ

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350 E Main St
Marlborough, MA 01752
(508) 357-8883
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This self-described "bodacious" barbecue joint has quite a following in Marlborough, where it serves up slow-smoked St. Louis ribs; dry-rubbed, smoked baby back ribs; brisket; and more. There’s live music, too, and Firefly’s also hosts private events and caters.

Takeout and delivery are available.

9. Larry J's BBQ Cafe

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600 D St
Boston, MA 02210
(617) 348-9800
Visit Website

Larry Jimerson closed down his Chelsea restaurant, Larry J's House of Q, in 2012 and quickly relocated to Boston's Seaport, opening up Larry J's BBQ Cafe — a small counter-service shack with no seats inside. (He eventually opened another location in Revere, too, but it closed in early 2021.) Jimerson smokes his meats over apple and hickory wood, offering up ribs, smoked link sausage, smoked brisket, smoked turkey legs, and lots more.

Takeout is available.

10. Sweet Cheeks

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1381 Boylston St
Boston, MA 02215
(617) 266-1300
Visit Website

Tiffani Faison's lively, loud Fenway barbecue restaurant, Sweet Cheeks, serves everything from pork ribs to pulled chicken to brisket, and diners can't go wrong with any of the sides, many of which are vegetarian and most of which can be made gluten-free. Sweet Cheeks also offers a couple of fun desserts, like the giant Nutter Butter. Plus, everything about the restaurant's biscuits is true. Save room — one biscuit is roughly the size of a human face.

Sweet Cheeks has a full bar, and the beer selection is strong.

Takeout and delivery are available.

11. M&M BBQ

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1250 Massachusetts Ave
Dorchester, MA 02125
(617) 307-7674
Visit Website

Formerly known as M&M Ribs, M&M BBQ began as a food truck and catering operation before finding a home inside Dorchester Brewing Company in early 2020. Get the pork ribs, of course, but also try one of the sandwiches, which feature pulled pork, shredded beef brisket, fried chicken, or bratwurst.

Takeout is available.

Saucy pork ribs sit on a metal tray with a side of round cornbread and a small cup of sauce. A giant bowl of mac and cheese is visible in the background.
Ribs from M & M BBQ
Bobby Shakes

12. Tennessee’s BBQ

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341 Cochituate Rd
Framingham, MA 01701
(508) 626-7140
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With locations in Framingham, Braintree, and Peabody, this fast-casual group smokes meats over hickory, apple, and cherry wood, and the house barbecue sauce has a tomato base with a hint of chocolate. Lots of combos and bulk meats and sides are available.

Takeout and delivery are available.

13. Pit Stop BBQ

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888A Morton St
Mattapan, MA 02126
(617) 436-0485
Visit Website

This tiny takeout joint, which has been around for more than three decades, is a neighborhood icon. It’s only open Thursday through Saturday, but it’s worth planning around the schedule in order to get a taste of the ribs, brisket, chopped pork, and more. Don’t overlook the sides, especially the cornbread and baked beans.

Takeout and delivery are available.

A white and red paper takeout container is full of barbecue meat and sides
Pit Stop Barbecue
Business Owner/Yelp

14. Sarcastic Swine BBQ & Restaurant

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988 Bedford St
Abington, MA 02351
(781) 871-0033
Visit Website

This South Shore newcomer has been quickly building up a fanbase since opening in early 2019. It’s known for its sauce choices — there are about a dozen — and over-the-top dishes like a grilled cheese sandwich stuffed with pulled brisket, mac and cheese, and honey barbecue sauce. The cornbread, which comes with a choice of butters (whipped, cinnamon, or bacon), is a must.

Takeout and delivery are available.

saucy ribs and potato chips are served on a black plastic plate
Sarcastic Swine ribs
Sarcastic Swine/Official Site

15. B.T.'s Smokehouse

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392 Main St
Sturbridge, MA 01566
(508) 347-3188
Visit Website

Plan a little road trip 60 miles southwest of Boston to Sturbridge: B.T.'s Smokehouse is a worthy destination, featuring meats slow-smoked over apple and hickory, available in sandwiches, platters with sides and cornbread, and more. Watch for dishes like andouille dog bites and sticky rib tips, too. (Near Worcester? Check out the restaurant’s younger sibling, B.T.’s Fried Chicken & BBQ, which also features fried chicken, as the name suggests.)

