Photo Credit: Cou-yon’s Cajun Bar-B-Q (Port Allen, LA)

Barbecue  on the Great River Road 

No matter how you say or spell it (barbecue, barbeque, BBQ) the Great River Road will put your meat cravings in check. From South to North, from traditionalists to new styles (vegan options), you will not be disappointed.


Minnesota Barbecue Company (Minneapolis, MN)

Oak flavors the brisket, ribs are seasoned with juniper and clove, and the sausages are cured and cased in-house. This is a take-out only restaurant, head a few doors down at Fair State Brewing and enjoy.

The Piggy BBQ Of Walker (Walker, MN)

The ribs, pork, and brisket are smoked daily and “Why do you always sell out?” is a common question. This place offers the freshest barbecue and even Jackfruit pulled pork for the Vegans or curious eaters.


J&J Barbeque (Nelson, WI)

Rave reviews of tender ribs, pork, chicken and mouth-watering brisket. They pride themselves on their ingredients including ” smoke, meat, and time” while honoring the traditions of true barbecue.

Big Boar BBQ (West Salem, WI)

This Wisconsin staple serves savory, smoked barbecued meats in a casual atmosphere, using fresh and local ingredients, try all the in-house smoked meats, sauces, and rubs.


Skinny’s Barbeque ( Muscatine, IA )

Visitors to Skinny’s can try the barbecue, salads, soups, and daily specials. Choose from brisket, ribs, chicken, and pulled pork as well as many of the in-house made sides.

What BBQ & Bar (Le Claire, IA)

Offering up barbecue staples like brisket, pulled pork, ribs, chicken, and baked potatoes. They even throw a few Cajun and vegetarian options into the mix. Give them a try!


Smoked on 3rd BBQ Bistro (Sterling, IL)

Smoked brisket tacos, deep fried avocado bites, and Vodka fruit punch fish bowls.  What?! Here’s to hoping those are on the Weekly Specials list when you roll through town.

Doc’s Smokehouse (Edwardsville, IL)

The meat here is “smoked low ‘n’ slow” and the owners even officiate and host professional BBQ events, and have won 300+ awards. Try your hand at the 32 oz. fork-tender pork steak!


Port Cape (Cape Girardeau, MO)

Besides the barbecue, this place rocks a mean fried catfish along with smoked chicken wings and even a pimento cheese brisket sandwich. If those choices don’t get you, try the shrimp and grits.

Ethyl’s Smokehouse & Saloon (O’Fallon, MO) 

Down-home and family friendly hangout featuring BBQ staples and also offering classic items like burgers, wings, and beer. Featuring outdoor seating & kids area for some parent relief.


Kentucky Hillbilly BBQ (Wickliffe, KY) 

A roadside BBQ joint that is takeout only, people celebrate the “best BBQ” at this local stop, favoring the brisket and the hashbrown casserole, grab it to go or stand outside at a few outdoor tables.

Starnes Barbecue (Paducah, KY) 

Long-standing barbecue restaurant serving chopped pork sandwiches, five different kinds of meat, all served on grilled white bread, add a side of coleslaw or potato salad and enjoy!


Blues City Cafe (Memphis, TN)

You will find the soul food you have been dreaming about but also nightly live music of the Delta region. Ribs are the focal point here but people can still tuck into steaks, tamales, and catfish.

Helen’s Bar BQ (Brownsville, TN)

Mentioned to be the “smokiest barbecue”, what makes this special is the open pit cooking style and it being located in a 100 year old building.  People travel for miles for a chance to try it.


Jones Bar-B-Q Diner (Marianna, AR)

Open since 1910 (ish), this spot is believed to be the country’s oldest black-owned restaurant and was nominated as “American Classic” by the James Beard Foundation. No big decisions here, this place only serves pork BBQ sandwiches.

Road Side Bar-B-Que (Proctor, AR)

The ribs are praised as “fall off the bone”.  A sampling of food includes smoked sausage, chopped beef, pulled pork, shrimp dinners, and the sides include coleslaw, potato salad, onion rings and more


Pig Out Inn Barbecue (Natchez, MS) 

Perfectly located atop the bluff of the Mississippi River, this spot serves wood-fired smoked BBQ and also knocks out some homemade mini pies and banana pudding. Enjoy a beer in the enclosed patio.

Mississippi Barbeque Company (Vicksburg, MS) 

This place is sporting corn-hole, music, and always has a game on. Order a mason jar of sweet tea, pulled pork sandwich or the green onion sausage sandwich and enjoy the cool vibe.


BRQ Seafood and Barbeque (Baton Rouge, LA) 

Voted Best BBQ in Baton Rouge, this family restaurant serves BBQ, seafood, and craft cocktails while being committed to local farmers and purveyors in the area to offer the best product.

Cou-yon’s Cajun Bar-B-Q (Port Allen, LA)

Find fresh ingredients and generous portions at this “cajun-meets-South-Texas BBQ”, go on and try the lean brisket, fried shrimp, stuffed baked potatoes and more at this casual hangout.