Richmond, Virginia Is A Top Ten Best BBQ City

by | Jul 12, 2023 | EAT DRINK, GOOD EATS

Richmond, Virginia has officially, or unofficially, earned its spot on the map as one of the nation’s Top Ten Best BBQ Cities, as crowned by another quasi real marketing company. Now, we won’t vouch for the credibility of these folks, but we can’t help but agree with their proclamation. Trust us, the food scene here is nothing short of amazing, and our barbecue is a standout.

BBQ is a matter of pride for Virginians, especially for those in Richmond, who have access to some of the finest BBQ dishes in the state. Virginia is renowned for its yearly festivals devoted solely to this delectable cuisine, and it’s even been hailed as the possible birthplace of BBQ. The debate over what constitutes excellent BBQ is ceaseless, and while we won’t delve into it today, we can certainly guide you through some of the abundant BBQ options Richmond offers.

Let’s start with ZZQ, a Scott’s Addition BBQ joint founded by Texas-native Chris Fultz. After moving to Richmond two decades ago, Fultz couldn’t find a barbecue brisket to satisfy his Texan palate, so he decided to master the craft himself. It didn’t take long for ZZQ to become a local favorite, and even Thrillist recognized them as one of the 41 Best BBQ Joints in America. As the kids used to say, this shizz is da bomb.

Next up is The Smoky Mug, a sort of newcomer to the BBQ scene that also happens to be Richmond’s first coffee shop and Craft BBQ/Tex-Mex restaurant. Yes, it might sound crazy, but trust us when we say they excel at both coffee and BBQ! This Northside gem offers craft BBQ and Tex-Mex lunch from Wednesday to Sunday, with breakfast available every day until 11 a.m. So grab a cold brew and prepare to indulge in their Texas-style craft BBQ menu, featuring mouthwatering delights like house-rubbed pulled pork, wood-smoked Prime Brisket, and delectable homemade sausage.

If you’re in Church Hill, be sure to swing by one of our original favourites — Alamo BBQ, a walk-up joint that’s famous for its Texas-style barbecue flavors. We love the train wreck but their beef brisket is an absolute must-try, and if you’re feeling extra hungry (which you undoubtedly will once that barbecue aroma hits you), don’t miss out on their jalapeño mac & cheese. Just remember to arrive early for lunch because this place gets packed in no time!

For those craving authentic BBQ in the Near West End, Buz & Ned’s Real Barbecue is your go-to spot. They’ve been serving up some of the finest BBQ in Richmond since 1992, and their Beef Brisket and Pork are absolute game-changers. But let’s not overlook their tantalizing sides, like the Cuke & Onion Salad and Sour Cream & Red Skin Potato Salad. These guys know how to do BBQ right, and it’s no wonder they’ve earned a Food Network award for being the best BBQ spot — and that time Buzz beat Bobby Flay!

Deep Run Roadhouse, with locations in Downtown and the West End, offers everything you’d expect from a traditional BBQ joint and more. From chopped pork and pulled chicken to brisket and sausage, they’ve got all your BBQ cravings covered. But here’s the twist – they also serve up Tex-Mex, tacos, and desserts! And trust us, you won’t want to miss their BBQ Cheese Wedges. These guys are all about pushing boundaries while staying true to the essence of BBQ.

Hidden away in a West End strip mall, HogsHead Cafe may not immediately catch your eye, but step inside, and you’ll find yourself in BBQ heaven. This joint was named one of the top 10 barbecue restaurants in the country by TripAdvisor back in 2015, and it’s no surprise. From their mouthwatering Hog Dog, a bacon-wrapped jumbo beef hot dog topped with hand-pulled pork, Hog sauce, and coleslaw, to a variety of down-home southern dishes, HogsHead Cafe is a must-visit for BBQ enthusiasts.

Venture a bit further to Varina, just steps off the Capital Trail, and you’ll stumble upon The Original Ronnie’s BBQ. This no-frills establishment is a Richmond institution known for its brisket, ribs, pulled pork, and fried fish. And here’s a pro tip: make sure you try their Burnt Ends – just be aware that they’re in limited stock, so keep an eye on their social media for availability. The Original Ronnie’s BBQ is all about straightforward, delicious food served with a smile.