Takeout is available.

Barbecue-style brisket sandwich and a side of fries on a metal tray
Sandwich and fries at B.T.’s Smokehouse
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

16. A La Esh

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366 S Main St
Sharon, MA 02067
(781) 806-5804
Visit Website

A La Esh, from the Simcha team, bills itself as Israeli-inspired Southern barbecue, incorporating traditional Middle Eastern spices into the mix and accompanying its brisket, smoked turkey, and more with sides like couscous mac and cheese and chamin beans. Be sure to try the Yemenite fried chicken, too. (Also look for A La Esh to pop up at the Cisco Brewers Beer Garden in Boston’s Seaport District in summer and fall 2021.)

Takeout and delivery are available.

A metal tray on a wooden surface is packed with barbecue: sliced brisket, a smoked turkey leg, pulled pork, and several sides.
A tray of barbecue and sides from A La Esh
Dave Dudek Studio

17. Kinfolks Award Winning BBQ

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289 Winthrop St
Taunton, MA 02780
(774) 409-4614
Visit Website

With food truck roots, Kinfolks now has two storefronts — one in Taunton and one in Easton. Start with the pulled pork, but don’t miss the fried chicken.

Takeout is available.

Kinfolks BBQ
Kinfolks BBQ
Kinfolks BBQ/Official Site

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1. Rusty Can

6 Fruit St, Byfield, MA 01922

At the Rusty Can up on the North Shore, the ribs and brisket get top billing. Try them in plate form, fully loaded with white bread, cornbread and honey butter, pickles and onions, and a choice of two sides. Or do the North Shore thing and get a three-way brisket sandwich in the style of the region’s classic three-way roast beef, topped with barbecue sauce, mayo, and cheese.

Takeout is available.

6 Fruit St
Byfield, MA 01922

2. Blue Ribbon BBQ

908 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02476
Overhead closeup view of a black plastic takeout container stuffed with mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, pulled pork with barbecue sauce, and cornbread
Blue Ribbon pulled pork
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

The beloved counter-service barbecue restaurant and catering operation Blue Ribbon, around for over 25 years, has locations in Arlington, West Newton, and Dedham, serving up pit-smoked favorites in the style of a variety of regions: Kansas City burnt ends, Texas brisket, North Carolina pulled pork, St. Louis ribs, etc. No-frills sides (coleslaw, mashed potatoes, and the like) round out meals, but save room for a slice of pecan or key lime pie. Note: no booze.

Takeout and delivery are available.

908 Massachusetts Ave
Arlington, MA 02476

3. The Porch Southern Fare & Juke Joint

175 Rivers Edge Dr, Medford, MA 02155
A plate of glossy red ribs with sides of slaw and pickles at the Porch in Medford.
Ribs at the Porch
Brian Samuels

Medford’s sizable barbecue joint and music venue opened in summer 2019, a move from its original space in Wakefield. Chef and owner Jonathan Post, a Nashville native, serves pulled pork, Texas brisket, St. Louis spare ribs, and more by the tray, accompanied by sides such as smoked green beans, cheese grits, and collards. There’s a packed live music calendar, including a Wednesday residency by local funk favorite the B3 Kings.

Takeout is available.

175 Rivers Edge Dr
Medford, MA 02155

4. Redbones Barbecue

55 Chester St, Somerville, MA 02144

Nearly 35 years old, Redbones has cemented its popularity in Somerville's Davis Square. In non-pandemic times, it's perpetually crowded, and the ambiance is fun, particularly at the downstairs bar, Underbones. Redbones's strength lies in its lively vibe and solid beer list. The restaurant doesn't really specialize in any one aspect of barbecue; there's a giant menu that has a little bit of something for everyone, so it's an easy choice if there's a big group to feed. Try the banana pudding for dessert.

