If you ask anyone who likes barbecuing, they’ll say it’s barbecue season all year long. There’s never a bad time to eat smoked meats! But if you ask most people, they crave BBQ once the weather gets nicer. Think: summer picnic with pulled pork sandwiches, smoked brisket, and sides like mac and cheese or collard greens or potato salad. So, since we’re assuming you don’t usually spend 8+ hours smoking your own, we’ve put together the ultimate bucket list of the best BBQ restaurants in and around Pittsburgh.
You really can’t go wrong with anything from Smoke. Meats? Queso? Tacos? Cocktails? We love them all. Just remember they only take cash…and bring more than you think you need because you might not be able to stop ordering!
Pork & Beans is what BBQ should be, which you might not expect from a downtown restaurant. The meat selection changes daily. The tables are communal, with BBQ sauce, paper towels, and utensils in the middle. And we can’t get enough of their bruschetta.
Yinzburgh BBQ is smoking over hard woods with special spice mixtures, not slathering on the BBQ sauce. Although they don’t mind if you use one (or more!) of their six homemade sauces once everything is done cooking. And, they’re smoking organic tofu for the vegetarian or vegan in the group.
If you want the details, you can read about how much we love Spork Pit here. TLDR: it’s the sister restaurant of Spork, and they’re making everything in-house (except the buns and focaccia made at Spork). Trust us, try the sauces 😉
Wilson’s is the kind of BBQ joint that doesn’t have a website and doesn’t give out their homemade BBQ sauce secrets – although you can buy some to take home to put on, well, everything. Call ahead to order, or they might be sold out by the time you get there. And don’t forget, it’s cash only.
Did you know Twelve Whiskey Barbecue is Doce’s sister? Brother? Doesn’t matter – they’re serving up some great barbecue. In addition to the typical smoked pork, ribs, brisket, and chicken, they’re also doing burgers, wings, and a bunch of other dishes featuring their smoked meats.
Walter’s believes that the only things that matter are the food you’re eating, the beer you’re drinking, and the people you’re with. That’s why they’re serving up some pretty darn amazing BBQ, and we’ll drink to that! We’ll also eat all of their barbecue while we’re at it…
Z-Best is serving up homemade family recipes, so you know it has to be good! The menu might be small compared to some other restaurants, but they’re making chicken and ribs, which are the obvious BBQ winners. Add a couple sides, and do you really need anything else? Oh, and the daily dessert, obviously.
Two Brother’s has been around since 2004, and they’ve certainly grown since their competition beginnings! Today you can enjoy their BBQ at their restaurant, food truck (the Pulled Pork Express), or at a catered event. We don’t know about you, but we wouldn’t mind a trip on the Pulled Pork Express.
Route 8 BBQ is a newcomer, and they’re worth the drive out of the city. They’re making six (!) homemade sauces to try with their smoked pork, brisket, ribs, chicken, and more. And, FYI, their baked beans are pretty darn amazing, so you’ll probably want to order a side of those.
Chances are good that if you ask people from Pittsburgh where to get BBQ, at least one of them will mention Clem’s. There are no bad choices at Clem’s, although they might be sold out of your favorite if you don’t get there early.
Brisketburgh isn’t just out to make good barbecue, they’re creating community through food. That means using local ingredients, working with local charities to help fight hunger, and taking small steps towards sustainability, like using recycled and recyclable servingware. Oh, and their food is stellar, to top it off!
If you’re looking for Kansas City style BBQ, you need to look for Blowfish BBQ. We love their vinegar-based sauces – what better way to cut some of the richness of smoked meats? And, hello, smoked mac and cheese…
If you’ve ever wanted to eat ramen with barbecued meat, Mitch’s has you covered. They’re also serving their barbecue in all the standard ways, like on a sandwich or by the pound. Don’t forget to try their homemade ice cream for dessert!