This article is your passport to enjoying the best flavors offered by well-known barbecue chains across the nation, from melt-in-your-mouth brisket to succulent ribs. Get ready to go on a delicious journey through the smokey realms of sensational barbecue as we unveil the ultimate guide to the best BBQ chain restaurants to visit. We’ve put up a list that should satiate your carnivorous appetites, regardless of your level of experience with BBQ or your desire to learn more about the world of slow-cooked perfection. Come discover the skill of the pitmasters, the trade secrets, and the unique eating experiences that make these BBQ chains a meat lover’s paradise. A symphony of smoke, spice, and pure culinary joy is about to begin. Get ready!
Corky’s Ribs and BBQ
You might recognize the perky pig logo of Corky’s Ribs and BBQ, especially if you’re from Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, or Texas. Founded in Memphis, Corky’s offers classic Tennessee-style barbecue. Corky’s menu is classic barbecue fare, with chicken, pork, steak, and beef options. However, their best feature is the availability outside of dine-in. You can order up to six pounds of smoked meat for a home party. They also deliver all around the country in frozen, vacuum-sealed containers, so if you’re not near a store, you can still try the barbecue!
Rudy’s Country Store and BBQ
Founded in Texas, Rudy’s Country Store and BBQ has locations all around the Southern United States. Rudy’s offers classic barbecue flavors and desserts, with an additional breakfast taco menu for morning eaters. Their spicy chop, egg, and cheese tacos are some of the best breakfast tacos you can find! Because it was initially a country store, Rudy’s has excellent merchandise in addition to their barbecue. If you love the taste of the food, you can buy a brisket-scented candle or Rudy’s t-shirt to remember your favorite Rudy’s meal!
Bono’s Pit Bar-B-Q and Steakhouse
With over one hundred locations in nine states, Bono’s Pit Bar-B-Q is a classic in the Southeast. Their slogan is “if you don’t see a Pit, it ain’t Legit,” and they live up to it – all of their meat is smoked in a pit on site! Their menu is a complete BBQ, with platters, stackers, appetizers, sandwiches, and the option to order meat by the pound. They also do event catering and family packages. Bono’s is one of the most authentic barbecue chains in the South – don’t miss their freshly smoked St. Louis-style ribs!
City Barbeque didn’t start in the South – their headquarters are in Dayton, Ohio. However, they bring an authentic barbecue tradition to six different midwestern states by smoking their meats on-site every day for the freshest eating experience. All of their meats and several of their sides are gluten-free as well. City Barbeque prides itself on serving the communities around each location. City Barbeque sells out quickly, but anything left over at the end of the day is given to the needy in the local community. Their Nashville Hot Chicken is a favorite in every location (not just Tennessee)!
4 Rivers Smokehouse
4 Rivers Smokehouse is one of the smallest chains on this list, with under twenty locations throughout Florida. However, they hold their own amongst the larger chains with their classic barbecue favorites such as pulled pork, ribs, and their signature Angus brisket. In addition to these, they offer more unique takes on the barbecue: the Smokehouse BBQ quesadilla is delicious, and you won’t forget the Six Shooter (cheese grits with pulled pork, pickles, coleslaw, jalapenos, and their signature 4R sauce). 4 Rivers offers catering and sauces to go as well – the perfect recipe for your at-home barbecue!
Dickey’s Barbecue Pit
Dickey’s Barbecue Pit might be the most famous barbecue chain in the country. With regular barbecue, wings, and a vast array of side dishes, Dickey’s offers the best of fast(ish) food barbecue in 457 different locations. If you love to barbecue, you’ve probably been to Dickey’s. Their humanely sourced meats can be eaten in-store, ordered online, or catered for any event. One of the benefits of Dickey’s being so prominent is that they have an app – create an account, and you can earn points and save money on your barbecue!
Mission BBQ might be the most patriotic chain on our list. Mission was founded with the American people in mind, especially those who serve the country. The company donates and fundraises tens of thousands of dollars for veterans and first responders each year and continues to give back to the community. Of course, Mission BBQ has more than a great mission – they also have a great barbecue! From their chopped brisket to the pulled pork, their seasonings and rubs are delicious. Mission brings classic American flavors to the people in sixteen different states (and growing).
One of the hidden gems of the barbecue world is the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que chain. This small but mighty chain is located in New York and New Jersey and boasts some of the best barbecue in the Northeast. On their menu are customizable chicken, brisket, pork, and catfish plates with several different options for rubs, sauces, and more (if you want to try a side, you have to try the deviled eggs). You can also get combo plates, sandwiches, and barbecue burgers. The dine-in restaurants offer several craft beers as well!
Famous Dave’s BBQ
It might surprise you to find out how many restaurants on this list weren’t founded in the South! Famous Dave’s BBQ, another one of the country’s largest barbecue chains, was founded in Minnesota and now has almost two hundred restaurants around the country (and three outside of America). This barbecue chain’s menu includes options for single meal plates, combos, and their signature Feasts: three different servings of meat and up to six sides. Pro tip: they have one of the best fast food apps for gifts and discounts – download it before you order and start racking up points!
Full Moon Bar-B-Que
Named “the Best Little Pork House” in Alabama, Full Moon Bar-B-Que has locations all over the state. It’s a smaller chain, but not to be trifled with when it comes to making quality and delicious smoked meats. Full Moon is a state favorite both in the Birmingham area and further out. They’ve been in business for 35 years and are proud of their handmade, freshly smoked menu of meats. However, the dish that Full Moon is most famous for might be their vinaigrette slaw – get a side with your ribs and see if you don’t fall for it!
Jim N Nick’s BBQ
Jim N Nick’s BBQ brings the feel of a local, family-run business to the availability of a chain spreading over seven states. They make everything from scratch daily, smoke it on site, and donate leftovers to the community at the end of the day. Their menu is relatively pared down, but the food is delicious. In addition to the classic barbecue staples, Jim N Nick’s offers more American classics like loaded baked potatoes, hearty brisket chili, and brisket chili cheese fries. Of course, you can’t leave without trying the banana pudding!
L&L Hawaiian Barbecue
If you want something a little different than traditional barbecue, try a meal of L&L Hawaiian Barbecue! Initially based in Hawaii, the restaurant has spread throughout the Southwest and beyond with its signature Hawaiian flavors and an array of classic barbecue options. L&L is one of the largest barbecue chains for a good reason. L&L offers barbecue chicken, ribs, and pulled pork, but with an island twist. There are also multiple shrimp and seafood options, Chicken Katsu, and SPAM Musubi (a Hawaii classic). For a new barbecue experience, L&L Hawaiian Barbecue is the perfect night out.
Smokey Bones is another Southeastern barbecue joint. They have over sixty locations spreading up through the East Coast and Midwest and are continuing to grow. A slightly more upscale barbecue option, Smokey Bones offers more than just brisket and ribs. Smokey Bones has an extensive menu featuring regular barbecue offerings, salads, sides, soups, and more. However, their highlight is the mile-high burger menu – we seriously don’t understand how anyone could fit these burgers in their mouth with all of the toppings (including pickle chips!). Anything from their menu is a worthy meal for any food lover.
Sonny’s BBQ has been around for over fifty years and continues to be one of the best chains in the Southeast. Their restaurant and catering menus offer some of the best barbecue meals in the country and have amassed a faithful following of smoked meat fans. All of Sonny’s BBQ plates come with coleslaw, fries, and baked beans like any good barbecue enthusiast would want. The main dish is not lacking, however. Pulled pork, St. Louis ribs, chicken, or brisket are the main course options, with an array of classic sides, unique salads, and delicious desserts.