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The Porch Southern Fare & Juke Joint
Photograph: Courtesy The Porch Southern Fare & Juke Joint

The 9 best BBQ in Boston

Here’s where to go for smoky, meaty barbecue in Boston, including ribs and burnt ends

Olivia Vanni
Written by
Olivia Vanni
&
Eric Grossman
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Barbecue snobs may only go to places like Texas, Kansas City or the Carolinas to get their fix—but quite a few joints around Boston hold their own when it comes to the art of slow-cooked meats. Whether it's brisket or ribs, wings or burnt ends, you can satisfy your craving for barbecue, sauce and Southern sides without traveling too far. Our list of the best barbecue in Boston is obviously geared towards our city's carnivores, but there are plenty of plant-based eating options that you can find in our guides to the best vegetarian restaurants in Boston and best vegan restaurants in Boston

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in Boston

Best BBQ in Boston

  • Restaurants
  • Barbecue
  • Kendall Sq
  • price 2 of 4

Chef Andy Husbands has years of practice, particularly as a member of New England's first competitive barbecue team to win the Jack Daniels World BBQ Championship, so this ‘cue is top notch. Platters of ribs, burnt ends, smoked turkey and other meats are matched by hearty sides, like pimento mac ‘n cheese, bacon collards and cornbread with honey sea salt butter. The bar carries more than 200 whiskies, the perfect beverage to wash down a meaty feast.

  • Restaurants

This cash-only joint is worth the trip to the ATM… and then up to Winthrop. Blackstrap slowly smokes all of its many meats onsite, serving them with a big old helping of love inside its laid-back, brick-walled space. Beyond its many pit specialties—from crispy jerk chicken to burnt ends—this place also offers hearty accompaniments like “Gram Kath’s rip your lips off chili” and corn and bacon salad, as well as boozy adult milkshakes. Other ways to enjoy its super tender proteins: atop its barbecue fries and nachos, or mixed into its ginger scallion lo mein.

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  • Restaurants
  • Dorchester

M&M BBQ embodies everything that barbecue stands for: love, family and tender smoked meats. This pit operation started back in the ’80s, when Marion and Maurice Hill used to sell their famous ribs out of a food truck. Nowadays, their grandson Geo Lambert has taken it to the next level, expanding into a catering business before also setting up shop at Dorchester Brewing Company. Every week, this restaurant keeps hungry brewery-goers fed with its classic racks of ribs, as well as Dot-themed sandwiches stuffed with juicy pulled pork, brisket and fried chicken.

  • Restaurants
  • Barbecue
  • Mattapan
  • price 2 of 4

This Mattapan takeout joint has been slow-cooking classic barbecue for more than 30 years. Pork, beef and chicken are all smoked to perfection for your tray with all the fixins or a quick sandwich. Southern sides include slaw, collards, yams, cornbread and Cajun rice, and banana pudding is a must. If you love their secret BBQ sauce as much as many people do, you can take home a gallon. Plan in advance—Pit Stop is only open Thursday to Saturday.

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  • Restaurants

Any place that had a custom, 1000-lb wood-fired smoker built in order to make its menu is the place you want to eat barbecue. An homage to chef/owner Jonathan Post’s Tennessee roots, The Porch offers a classic, whole-hog barbecue program typical of his native state. Besides all of that pork and traditional Nashville fare (yes, there’s hot chicken), this Medford spot also serves a bunch of other barbecue musts, like brisket and smoked chicken wings, as well as Southern staples that stretch all the way down to the bayou, including bottomless boiled peanuts, fried okra, smothered oxtails and crawfish etouffee.

  • Restaurants
  • Barbecue
  • Somerville
  • price 2 of 4

This long-standing barbecue spot in Somerville is usually quite crowded, with a steady stream of chatter adding to its lively atmosphere. There’s something for everyone on the lengthy menu of platters and sandwiches. Try the Memphis-style, dry-rubbed ribs with biscuits, hush puppies or mac and cheese. Sauces are tangy and flavorful. A solid beer list complements the meats, and banana pudding with Nilla Wafers provides a strong Southern finish.

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  • Restaurants
  • Barbecue
  • Fenway/Kenmore
  • price 2 of 4

Tiffani Faison’s casual spot near Fenway serves up barbecue—from brisket to pulled chicken—on metal lunch trays. House-made sauces kick up the flavor, and you can’t go wrong with any of the sides (most, like fried green tomatoes or okra, are vegetarian). Get a bucket ‘o biscuits to scoop up any remaining meaty bits, and don’t miss the giant Nutter Butter for dessert.

  • Restaurants
  • Barbecue
  • price 2 of 4

Blue Ribbon has been smoking meats for more than 20 years in Newton and Arlington. It’s a go-to joint for parties and small groups, as they sell meats and sides by the pound. North Carolina, Kansas City, Texas and St. Louis styles are all represented in the smoker, and a variety of sauces are available as well. Burnt ends (hickory-smoked brisket doused in sauce and caramelized) are a popular choice. Don’t miss the baked beans, and save room for pecan pie.

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  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Inman Sq
  • price 3 of 4

The main draw at Highland Fried is the fried chicken, but barbecue plays a strong supporting role. Brisket, pulled pork, spicy sausage and St. Louis ribs are all done well, offered in plate or sandwich form. Standard sides like collards and slaw are available, but it’s worth the upgrade for chicken and andouille gumbo. Make it a party with a classic tiki drink like the Painkiller or the Long-Suffering Bastard. Save room for peach cobbler.

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