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Sweet Cheeks
Sweet Cheeks
Cal Bingham for Eater

A Vegetarian's Guide to Navigating Boston-Area Barbecue

The best options for non-meat-eaters at barbecue restaurants around Boston

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Sweet Cheeks
| Cal Bingham for Eater

While Boston is not quite a hotbed for hearty barbecue, there are some solid options within reach for those craving a rack of ribs, and sometimes vegetarians may find themselves out at a barbecue joint, facing a menu of no-gos. For those who steer clear of sauce-laden meats, it can be tough to navigate a barbecue menu and still come away from a meal feeling as satiated as the carnivores of the group.

Often, the best options for vegetarians at meat-heavy restaurants can be found in the sides and snacks portion of the menu. If you love the flavors of barbecue but don't eat meat, give these places a shot. From grilled corn to fried green tomatoes, not to mention hush puppies, veggie burgers, and more, these restaurants all offer sound options for vegetarian diners. Dousing mac and cheese in barbecue sauce is encouraged.

Tip: Before you dine, be sure to check with the individual restaurant to find out if any of their dishes that appear vegetarian on the surface have hidden meat products or byproducts.

Note: Map points are ordered alphabetically.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. B.T.'s Smokehouse

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392 Main St
Sturbridge, MA 01566
(508) 347-3188
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For any weekend trip out of the city, B.T.'s is a popular stop in Sturbridge. The restaurant offers a selection of "fixins" that tend to change, including slaw, potato salad, BBQ beans, carrot slaw, blackeyed peas, collards, and mac and cheese.

For those who eat fish, there is a catfish po’boy served with creole remoulade, and the veg-friendly sides include hand-cut fries, beer-battered onion rings, hush puppies, and chop salad.

Don't forget to indulge in the sweets: bread pudding, pecan pie square, and fudge brownies.

2. Black Strap BBQ

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47A Woodside Ave
Winthrop, MA 02152
(617) 207-1783
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Dive into some classic Southern appetizers at Black Strap: fried green tomatoes, fried pickles, onion rings, French fries, grilled corn, and grit fries. There's also a broccoli and cashew salad, available in three sizes.

Take a tour of the sides, including green beans, mashed potatoes, and mac and cheese, of course. There is also a barbecue mushroom burger available, with or without cheese, that comes with a choice of two sides, and pescetarians will find a blackened catfish sandwich a worthy option.

3. Blue Ribbon BBQ

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1375 Washington St
West Newton, MA 02465
(617) 332-2583
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Sure, a burrito's not exactly barbecue, but Blue Ribbon serves a vegetarian burrito with rice and beans, cabbage, salsa, cilantro, and sour cream. There's also a big green salad that comes with cornbread.

Vegetarians can also create a meal from the "side dish platter," which is served with cornbread and your choice of three sides, including cole slaw, mashed potatoes, green beans, collard greens, black-eyed corn, and more.

Pies are the highlight of the dessert menu and are available by the slice or the whole. Flavors include key lime and pecan pie. There are also fruit cobblers baked with a biscuit topping.

4. Redbones Barbecue

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55 Chester St
Somerville, MA 02144
(617) 628-2200
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The appetizer menu at Redbones is prime vegetarian territory, offering up beignets, fried pickles and jalapeños, hush puppies, corn fritters, fried okra, and nachos. The sides are available in small or large sizes, ranging in price from $2.99 to $6.99, including beans, potato salad, fries, mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli, veggie rice, collard greens, roasted veggies, mac and cheese, and biscuits and peach jam.

Bonus: Redbones has a full vegetarian section of the menu, which features a veggie bowl with beans, rice, greens, and roasted veggies; a broccoli dog served with "all the fixins" and hand-cut fries; and a veggie burger topped with tomato chutney and fried pickles. There are also some seafood options available for those who eat fish, including organic salmon, fried catfish, and Buffalo shrimp.

For dessert, go for the beignets, banana pudding, honey custard pie, pecan pie, or Texas chocolate sheet cake.

5. Rosebud American Kitchen & Bar

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381 Summer St
Somerville, MA 02144
(617) 629-9500
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Rosebud's menu isn't predominantly barbecue, but it still has some traditional sides that would suit vegetarian diners and scratch that barbecue-style itch while table-mates are eating ribs: fried pickled wedges, smashed potatoes, cheesy cheddar grits, mac and cheese, potato salad, and onion rings.

The non-barbecue vegetarian options include a Mediterranean mezze plate, spring veggie flatbread, a roasted portobello sandwich, and Moroccan stew, plus fish & chips and grilled swordfish for those who eat fish.

Katie Chudy for Eater

6. SoulFire

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182 Harvard Ave
Allston, MA 02134
(617) 787-3003
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This barbecue hub in Allston is the real deal. Get some fried mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, pickles, potato salad, rice and beans, and cornbread, or opt for a salad or fries. For dessert, there is fried dough, cheesecake, and Kentucky Pie.

7. Sweet Cheeks

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1381 Boylston St
Boston, MA 02215
(617) 266-1300
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The sides are the money factor here. First of all, biscuits. Second of all, mac and cheese. Third, farm salad. These three things make a perfect vegetarian platter, and yes, you will still be full.

