The 7 Best BBQ Spots In Philly

When you’re in the mood for smoked meats and BBQ sides, these are the only places to go.
The 7 Best BBQ Spots In Philly  image

photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO

Philly loves to eat meat on seeded Italian rolls—either dripping with cheese or layered with cold cuts and peppers—in a juicy burger on a brioche bun, or at steakhouses that make you feel as special as your grandmother telling you that you’re her favorite. But this also means that great BBQ spots with excellent quality and options like Texas-style brisket, hickory-flavored sausage, and St. Louis ribs may get lost in the shuffle. We made this guide to lead you to the best places—that all smell like campfire heaven–where you can get some perfectly charred meat and a whole lot of family-style sides. 


photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO


East Passyunk

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When you’re having a few friends over and want them to believe that you’re the greatest pitmaster to walk the earth, an order of anything from South Philly’s Mike’s BBQ will do the trick. And that’s because it’s the most sought-after BBQ spot in town–so much so that we put it on our best South Philly, East Passyunk, and wings guides. On the menu, you can expect things like sandwiches packed with pulled pork, sausages, and sides ranging from creamy gouda mac and cheese to potato salad topped with bacon (that gives each spoonful an extra bit of crunch). But our favorite thing here is the juicy, smoky 14-hour brisket that is always the best thing we ate all week. You can get each meat plain but we love to drizzle it all with their sweet Carolina barbecue sauce and let everyone in our backyard think we deserve a spot on Food Network.  

There are times when we watch things like the Fast and Furious BBQ scene and it makes us dream of St. Louis ribs. And when we do, we head right to Deke’s BBQ in Germantown. They offer a few things: daily drink specials, lots of TV screens and pool tables, and most importantly, excellent barbecue and cornbread good enough to fight over. Expect fantastic ribs coated with extra seasoning, brisket cheesesteaks with slabs of their salty and smoky meat, and plenty of juicy chicken that’s covered in their sweet bbq sauce. They open as early as 3pm during the weekdays and 12pm on weekends, so you can start your afternoon with a chopped pork sandwich and some loaded wedges and end the night with a sugary peach cobbler. 

Kensington’s Zig Zag BBQ offers classic Texas barbecue staples like pork ribs, brisket, and turkey breast. And while you can kind of get bbq as good at a few other places in town, what sets them apart are their loaded sandwiches, creative sides, and how incredibly consistent they are. You can’t go wrong with the turkey sandwich, layered with blueberry jam, mayo, and caesar-y kale, or their brisket sandwich, topped with pickles, onions, and peppery bbq sauce. For sides, they have a dill and horseradish-heavy potato salad, and a mac and cheese that blends queso bechamel, American cheese, pickled jalapeño, and a Flamin Hot Cheetos garnish so well that it tastes like a cheesy butter in your mouth. Add a fluffy square of their cornbread with melty miso maple butter on top and you’ll have a meal well worth looking for parking for 35 minutes.  

Fette Sau is one of the most dependable spots for a big group dinner in Philly. And with long communal tables and massive trays of pulled pork, smoked sausages, a rack of ribs, and a few large sides like smoked corn that can feed at least six people, we can understand why. At the Fishtown spot, everyone orders at the front, heads to the bar to put in their drink order, and then parks up at a picnic table inside or outside where they wait for some juicy and tender chunks of meat. Plus, they have one of the best Happy Hours in town with $5 beers, $4 chicken legs and spicy slaw, and $3 smoked deviled eggs. 

photo credit: GAB BONGHI



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The Lucky Well was one of our favorite BBQ spots before it became a four-in-one restaurant concept. It’s an easygoing place where you can sit back with some incredibly tender brisket, grab a drink, and watch whatever sports team is currently melting down on TV. And nothing about the space’s overhaul changes that. Head to this Spring Garden spot for some juicy herb-brined chicken and pork ribs that radiate smoky sweetness. When it comes to rounding out your meal, they have a Memphis mustard slaw that will convert any diehard creamy slaw fan, excellent mac and cheese, and tangy BBQ beans. All will go great with whichever scotch or bourbon you choose to sip on while ranting about the score. 

This Gray’s Ferry casual order-at-the-door operation has people lining up, whether it's a sweltering summer day or a mini monsoon. All their meats are smoked in-house, including their tender brisket that’s hand-trimmed and cooked low-and-slow, jalapeño cheddar sausage, and pulled pork that's cooked for 12 hours. You can order any meat by the pound, put it on a kaiser roll or wrap for a sandwich, or get a combination platter that includes a juicy cut or two with a side of slaw, potato salad, mac and cheese, and cornbread. Add an order of apple bread pudding and you’ll have the ideal hearty meal for a casual game night with friends or for a work-from-home lunch that will give you meat sweats through your next Zoom meeting.  

When you walk into this Northeast BBQ institution, you’ll feel like you’ve got sucked into a 1960’s farmhouse time warp that you’ll never want to get out of. With long picnic tables and large wood benches, it can work for group dinners or as an after-work hangout spot when you don’t mind showing your coworkers your messy side. The extensive menu, like their fatty Memphis ribs, has everything from pulled pork, smoked kielbasa, and brisket by the pound to a combo platter that can include up to four meat choices. When you’re looking to round out those party trays, their smokehouse chili, potato salad, and cajun bean and rice are all standouts. They also have a complimentary pickle and peppers bar on the side. So pile them on, find a bench, and be happy that you found a place that saved you from sweating through your favorite The Weeknd shirt in front of a grill. 

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