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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 Greater 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 Greater Boston area (and a little beyond), serving everything from Kansas City burnt ends to Texas brisket and plenty of other hunks of smoked meat.

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.

Rusty Can

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At 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.

Pitstop BBQ

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This local favorite serves an eclectic menu of barbecue and beyond; Taco Tuesdays, for example, are a big hit, as are loaded burgers and other sandwiches. One might even find the owner’s mother’s stuffed cabbage recipe on the menu as a special. But fans love the barbecue, too, including brisket and pulled pork. Be sure to keep an eye on Instagram for updates on fundraising efforts for Ukraine, the owner’s homeland.

Blue Ribbon BBQ

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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.

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 Porch Southern Fare & Juke Joint

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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 cheese grits and collards. There’s a packed live music calendar with plenty of blues, soul, and more.

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

Redbones Barbecue

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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.

Formaggio Kitchen (seasonal weekend barbecue)

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A cheese-focused shop with great barbecue? Yep. From late March into October, the Huron Village location of Formaggio Kitchen hosts a popular Saturday and Sunday sidewalk barbecue lunch. House-smoked meats (brisket, chicken, and more) get finished on the grill as you wait. It starts at 11 a.m. (but the line starts earlier) and goes until 2 p.m. (or sell-out). Side dishes include baked beans, candied yams, and more. Some items can be pre-ordered earlier in the week.

Platters of ribs and barbecue chicken sit on trays on a table outside of a shop window.
Formaggio Kitchen’s weekend barbecue.
Katie Chudy/Eater

Blackstrap BBQ

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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.

Smoke Shop BBQ

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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. (Find a mini counter-service version of Smoke Shop at West End food hall Hub Hall, too.)

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

The Don's BBQ

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This Watertown newcomer is the self-declared “godfather of brisket,” so start there — try it with sides like andouille sausage and rice or black bean and corn salad, or get it in a Reuben. Ribs, pulled pork, and smoked chicken round out the menu, as well as a few sweet treats like bread pudding and pralines.

Firefly's BBQ

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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.

Larry J's BBQ Cafe

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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. There’s no seating inside, but outdoor seating is available when weather permits. (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.

Sweet Cheeks

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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, especially the farm salad or the mac and cheese. 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.

M&M BBQ

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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. M&M offers ample gluten-free and/or vegetarian options, too.

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

Tennessee’s BBQ

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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.

Pit Stop BBQ

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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.

A sausage link in a hot dog bun is accompanied by three small white styrofoam bowls of collards, mac and cheese, and beans. There’s also a slice of cornbread.
Sausage and sides at Pit Stop Barbecue.
Jae’da Turner/Eater

Sarcastic Swine BBQ & Restaurant

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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.

saucy ribs and potato chips are served on a black plastic plate
Sarcastic Swine ribs.
Sarcastic Swine

B.T.'s Smokehouse

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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.)

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

A La Esh

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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 chicken, and more with sides like couscous mac and cheese and chamin beans. Be sure to try the Yemenite fried chicken, too.

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

Kinfolks Award Winning BBQ

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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 fan-favorite brisket or fried chicken.

A black takeout plate holds ribs drizzled with barbecue sauce and sides of fries and potato salad.
Ribs and sides from Kinfolks BBQ.
Kinfolks BBQ

Ed's Famous BBQ

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Down in Fall River, Ed’s Famous BBQ is particularly loved for its ribs; try the baby back or St. Louis spares — or try a little bit of everything with one of the one- or two-person combinations, which accompany ribs with brisket, pulled pork, sides, and cornbread.

A rack of dry-rub ribs sits on white paper with a small cup of barbecue sauce visible in the background.
Ribs from Ed’s Famous BBQ.
Ed’s Famous BBQ

Rusty Can

At 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.

Pitstop BBQ

This local favorite serves an eclectic menu of barbecue and beyond; Taco Tuesdays, for example, are a big hit, as are loaded burgers and other sandwiches. One might even find the owner’s mother’s stuffed cabbage recipe on the menu as a special. But fans love the barbecue, too, including brisket and pulled pork. Be sure to keep an eye on Instagram for updates on fundraising efforts for Ukraine, the owner’s homeland.