Sweet Cheeks offers a selection of hot and cold scoops that are vegetarian-friendly. The hot options are available in small ($7) or large ($11) sizes and include broccoli cheese casserole, collard greens, black eyed peas, and mac n' cheese. The cold scoops (either $6 or $9) include coleslaw, potato salad, carrot raisin salad, farm salad, and watermelon salad.

There's also a "hot and crispy" section of the menu, which is entirely vegetarian: fried green tomatoes, salt & pepper potatoes, and fried okra, with options to add cheese sauce or jalapeño ranch.

If you still have room for dessert, there's a delightful butterscotch pudding, a giant nutter butter, and strawberry shortcake.

Cal Bingham for Eater

1. B.T.'s Smokehouse

392 Main St, Sturbridge, MA 01566

For any weekend trip out of the city, B.T.'s is a popular stop in Sturbridge. The restaurant offers a selection of "fixins" that tend to change, including slaw, potato salad, BBQ beans, carrot slaw, blackeyed peas, collards, and mac and cheese.

For those who eat fish, there is a catfish po’boy served with creole remoulade, and the veg-friendly sides include hand-cut fries, beer-battered onion rings, hush puppies, and chop salad.

Don't forget to indulge in the sweets: bread pudding, pecan pie square, and fudge brownies.

392 Main St
Sturbridge, MA 01566

2. Black Strap BBQ

47A Woodside Ave, Winthrop, MA 02152

Dive into some classic Southern appetizers at Black Strap: fried green tomatoes, fried pickles, onion rings, French fries, grilled corn, and grit fries. There's also a broccoli and cashew salad, available in three sizes.

Take a tour of the sides, including green beans, mashed potatoes, and mac and cheese, of course. There is also a barbecue mushroom burger available, with or without cheese, that comes with a choice of two sides, and pescetarians will find a blackened catfish sandwich a worthy option.

47A Woodside Ave
Winthrop, MA 02152

3. Blue Ribbon BBQ

1375 Washington St, West Newton, MA 02465

Sure, a burrito's not exactly barbecue, but Blue Ribbon serves a vegetarian burrito with rice and beans, cabbage, salsa, cilantro, and sour cream. There's also a big green salad that comes with cornbread.

Vegetarians can also create a meal from the "side dish platter," which is served with cornbread and your choice of three sides, including cole slaw, mashed potatoes, green beans, collard greens, black-eyed corn, and more.

Pies are the highlight of the dessert menu and are available by the slice or the whole. Flavors include key lime and pecan pie. There are also fruit cobblers baked with a biscuit topping.

1375 Washington St
West Newton, MA 02465

4. Redbones Barbecue

55 Chester St, Somerville, MA 02144

The appetizer menu at Redbones is prime vegetarian territory, offering up beignets, fried pickles and jalapeños, hush puppies, corn fritters, fried okra, and nachos. The sides are available in small or large sizes, ranging in price from $2.99 to $6.99, including beans, potato salad, fries, mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli, veggie rice, collard greens, roasted veggies, mac and cheese, and biscuits and peach jam.

Bonus: Redbones has a full vegetarian section of the menu, which features a veggie bowl with beans, rice, greens, and roasted veggies; a broccoli dog served with "all the fixins" and hand-cut fries; and a veggie burger topped with tomato chutney and fried pickles. There are also some seafood options available for those who eat fish, including organic salmon, fried catfish, and Buffalo shrimp.

For dessert, go for the beignets, banana pudding, honey custard pie, pecan pie, or Texas chocolate sheet cake.

55 Chester St
Somerville, MA 02144

5. Rosebud American Kitchen & Bar

381 Summer St, Somerville, MA 02144
Katie Chudy for Eater

Rosebud's menu isn't predominantly barbecue, but it still has some traditional sides that would suit vegetarian diners and scratch that barbecue-style itch while table-mates are eating ribs: fried pickled wedges, smashed potatoes, cheesy cheddar grits, mac and cheese, potato salad, and onion rings.

The non-barbecue vegetarian options include a Mediterranean mezze plate, spring veggie flatbread, a roasted portobello sandwich, and Moroccan stew, plus fish & chips and grilled swordfish for those who eat fish.

381 Summer St
Somerville, MA 02144

6. SoulFire

182 Harvard Ave, Allston, MA 02134
This barbecue hub in Allston is the real deal. Get some fried mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, pickles, potato salad, rice and beans, and cornbread, or opt for a salad or fries. For dessert, there is fried dough, cheesecake, and Kentucky Pie.
182 Harvard Ave
Allston, MA 02134

7. Sweet Cheeks

1381 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02215
Cal Bingham for Eater

The sides are the money factor here. First of all, biscuits. Second of all, mac and cheese. Third, farm salad. These three things make a perfect vegetarian platter, and yes, you will still be full.

Sweet Cheeks offers a selection of hot and cold scoops that are vegetarian-friendly. The hot options are available in small ($7) or large ($11) sizes and include broccoli cheese casserole, collard greens, black eyed peas, and mac n' cheese. The cold scoops (either $6 or $9) include coleslaw, potato salad, carrot raisin salad, farm salad, and watermelon salad.

There's also a "hot and crispy" section of the menu, which is entirely vegetarian: fried green tomatoes, salt & pepper potatoes, and fried okra, with options to add cheese sauce or jalapeño ranch.

If you still have room for dessert, there's a delightful butterscotch pudding, a giant nutter butter, and strawberry shortcake.

1381 Boylston St
Boston, MA 02215

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