Takeout and delivery are available.

55 Chester St
Somerville, MA 02144

5. Blackstrap BBQ

47A Woodside Ave, Winthrop, MA 02152

Founded over a decade ago by a couple of East Coast Grill alums, Blackstrap started out as a tiny space with a focus on takeout, but the restaurant has expanded into adjacent spaces over the years, adding a full bar and dining room. Blackstrap touches on different barbecue regions with Memphis-style dry rub ribs, Texas-style brisket, and North Carolina-style pulled pork. The friendly crew also does catering.

Takeout and delivery are available.

47A Woodside Ave
Winthrop, MA 02152

6. Highland Fried

1271 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139
Overhead view of a tray of barbecue. Ribs, sides, and cornbread sit on red and white checkered paper on a metal tray on a wooden table.
Ribs, sides, and cornbread at Highland Fried
Highland Fried/Official Site

As the name suggests, the star at Highland Fried — the Highland Kitchen sequel in the old East Coast Grill space — is the fried chicken. But that’s only a third of the equation at the restaurant, which also focuses on tiki and barbecue (and does a great job with each). From brisket to St. Louis-style ribs, there are a variety of options; try the meat in a combo with two sides and cornbread.

Takeout is available.

1271 Cambridge St
Cambridge, MA 02139

7. Smoke Shop BBQ

1 Kendall Sq, Cambridge, MA 02139
Two hands, wearing black gloves, hold a piece of barbecue meat above a wooden counter
Andy Husbands prepping meat at Smoke Shop’s original Cambridge location
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Smoke Shop opened in Cambridge in 2016 thanks to Andy Husbands (who owned the now-defunct Tremont 647), a longtime barbecue devotee and fixture on the competitive circuit. His Kendall Square restaurant and its newer counterparts in Boston’s Fort Point, Somerville’s Assembly Row, and Cambridge’s Harvard Square feature big platters of meats, from burnt ends to ribs, piled high with sides. Don't miss the wings, coated in sticky-sweet agave and spices. On the beverage side, there's so much whiskey. Stay tuned for another new location at forthcoming West End food hall Hub Hall.

Takeout and delivery are available.

1 Kendall Sq
Cambridge, MA 02139

8. Firefly's BBQ

350 E Main St, Marlborough, MA 01752

This self-described "bodacious" barbecue joint has quite a following in Marlborough, where it serves up slow-smoked St. Louis ribs; dry-rubbed, smoked baby back ribs; brisket; and more. There’s live music, too, and Firefly’s also hosts private events and caters.

Takeout and delivery are available.

350 E Main St
Marlborough, MA 01752

9. Larry J's BBQ Cafe

600 D St, Boston, MA 02210

Larry Jimerson closed down his Chelsea restaurant, Larry J's House of Q, in 2012 and quickly relocated to Boston's Seaport, opening up Larry J's BBQ Cafe — a small counter-service shack with no seats inside. (He eventually opened another location in Revere, too, but it closed in early 2021.) Jimerson smokes his meats over apple and hickory wood, offering up ribs, smoked link sausage, smoked brisket, smoked turkey legs, and lots more.

Takeout is available.

600 D St
Boston, MA 02210

10. Sweet Cheeks

1381 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02215

Tiffani Faison's lively, loud Fenway barbecue restaurant, Sweet Cheeks, serves everything from pork ribs to pulled chicken to brisket, and diners can't go wrong with any of the sides, many of which are vegetarian and most of which can be made gluten-free. Sweet Cheeks also offers a couple of fun desserts, like the giant Nutter Butter. Plus, everything about the restaurant's biscuits is true. Save room — one biscuit is roughly the size of a human face.

Sweet Cheeks has a full bar, and the beer selection is strong.

Takeout and delivery are available.

