Famous Dave’s might be a chain, but it happens to be one of the best barbecue chains in the country! Founded in Wisconsin in 1994, this chain is a midwestern classic. And if you think that BBQ is only good in the south, think again as Famous Dave’s is here to prove you wrong.
Dave Anderson’s father was a Southerner born and bred, who had to move North for work. Anderson inherited his father’s love for Southern barbecue and spent almost 20 years perfecting recipes before opening his first restaurant. If you’ve never been to Famous Dave’s, it might be time to give it a try!
Whether your favorite part of barbecue is the meat, the sauces, or the sides, Famous Dave’s has options for you. From St. Louis ribs to Texas beef brisket, this restaurant is worth a visit.
It’s one of my favorite barbecue spots and a great place to eat good food, no matter where you are in the country.
Best Famous Dave’s Menu Items
Check out our favorite food from the Famous Dave’s menu to find something tasty for your next visit!
The Man Handler
Barbecue is about eating a lot of meat and getting messy while doing it.
If you want a handheld sandwich, the Man Handler is the way to have one with style. It’s a classic barbecue sandwich, served with spicy pickles and a side of your choice.
The Man Handler starts with your choice of either Georgia chopped pork or Texas beef brisket (I’m a brisket fan, so I always go with Texas beef).
Then, it adds spicy sausage links and even spicier pickles. The sauce depends on which meat you choose, but you can always ask for a different kind.
Either way, you’re in for a treat as I happily found out.
Southside Rib Tips
One of the best appetizers on the menu is the platter of rib tips.
Your table can split a whole pound of Southside rib tips, inspired by the South Side of Memphis, Tennessee.
These rib tips are dry-rubbed and ready to eat, smoked Tennessee style. You can dip them in Southside BBQ sauce to complete the flavor profile.
These rib tips come with a side of Famous Dave’s spicy hell-fire pickles (seriously, so good!) and coleslaw.
Anytime I get a chance to try a spicy pickle, I go for it. In my opinion, Dave’s hell-fire pickles are some of the best around. I can’t recommend them enough!
Another great appetizer is the pound of burnt buttz (or in some locations, just known as burnt ends).
Imagine the most tender and delicious Texas beef brisket, toasted and caramelized to charred perfection.
Add the sweet and zesty barbecue sauce and you’ve got an appetizer that will be gone in seconds.
These appetizers are great to share or eat alone. However, I was surprised at how big they were, so I recommend pacing yourself if you get them alone.
After all, you want enough room for the main course as well (unless you’re big into leftovers).
There is no question that Famous Dave’s is more than just appetizers.
The chicken dishes are incredible, from fried chicken sandwiches to the famous barbecue chicken. If you’re aiming for an authentic BBQ experience, try the BBQ chicken at Famous Dave’s.
This platter is half a chicken, pulled apart after being roasted.
It’s toasted ever so slightly in the flames and then smothered in sweet and sassy barbecue sauce (a milder option if you don’t love spicy flavors).
When paired with Dave’s Mac and Cheese, I personally found myself wanting more and more of this delightful meal.
Texas Beef Brisket
Famous Dave’s is like a trip around the country in terms of barbecue.
It’s inspired by countless Southern recipes, from Memphis Southside rib tips to the homeplace of brisket, Texas. Since Dave spent so many years perfecting his recipes, you take a bite of this brisket and feel like you’re in the Lone Star State.
I found the Texas beef brisket to be everything I expected: tender, juicy, and delicious.
It’s got a secret mix of spices, brown sugar, and salt rubbed into it, and is slowly smoked over hickory wood until perfection.
If you’re from Texas you know that that’s the only and best way to prepare brisket, and no other way is acceptable.
Baby Back Ribs
Of course, if you go to a barbecue place for ribs, you should expect some delicious ribs.
Well, like anything else on Famous Dave’s menu, you’re in luck. Get an entire rack of St. Louis style ribs or baby-back ribs.
Whichever you choose, you’re sure to have an amazing (if messy) meal.
Dave’s baby back ribs are slightly more expensive than the St. Louis style because of where they come from on the pig.
In my opinion, they are worth every penny. Every single rib is full of tender meat, expertly flavored and smoked over a wood fire. Dave doesn’t mess around when it comes to barbecue, and his ribs are no exception.
If you want burgers instead of traditional barbecue, you can’t go halfway. Famous Dave’s burgers are mouthwatering, from Dave’s favorite to a build your own burger.
However, the ultimate burger is the way to go if you’re into pork, barbecue, and tasty meats.
The ultimate burger starts with grade A beef and sharp cheddar cheese (like any good burger).
Then it piles on pulled pork, bacon, and signature Sweet and Zesty BBQ sauce.
It’s a lot of flavor, but honestly, who goes to a barbecue not looking for a lot of flavor? Given how huge it is, I usually end up eating the leftovers with a fork!
Dave’s Award Winning Chili
Dave’s Award Winning Chili is just that—award-winning. You might not think of soup when you first go to a barbecue place, but many people order it as a first course and it becomes their favorite item on the menu.
They wouldn’t be wrong, either. In fact, Dave’s chili is just about the best combination of hearty, spicy, and flavorful.
Chili is a more controversial food than you’d think. Is it supposed to have beans or not? Noodles or none?
All over the country, opinions on chili vary. However, anyone who tries Dave’s quickly realizes how delicious it is.
I love all types and flavors of chili, so I couldn’t help but love Dave’s. But trust me—it’s mind-blowing.
Cheese curds might not be the first thing you think about when you ponder barbecue sides.
You might be thinking more of fried pickles, coleslaw, or macaroni and cheese. Don’t get me wrong—Famous Dave’s does all of those sides well, but so does every barbecue place.
If you want a unique twist on barbecue, add cheese curds to your order.
Although BBQ is a traditionally southern food, these cheese curds reflect the Midwestern origins of Famous Dave’s.
Wisconsin cheddar cheese, breaded and deep-fried, dip into marinara or ranch (or barbecue sauce) with ease.
While it’s not at every location, this appetizer is worth a try if you are at a Famous Dave’s somewhere in the Midwest.
Best Famous Dave’s Menu Items
- The Man Handler
- Southside Rib Tips
- Burnt Buttz
- BBQ Chicken
- Texas Beef Brisket
- Baby Back Ribs
- Ultimate Burger
- Dave’s Award Winning Chili
- Cheese Curds
If I haven’t convinced you yet, maybe barbecue just isn’t for you.
However, if you’re reading this and getting hungry (and I’ve picked up an appetite while writing), pop over to the closest Famous Dave’s and pick up a burger, a rack of ribs, or a platter of barbecue chicken. I promise you won’t regret it.
Looking for something different like seafood? Check out the Bonefish Grill menu instead for another fast casual option!
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