There is something irresistible about Southern barbecue. It is quite an experience to dive right in and enjoy the tender smoked meats. Whether you are a brisket fan or devour ribs right off the bone, Boston has many options for barbecue at its best. Featuring dry rubs and plenty of sauces to smother the meats, it is a messy but satisfying dining experience. And don’t dare forget about all the sides from creamy macaroni and cheese to crisp cole slaw. The following spots offer a laid-back atmosphere and barbecue that will not disappoint.

(photo credit: Michelle Levine)

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

Chef and Owner Tiffani Faison, who is also a former “Top Chef” contestant from season one, has outdone herself with this low-key barbecue spot right behind Fenway Park. Country music plays and flat screen TVs show the Red Sox games and other sports as guests are transported to the South with sweet tea. The specialty is Texas barbecue at this restaurant that features an area to hang out outdoors in the beer garden or seating inside at tables or the bar. Brisket, pork belly, ribs, chicken and turkey can be ordered with hot sides like broccoli-cheese casserole or cold sides like carrot and raisin salad. Three barbecue sauces including hot, mild and a vinegar-based sauce, allow diners to keep it simple or slather and moisten the meats to their liking. End the meal on a sweet note with the giant house-made nutter butter cookies.

(photo credit: Michelle Levine)

Smoken Joe’s BBQ
351 Washington St
Brighton, MA 02135
(617) 254-5227

For barbecue favorites like pulled-pork sandwiches or fall-off-the-bone ribs with a side of Blues music, you’ll feel at home at Smoken Joe’s. It offers a mix of traditional Southern cuisine including fried catfish, cajun shrimp, dirty rice, gumbo and jambalaya. However, it is the barbecue chicken and brisket, along with plenty of sides like collard greens, baked beans and macaroni and cheese, that bring diners back time after time. Beyond just the food, Smoken Joe’s offers an atmosphere very unique to the area with live music into the night.

(photo credit:

Soul Fire BBQ
182 Harvard Ave
Allston, MA 02134
(617) 787-3003

Owner Wyeth Lynch set out to serve Memphis barbecue with an upbeat atmosphere where soul music fills the air, and that is just what he did. Located in Allston, Soul Fire BBQ is loved for its pulled pork, baked beans, collard greens and corn bread, among the many barbecue meats and sides offered. There are five barbecue sauces to enjoy the brisket, ribs and pork with. Check out Soul Fire’s Southern specialties like fried catfish or chicken, too.

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

Located in Davis Square and now featuring a food truck in the Back Bay, Redbones is one of Boston’s most beloved Southern barbecue spots. It has so many entrees to choose from like Memphis, Texas, baby back, Arkansas and even St. Louis ribs. Combo platters allow you to have a bit of everything in a relaxed setting at this casual beer and barbecue restaurant. Classic sides include collard greens, dirty rice, cole slaw, baked beans and corn bread to go along with the wide range of ribs. Wash it all down with one of the over 20 microbrews.

(photo credit: BBQ Smith via Facebook)

Various locations throughout Boston

Food trucks are all the rage in Boston these days, and BBQsmith has established quite the following. Look out for this truck by Chinatown, the Greenway or Sowa for pork sandwiches, smoked chicken or beef, tacos and lemonade to quench your thirst this summer. Sides include potato salad and cole slaw at this affordably-priced, quick lunch option. Stay up to date with where the truck will be by following BBQsmith’s Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Related: Boston’s Best French Fries

Michelle Levine is a creative energetic, young professional that is passionate about everything Boston has to offer. She loves to attend local events, dine out, and cook and wants to share her findings with you. Her work can be found on