1381 Boylston St
Boston, MA 02215

11. M&M BBQ

1250 Massachusetts Ave, Dorchester, MA 02125
Saucy pork ribs sit on a metal tray with a side of round cornbread and a small cup of sauce. A giant bowl of mac and cheese is visible in the background.
Ribs from M & M BBQ
Bobby Shakes

Formerly known as M&M Ribs, M&M BBQ began as a food truck and catering operation before finding a home inside Dorchester Brewing Company in early 2020. Get the pork ribs, of course, but also try one of the sandwiches, which feature pulled pork, shredded beef brisket, fried chicken, or bratwurst.

Takeout is available.

1250 Massachusetts Ave
Dorchester, MA 02125

12. Tennessee’s BBQ

341 Cochituate Rd, Framingham, MA 01701

With locations in Framingham, Braintree, and Peabody, this fast-casual group smokes meats over hickory, apple, and cherry wood, and the house barbecue sauce has a tomato base with a hint of chocolate. Lots of combos and bulk meats and sides are available.

Takeout and delivery are available.

341 Cochituate Rd
Framingham, MA 01701

13. Pit Stop BBQ

888A Morton St, Mattapan, MA 02126
A white and red paper takeout container is full of barbecue meat and sides
Pit Stop Barbecue
Business Owner/Yelp

This tiny takeout joint, which has been around for more than three decades, is a neighborhood icon. It’s only open Thursday through Saturday, but it’s worth planning around the schedule in order to get a taste of the ribs, brisket, chopped pork, and more. Don’t overlook the sides, especially the cornbread and baked beans.

Takeout and delivery are available.

888A Morton St
Mattapan, MA 02126

14. Sarcastic Swine BBQ & Restaurant

988 Bedford St, Abington, MA 02351
saucy ribs and potato chips are served on a black plastic plate
Sarcastic Swine ribs
Sarcastic Swine/Official Site

This South Shore newcomer has been quickly building up a fanbase since opening in early 2019. It’s known for its sauce choices — there are about a dozen — and over-the-top dishes like a grilled cheese sandwich stuffed with pulled brisket, mac and cheese, and honey barbecue sauce. The cornbread, which comes with a choice of butters (whipped, cinnamon, or bacon), is a must.

Takeout and delivery are available.

988 Bedford St
Abington, MA 02351

15. B.T.'s Smokehouse

392 Main St, Sturbridge, MA 01566
Barbecue-style brisket sandwich and a side of fries on a metal tray
Sandwich and fries at B.T.’s Smokehouse
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Plan a little road trip 60 miles southwest of Boston to Sturbridge: B.T.'s Smokehouse is a worthy destination, featuring meats slow-smoked over apple and hickory, available in sandwiches, platters with sides and cornbread, and more. Watch for dishes like andouille dog bites and sticky rib tips, too. (Near Worcester? Check out the restaurant’s younger sibling, B.T.’s Fried Chicken & BBQ, which also features fried chicken, as the name suggests.)

Takeout is available.

392 Main St
Sturbridge, MA 01566

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16. A La Esh

366 S Main St, Sharon, MA 02067
A metal tray on a wooden surface is packed with barbecue: sliced brisket, a smoked turkey leg, pulled pork, and several sides.
A tray of barbecue and sides from A La Esh
Dave Dudek Studio

A La Esh, from the Simcha team, bills itself as Israeli-inspired Southern barbecue, incorporating traditional Middle Eastern spices into the mix and accompanying its brisket, smoked turkey, and more with sides like couscous mac and cheese and chamin beans. Be sure to try the Yemenite fried chicken, too. (Also look for A La Esh to pop up at the Cisco Brewers Beer Garden in Boston’s Seaport District in summer and fall 2021.)

Takeout and delivery are available.

366 S Main St
Sharon, MA 02067

17. Kinfolks Award Winning BBQ

289 Winthrop St, Taunton, MA 02780
Kinfolks BBQ
Kinfolks BBQ
Kinfolks BBQ/Official Site

With food truck roots, Kinfolks now has two storefronts — one in Taunton and one in Easton. Start with the pulled pork, but don’t miss the fried chicken.

Takeout is available.

289 Winthrop St
Taunton, MA 02780

Related Maps