Blue Ribbon BBQ

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.

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 Porch Southern Fare & Juke Joint

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 cheese grits and collards. There’s a packed live music calendar with plenty of blues, soul, and more.

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

Redbones Barbecue

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.

Formaggio Kitchen (seasonal weekend barbecue)

Platters of ribs and barbecue chicken sit on trays on a table outside of a shop window.
Formaggio Kitchen’s weekend barbecue.
Katie Chudy/Eater

A cheese-focused shop with great barbecue? Yep. From late March into October, the Huron Village location of Formaggio Kitchen hosts a popular Saturday and Sunday sidewalk barbecue lunch. House-smoked meats (brisket, chicken, and more) get finished on the grill as you wait. It starts at 11 a.m. (but the line starts earlier) and goes until 2 p.m. (or sell-out). Side dishes include baked beans, candied yams, and more. Some items can be pre-ordered earlier in the week.

Platters of ribs and barbecue chicken sit on trays on a table outside of a shop window.
Formaggio Kitchen’s weekend barbecue.
Katie Chudy/Eater

Blackstrap BBQ

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.

Smoke Shop BBQ

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. (Find a mini counter-service version of Smoke Shop at West End food hall Hub Hall, too.)

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

The Don's BBQ

This Watertown newcomer is the self-declared “godfather of brisket,” so start there — try it with sides like andouille sausage and rice or black bean and corn salad, or get it in a Reuben. Ribs, pulled pork, and smoked chicken round out the menu, as well as a few sweet treats like bread pudding and pralines.

Firefly's BBQ

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.

Larry J's BBQ Cafe

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. There’s no seating inside, but outdoor seating is available when weather permits. (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.

Sweet Cheeks

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, especially the farm salad or the mac and cheese. 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.

M&M BBQ

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. M&M offers ample gluten-free and/or vegetarian options, too.

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

Tennessee’s BBQ

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.

Pit Stop BBQ

A sausage link in a hot dog bun is accompanied by three small white styrofoam bowls of collards, mac and cheese, and beans. There’s also a slice of cornbread.
Sausage and sides at Pit Stop Barbecue.
Jae’da Turner/Eater

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.

A sausage link in a hot dog bun is accompanied by three small white styrofoam bowls of collards, mac and cheese, and beans. There’s also a slice of cornbread.
Sausage and sides at Pit Stop Barbecue.
Jae’da Turner/Eater

Related Maps

Sarcastic Swine BBQ & Restaurant

saucy ribs and potato chips are served on a black plastic plate
Sarcastic Swine ribs.
Sarcastic Swine

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.

saucy ribs and potato chips are served on a black plastic plate
Sarcastic Swine ribs.
Sarcastic Swine

B.T.'s Smokehouse

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.)

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

A La Esh

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 chicken, and more with sides like couscous mac and cheese and chamin beans. Be sure to try the Yemenite fried chicken, too.

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

Kinfolks Award Winning BBQ

A black takeout plate holds ribs drizzled with barbecue sauce and sides of fries and potato salad.
Ribs and sides from Kinfolks BBQ.
Kinfolks BBQ

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 fan-favorite brisket or fried chicken.

A black takeout plate holds ribs drizzled with barbecue sauce and sides of fries and potato salad.
Ribs and sides from Kinfolks BBQ.
Kinfolks BBQ

Ed's Famous BBQ

A rack of dry-rub ribs sits on white paper with a small cup of barbecue sauce visible in the background.
Ribs from Ed’s Famous BBQ.
Ed’s Famous BBQ

Down in Fall River, Ed’s Famous BBQ is particularly loved for its ribs; try the baby back or St. Louis spares — or try a little bit of everything with one of the one- or two-person combinations, which accompany ribs with brisket, pulled pork, sides, and cornbread.

A rack of dry-rub ribs sits on white paper with a small cup of barbecue sauce visible in the background.
Ribs from Ed’s Famous BBQ.
Ed’s Famous BBQ

Related Maps