Smoking out PA's Best Barbecue

Happy Travelers, what says “summer” more than delicious, smoky barbecue? We’ve found some of the best BBQ joints you’ll find anywhere right here in Pennsylvania — all guaranteed to get your mouth watering and light up your taste buds. Get ready to pack your bags and crisscross the state for a BBQ-filled road trip sure to delight fans of every BBQ style —– from tangy Texan to sweet, savory St. Louis, and even Korean!

American Grill


The American Grill in Exeter serves up a true Southern culinary experience, with barbecue worthy of taking center stage. Featuring fresh ingredients and bold flavors, the American Grill has an extensive menu of BBQ favorites cooked low and slow over local apple, cherry, or hickory wood and steeped in their signature homemade sauces and rubs. Top off your meal with Southern- style strawberry shortcake or banana pudding to complete your culinary experience!

Area 51 Barbeque

Belle Vernon

The Area 51 Barbeque doesn’t pretend it’s anything but a great BBQ joint. Featuring St. Louis- style barbecue, your favorite BBQ meats are smoked daily onsite. Ribs, chicken, pulled pork, wings, and beef brisket are all on the menu, along with pork chops and smoked shrimp. Classic sides of baked beans, coleslaw, mac ‘n cheese, potato salad, and corn bread round out the menu for a fun and authentic BBQ experience.

BBQ by Barry's B3Q Smokehouse

West Pittston

In the mood for some Texas-style brisket, Carolina-style pulled pork, Memphis-style ribs, or the owner’s special recipe chicken?! Satisfy those BBQ cravings with a trip to this true smokehouse where all the meats are smoked, including the wings, and all the accompaniments — from the sauces to the sides — are made in-house. Sauces are served on the side, letting you decide just how much or how little Vinegar Sop, Alabama White, Spicy Chipotle, Peach, Mustard, or Signature Sauce you want to slather on top of that delectable meat.

Big Creek B-B-Q


The enticing aromas rising from Big Creek Bar-B-Q’s wood-burning roadside pit let you know you’re in for one special barbecue feast. Regular patrons (and some just passing through) rave about the sweet, flavor-filled barbecue sauce, more-than-generous portions, and all-around great food — from the ribs, chicken, pulled pork, and brisket to the super fresh coleslaw and three varieties of baked beans. While a bit off the beaten path, it’s definitely worth the detour!

Fette Sau


As the only rustic “shotgun shack” you’ll likely find in Philadelphia, you can’t miss Fette Sau (German for “Fat Pig”) in the city’s Fishtown neighborhood, nor would you want to! Specializing in dry-rubbed meats sourced from small, local farms and smoked in-house, you’ll be returning time and again to sample their latest tantalizing barbecue with a menu that changes daily.

Bonus: Fette Sau also offers nine beers on tap and more than 100 North American bourbons and whiskeys from which to choose the perfect complement to your BBQ feast.

Harvey's Main St. Bar-B-Q Restaurant

Mount Joy

One visit to Harvey’s Bar-B-Q and you’ll see why Harvey, aka “The Pitmaster,” has won awards up and down the East Coast and beyond for his barbecue creations. His signature sauce, a Carolina base with distinctive Lancaster touches, and his slow-roasted pulled pork, beef brisket, BBQ chicken, and St. Louis-style spare ribs have been satisfying the barbecue cravings of south central Pennsylvanians for nearly a quarter century. One taste and you’ll see why!

Hog Father’s Old-Fashioned BBQ

State College, Washington, Canonsburg

With three locations, it’s clear Hog Father’s serves up some seriously good BBQ! Their baby back and St. Louis-style ribs, hickory-smoked in-house, then flame-grilled and caramelized with their signature spicy red BBQ sauce — are a definite fan favorite. Pair those ribs with some southern fried chicken and cornbread for a true taste of the South!

Hood’s BBQ & Deli

Unionville/Kennett Square

Long a Chester County favorite, Hood’s BBQ & Deli is sporting a new look with a completely remodeled interior. Never fear: Hood’s still serves the same delicious barbecue — roasted low and slow for up to 16 hours over local hickory logs and fruitwood. The slow-roasted pulled pork “Hoodie” sandwich is a definite crowd pleasure, as are the dry-rubbed baby back ribs, smoked beef brisket, BBQ chicken, and smoked sausage. Be sure to save a little room for one of their homemade desserts, made fresh daily!

Little Everett's BBQ


Start with a spice-filled dry rub. Next, fire up the wood smoker stacked high with applewood. Finally, roast the ribs, brisket, and pork low and slow for hours until they reach tender perfection. That’s how Little Everett’s BBQ has been delivering its great-tasting BBQ to satisfied customers for the past six years. Stop in and taste for yourself why Little Everett’s has been voted Adams County’s top spot for barbecue, winning first place in the Pick of the Counties competition!

