Drinking Pig
Photograph: @rubenpicture

The best BBQ in Miami and where to find it

From trendy places founded by fine-dining chefs to roadside attractions that slung ribs to our grandparents

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Just like how we feel about our pro sports teams, we’ve got a fickle relationship with barbecue in Miami. Take for instance La Trailia, a place we all went bonkers for, right before it disappeared like the Dolphins in the playoffs. It’s not alone: We’ve said a saucy goodbye recently to Bon Gout BBQ, King of Racks and, at least until it finds a new spot, Bog Leg’s. 

But we’ve got good news when it comes to ’cue: Miami still has some downright excellent smoked meat outposts, from chef-driven places doing very creative things with spice rubs to the traditional roadside attractions working on hitting a century in business. To scout our favorites, we stained a whole lot of shirts with sauce and inspected ribs like we were working on a PhD in smoke rings. The result: an up-to-date accounting of the finest BBQ in Miami.

RECOMMENDED: The best steakhouses in Miami

Where to find the best BBQ in Miami

Inspired by a trip to Austin, former KYU chef Raheem Sealey opened Drinking Pig at the end of a North Miami cul-du-sac. Now, he's got a full-fledged location in Downtown (though it's currently only open Saturdays and Sundays from noon until they sell out). The vibe improves on the already fun frontyard aesthetic with a bar churning out cocktails and a communal table to eat beside the people you meet waiting in line. The reward for the wait: moist and tender brisket, just a bit of fat clinging to that pink-hued meat; smoky wings tossed in a mustard sauce; spicy sausage with a crunchy exterior; and baby back ribs so succulent they slide off the bone. For sides, there’s oozy mac and cheese, smoky beans, tangy slaw, collard greens spiked with smoky chicken and cornbread with salt crystallized over the top.

  • Barbecue
  • Kendall

There’s no phone and no takeout at this joint inside a renovated golf club caddy shack, so be patient waiting for a rare open seat in the charming but tight dining room. We promise it's worth it for empanadas, smoked-then-fried wings, pulled pork on Texas toast and a cheesy, smoky burger. The sides are as well-conceived as any sit-down restaurant. We especially liked the gooey mac and cheese and the sweet cornbread shaped like a skull. There’s also an impressive cocktail game here, unique for Miami barbecue spots, headlined by an old fashioned served with a skull hat that holds in a cloud of smoke. 

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  • Barbecue
  • Allapattah
  • price 2 of 4

Before all of the 212 invaded the 305, Hometown led the pack (in terms of meat, that is) with this Allapattah outpost of its famed Brooklyn barbecue joint. The covered, open-air space is sprawling with a fully stocked bar that spans its width for a drink program that’s equally sizable. Find a variety of wines (listed with tasting notes), local brews and craft cocktails to go with your meaty spread. Smoked meats are served by the half-pound—think marbled brisket and pulled pork—while ribs are available in three kinds and sizes. It’s a sharing place, especially if you’re thinking about starting off with a Frito pie or smoked brisket queso—which you absolutely should. 

  • Barbecue
  • Leisure City
  • price 2 of 4

Shiver’s is the place for super-size everything: brisket, benches and beverages. The Homestead institution serves real-deal hickory-smoked meats—from baby back ribs and pork spare ribs to chicken and beef brisket—which it’s been making the exact same way for more than 60 years. The meat is so good, they don’t even care about serving you Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce because you won’t even need it. Be warned: Shiver’s a 40-minute hike from downtown Miami but so, so worth it.

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  • Sports Bars
  • Coconut Grove
  • price 2 of 4

This South-Florida–based chain of seafood and barbecue restaurants serves up good times and enormous racks of ribs in equal measure. The Ribs Combo is the adult version of a Happy Meal you didn’t know you needed: a half rack of ribs along with a choice of a half dozen wings, chicken stickers, half a barbecued chicken or fried shrimp, for $21.49.

  • Barbecue
  • price 1 of 4

Uncle Tom’s has been a Coral Gables landmark since 1948. It underwent a massive image and menu overhaul in recent years, but it still serves the classics families have come to love: brisket, baby back ribs and buttery breads, plus additions like crispy corn nuggets.

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  • Barbecue
  • Dadeland
  • price 1 of 4

This friendly barbecue pit is a throwback to pre-developed, pre-trendy Miami. There’s a chill vibe and lots of finger-lickin’ ’cue. Barbecued chicken and ribs are served at three South Florida locations.

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