The Midwest is known for a few things, but one of its greatest accomplishments is good barbecue. With Missouri taking the lead, BBQ in the Midwest is known to be some of the best around. Take a look at our picks for the 12 best places to try summer's favorite mouth-watering dish.
Best Barbecue in the Midwest
1. Joe’s Kansas City Barbeque
This corner gas station restaurant blew up and quickly turned into the top place to enjoy barbecue in the country. Lines at Joe’s are always out the door at each of their three locations so be sure to get there early. Once you get inside of Joe’s, prepare yourself for a good barbecue meal. Whether you try their signature pulled pork sandwich, or go for the rib dinner, you won’t be disappointed eating here. Joe’s also offers a private dining room if you want to bring a big group of friends or family along for the ride.
3002 West 47th Ave., Kansas City, KS
2. Arthur Bryant’s
Known for their signature sauce and prime location, Arthur Bryant’s is another Kansas City (Missouri) restaurant famous for its barbecue. Each meal is served with slices of Wonder bread and fries, and the food tastes so good even President Obama had to stop by a try some! Stop in and try a pulled pork sandwich for yourself, and see how Arthur Bryant’s measures up on your scale.
1727 Brooklyn Ave., Kansas City, MO
3. Gates Bar-B-Q
Although there are six different locations all over Kansas City (Missouri), each and every one has the signature Gates red roof and top hat-man statue out front. Gates is a family business, focused on serving a distinct flavor of sauces with their meats. Once you step inside Gates, you will immediately be greeted with ‘Hi, May I Help You?’ At that point, wait to be seated and prepare for a great barbecue meal passed down through the family. If you stop by, be sure to try their burnt ends sandwich—it’ll have you coming back for more!
1325 East Emanuel Cleaver Blvd., Kansas City, MO
4. Chicago Q
Chicago Q brands itself as not being like your traditional barbecue joint. This upscale restaurant serves all your barbecue favorites, in a nice southern style dining room to give you that comforting feeling of the south in downtown Chicago. You can order a nice southern cooked meal, and pair it with one of the best (and rare) bourbons Chicago has to offer. When you stop by, be sure to try one of the pit master’s favorites: buttermilk fried chicken, blackened fish, and or the presidential grilled salmon.
1160 N. Dearborn St., Chicago, IL
5. J.R.’s Rhodehouse BBQ Pit
This restaurant in South Dakota can be considered a hidden gem. J.R.’s gives you a taste of St. Louis barbecue, and also features a take-out and catering menu. The pulled pork has received praise from all the big barbecue joints in the south, and has even earned its place as one of the best barbecue joints in the country. If you stop by on a weekend it might take a little longer to be seated, but the brisket sandwich makes it worth the wait.
14200 Sturgis Rd., Piedmont, SD
6. Carson’s Prime Steaks & Famous Barbeque
Carson’s is a family run business that has one goal in mind: to serving hearty portions of food at a good price in a good atmosphere. The atmosphere in this restaurant is very modern, but is also comfortable. The service will be some of the best you’ve ever had, and the food will taste even better. Be sure to try the steak, Carson’s most recommended item on the menu.
301 W Juneau Ave., Milwaukee, WI
7. Montgomery Inn- Boat House
The Boathouse is located near downtown Cincinnati, and features a great view of the Ohio River. Along with having some of the country’s best barbecue, this restaurant also features a sports bar on its upper level, and an outdoor seating area for a nice summer dinner outside. When dining here, be sure to try the ribs. The Boathouse is known for their pork loin back ribs, and you can order them alone or even create your own combo of ribs and another meat or fish. After a nice day in Cincinnati, the Boathouse is the perfect place to come and keep your energy high.
925 Riverside Dr., Cincinnati, OH
8. Jon Russell’s Kansas City Barbeque
Recently rated as one of the best rib joints in the country by Men’s Journal Magazine, Russell’s features handcrafted barbecue in the southern and western parts of Kansas. The menu at this restaurant is seasonal, and adds new twists to classic recipes to keep you coming back for more every time. Russell’s also offers carry-out or catering, so if you’re in town for an event or find yourself super busy, you can still get your hands on some of their delicious burnt ends and smoked pulled pork.
12094 W 135th St., Overland Park, KS
9. The Shaved Duck
This St. Louis smokehouse is known the most for being featured on Food Networks hit TV show ‘Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives’ with Guy Fieri. The Duck prides itself in buying locally raised meats, and smoking them daily to ensure the best quality barbecue possible. When you stop here, be sure to try the legendary burnt ends, or the smoked duck paired with cherry juniper jam, a meal that had Guy Fieri saying: “That’s righteous duck”.
2900 Virginia Ave., St. Louis, MO
10. Slap’s BBQ
What originally started out as the ‘Squeal Like A Pig’ barbecue competition team has turned into SLAP’s BBQ, a recently opened sit down restaurant in between Kansas City, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri. Slap’s cooks the meat fresh everyday, and often runs out so we encourage you get there relatively early. The restaurant also still competes in barbeque competitions around Kansas City, in order to keep in touch with their skills—and practice does indeed make perfect. From the pulled pork to the potato casserole, everything you try at Slap’s is guaranteed to be delicious.
553 Central Ave., Kansas City, KSVisit Kansas City!
11. Smoque BBQ
Smoque BBQ is all about quality over quantity. They take the time to prepare their meats, sauces, and sides fresh daily, and although it takes a little extra time to do so, the food speaks for itself. The beef brisket and pulled pork have become stand out meals as far as meat goes, and with the sides: it’s a win-win no matter what you pick. If you want to beat the rush, it’s encouraged that you head over to Smoque for lunch during the week. If you want to make it a weekend event, don’t worry: the lines move pretty quickly, in order to get everyone seated and happy.
3800 N. Pulaski Rd.#2, Chicago, IL
12. Roper’s Ribs
This family owned barbecue restaurant has been catering to St. Louis since 1976, and over the years they have only gotten better. Customers come from all over the world to try their St. Louis baby back ribs, and enjoy the old school setting that takes over once you step inside the small restaurant. Roper’s cooks their meats using their special family dry-rub sauce, which is also available to be purchased if you want to try your hand at the grill. Steve Harvey gives it his National Hoodie Award just about every year, so you should totally stop by if you find yourself in St. Louis this summer.
6929 W. Florissant Ave., St. Louis, MO
This article was written by Kellyn Nettles.