Pennsylvania BBQ


With hickory-smoked baby back ribs, beef brisket, chicken, and pulled pork, the Pennsylvania BBQ offers a barbecue meat-lovers dream destination, especially for those who love their sauce on the tangy side! Their dedicated clientele highly recommends the baked beans and never fail to stop when they see the restaurant’s “Pig Rig” mobile food truck out and about for some tasty BBQ on the go.

Redd’s Smokehouse


You may think you made a wrong turn and ended up down South after sampling some of Redd’s Smokehouse’s tantalizing BBQ and other authentic Southern dishes (Be honest: have you ever seen Brunswick Stew on any menu north of the Mason-Dixon line?) Their meats are all smoked low and slow in the true southern tradition with Applewood from local orchards, and made even more delicious by the family recipes for the homemade rub, honey mustard BBQ and ketchup based BBQ sauces brought north by the southern-born owners. True southern BBQ at its best!

Road Hawg BBQ


Central Pennsylvanians know a good barbecue and have voted Road Hawg the area’s best. Their pulled pork, chopped beef, smoked sausage, and beef brisket “sammiches” (aka “sammies”) are definite crowd-pleasers. You may want to add some of their jumbo smoked wings to your order — a Road Hawg specialty — or bring home a few pounds of their delectable barbecue meats or pierogies (served with smoked sausage, of course!).

Shakedown BBQ


Shakedown BBQ keeps popping up on the top of the “best BBQ in each state” lists, and for good reason. Their meats are apple-wood smoked, their sauces and rubs are highly creative and flavorful, and their BBQ styles range from Carolina and Texan to Korean and a few in between. Pick your meat and your favorite BBQ style and get your taste buds ready for a real BBQ treat!

Skeeter's Pit BBQ


Want your mouth-watering BBQ served with a side of stunning views of the Susquehanna River? Skeeter’s offers all that and a bit more. Dine inside or out on their patio enjoying brisket, ribs, pulled pork, pulled chicken, and a draft beer. Visit on select Sunday nights and you’ll be entertained by some of the best local and regional musicians.

Smoke BBQ Taqueria


With flavors reflective of the American Southwest and specializing in tacos filled with BBQ meats, Smoke BBQ Taqueria is not your typical BBQ joint. The meats (Wagyu, beef brisket, Berkshire pulled pork, St. Louis-style ribs) are all roasted overnight and are deemed “competition-worthy” by quite a few BBQ lovers.

Bonus: The tacos are made fresh onsite throughout the day!

Sweet Lucy’s Smokehouse


The sweet aroma of smoldering hickory wood that greets you even before you step through the door is a clear signal you’re in for some great barbecue! In addition to the traditional favorites — slow-roasted Texas beef brisket, pulled pork, pulled chicken, Memphis baby back ribs, and wings — Sweet Lucy’s offers smoked kielbasa and smoked salmon (a Friday night special). Can’t choose which taste-filled BBQ to order? Sample it all at the Monday night all-you-can-eat buffet and you won’t have to choose!

Three B Saloon


One trip to Three B Saloon and you’ll understand just what those 3 “Bs” stand for: beer, bacon and barbecue, with all three (bacon shots, anyone?) given center stage at this Southern-inspired restaurant. But it’s the barbecue that keeps fans coming back. Seasoned with spice blends, then wood-smoked for hours and hours, the barbecue pork and brisket are true winners with their hints of North Carolina, Mississippi, and St. Louis barbecue styles. Top those off with made-to-order mac n’ cheese or cornbread with your choice of add-ins for the complete Three B experience!

Yinzburgh BBQ


There’s no question “yinz” are in Pittsburgh, but you’ll be transported to the coastal plains of Georgia with just one taste of juicy and tender Yinzburgh BBQ. The pork, beef brisket, short ribs, chicken, baby back ribs, and organic tofu (yes, tofu!) are all first rubbed with their signature spice mixtures and then smoked low and slow over hardwood, producing some awesome melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness. Be sure to try the tomatoes and okra, black eyed peas, or collard greens!

2018 PA Great Outdoors BBQ Tour

What better way to celebrate the almighty barbecue than with a festival or a friendly competition dedicated to the art of this taste-filled cuisine? The Pennsylvania’s Great Outdoors region (PAGO) invites you to watch some true grill masters in action on its 2018 BBQ Tour, starting with the Smoke on the Mountain cookoff and competition (Jun. 22-23) in Kersey, where master grillers will compete for top BBQ honors, followed by Kill the Grill competition (Jul. 7) in Benezette entrants will smoke out the competition against the backdrop of the PA Wilds.. Rounding out the tour is the All Fired Up & Kickin’ Ash BBQ Competition (Sep 22) in Emporium, where contestants will be kicking ash and taking names!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram to stay up-to-date on even more great ideas and places to visit around our state. Don’t forget to never miss an update and sign up for our monthly Happy Thoughts e-newsletter.

share this article