For some finger-licking BBQ in Midlothian or Glen Allen, look no further than Q Barbeque. This joint started as a catering business with a passion for barbecue, and after winning their first competition in 2004, they never looked back. Now with two locations, they serve up their award-winning BBQ every day. And don’t you dare skip the sides – their hush puppies are particularly noteworthy.

In Scott’s Addition, you’ll find SMoHK, a place that prides itself on serving “Real Southern Food.” They source all their ingredients, both meats and vegetables, from high-end providers as close to the farm as possible. And guess what? They won USA Today’s 2019 Readers’ Choice award for Best Brunswick Stew in Virginia! So if you’re looking for authentic Southern flavors and a laid-back atmosphere, SMoHK is the place to be.

Continuing our barbecue journey through Richmond, we can’t forget to mention Inner City Blues. This casual eatery is the home of Carolina Bar B Que and serves up mouthwatering BBQ platters, smoked meats, and comforting sides in a rustic setting. Prepare to have your taste buds tantalized by their fall-off-the-bone delicious BBQ meats, perfectly complemented by their delectable BBQ sauces. If you’re in the mood for a sandwich, their brisket sandwich with grilled onion is an absolute must-try. And don’t miss out on their freshly made sides and salads, like the flavorful potato salad and tangy collard green

Another gem in the Richmond BBQ scene is Redemption BBQ, a food truck that not only serves BBQ meats with mouth-watering sides but is also part of a movement to recover and celebrate the barbecue heritage of Virginia, the true birthplace of American barbecue. Their meats, techniques, and even their core sauces are all rooted in the rich traditions of Virginia barbecue. Whether you catch them parked at a gathering or a local fare, you’re in for a spectacular culinary experience. One taste of their unforbidden fruit BBQ sauce, paired with their tender and flavorful pork belly or well-executed sandwiches, will surprise and delight your taste buds. The aroma of smoke lingers in the air around the truck, serving as a testament to their dedication to the art of BBQ. It’s worth noting that the owner, John Vest, spent two decades as a minister before turning to BBQ, bringing his passion and commitment to every mouthwatering bite.

Now, let’s talk about Oak & Apple BBQ, one of the best BBQ restaurants in Richmond. Led by a talented female pitmaster who goes by the name ‘Big Daddy Kat,’ this joint knows its way around a smoker. Their Ole Hickory Smoker, introduced in 1974 and still producing beautiful BBQ today, is a testament to their commitment to quality. With a diverse menu suitable for all tastes and ages, Oak & Apple BBQ offers a laid-back, contemporary BBQ experience. Prepare your taste buds for their delicious BBQ brisket platters, smoked meats, BBQ sandwiches, and flavorful tacos. Each bite of their pulled pork, accompanied by their creamy mac n cheese and homemade sauces, is an explosion of flavor that will leave you wanting more.

Since 2008, Carter’s Pigpen Bar-B-Que is a local and family-owned establishment has been serving up delectable Carolina and Virginia-style pulled pork BBQ. The vibrant restaurant features sky blue walls adorned with a large pink pig painted on its roof, setting the stage for a fun and flavorful dining experience. Carter’s Pigpen Bar-B-Que prides itself on using original family recipes for both their BBQ and side dishes. Their made-from-scratch sides, such as potato salad, cole slaw, and cornbread muffins, are prepared daily and add the perfect finishing touch to their tender and flavorful pulled pork. So if you find yourself in Mechanicsville, make sure to swing by Carter’s Pigpen Bar-B-Que for a taste of their irresistible BBQ.

And last but certainly not least, we have Pig and Brew, a spot that truly satisfies your BBQ cravings. Located on Hull Street, this place offers heavenly food and an inviting atmosphere, perfect for enjoying a meal with family and friends. Their extensive drink selection, including delicious cocktails, complements their generous portions of dry ribs and delectable traditional sides. And don’t even get us started on their mouthwatering desserts! The wait staff is friendly and attentive, making your dining experience even more enjoyable.

So there you have it, folks – a roundup of the top BBQ joints in Richmond that’ll have you licking your lips and begging for more. From old favorites to new discoveries, these places are guaranteed to satisfy your cravings for smoky, tender, and finger-licking-good barbecue. Now go out there and indulge.

RVAMAG BBQ FAvorites 2023

RVA Staff

RVA Staff

Since 2005, the dedicated team at RVA Magazine, known as RVA Staff, has been delivering the cultural news that matters in Richmond, VA. This talented group of professionals is committed to keeping you informed about the events and happenings in the city.

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