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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.

1. Rusty Can

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6 Fruit St
Byfield, MA 01922
(978) 462-1204
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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.

2. Pitstop BBQ

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10 Vernon St
Wakefield, MA 01880
(781) 621-8403
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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.

3. 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.

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

4. 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 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

5. Redbones Barbecue

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55 Chester St
Somerville, MA 02144
(617) 628-2200
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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.

6. Formaggio Kitchen (seasonal weekend barbecue)

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358 Huron Ave
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 354-4750
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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

7. 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.

8. 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. (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

9. The Don's BBQ

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93 School St
Watertown, MA 02472
(617) 744-0224
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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.

10. 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.

11. Larry J's BBQ Cafe

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

12. Sweet Cheeks

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

13. M&M BBQ

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

14. 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.

15. Pit Stop BBQ

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

16. Sarcastic Swine BBQ & Restaurant

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

17. B.T.'s Smokehouse

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

18. A La Esh

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

19. Kinfolks Award Winning BBQ

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

20. Ed's Famous BBQ

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756 Brayton Ave
Fall River, MA 02721
(508) 567-3073
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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

1. Rusty Can

6 Fruit St, Byfield, MA 01922

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.

6 Fruit St
Byfield, MA 01922

2. Pitstop BBQ

10 Vernon St, Wakefield, MA 01880

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.

10 Vernon St
Wakefield, MA 01880

3. 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.

908 Massachusetts Ave
Arlington, MA 02476

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

175 Rivers Edge Dr
Medford, MA 02155

5. Redbones Barbecue

55 Chester St, Somerville, MA 02144

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.

55 Chester St
Somerville, MA 02144

6. Formaggio Kitchen (seasonal weekend barbecue)

358 Huron Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138
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.

358 Huron Ave
Cambridge, MA 02138

7. 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.

47A Woodside Ave
Winthrop, MA 02152

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

1 Kendall Sq
Cambridge, MA 02139

9. The Don's BBQ

93 School St, Watertown, MA 02472

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.

93 School St
Watertown, MA 02472

10. 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.

350 E Main St
Marlborough, MA 01752

11. 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. 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.

600 D St
Boston, MA 02210

12. 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, 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.

1381 Boylston St
Boston, MA 02215

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

1250 Massachusetts Ave
Dorchester, MA 02125

14. 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.

341 Cochituate Rd
Framingham, MA 01701

15. Pit Stop BBQ

888A Morton St, Mattapan, MA 02126
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.

888A Morton St
Mattapan, MA 02126

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16. 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

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.

988 Bedford St
Abington, MA 02351

17. 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.)

392 Main St
Sturbridge, MA 01566

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

366 S Main St
Sharon, MA 02067

19. Kinfolks Award Winning BBQ

289 Winthrop St, Taunton, MA 02780
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.

289 Winthrop St
Taunton, MA 02780

20. Ed's Famous BBQ

756 Brayton Ave, Fall River, MA 02721
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.

756 Brayton Ave
Fall River, MA 02721

Related Maps