For those of us drawn to the idea of the wild west but enjoy creature comforts as well, Phoenix combines the adventurous spirit and natural beauty of the west with the modern luxuries of a big city. In keeping with a wild west theme, Phoenix has its fair share of cowboy cuisine in the form of rustic, family-friendly barbecue joints.
Barbecue restaurants in Phoenix offer a myriad of different styles from traditional southern to innovative Arizona takes on the art of smoked meats.
I spent my last trip to Phoenix feasting at the various barbecue restaurants around town to come up with the best options for you and your family to enjoy a hearty platter of meats and sides.
4301 E University Dr, Phoenix, AZ 85034
Located in front of the Salt River walking loop and right across the river from Phoenix’s international Airport, Little Miss BBQ is a Texas-style barbecue joint with a massive fan following. Locals and tourists alike flock to Little Miss BBQ after a hike along the South Mountain trail, and the line is always out the door for lunch and dinner crowds.
Texas barbecue is known for its brisket and sweet, tangy, and spicy barbecue sauce which Little Miss Barbecue has certainly perfected. I recommend the chopped brisket sandwich with sliced sausage, slaw, and pickles, and a side of potato salad.
Formerly known as Bobby McGee’s Bobby-Q Restaurant and Steakhouse has been serving the Phoenix area for 50 years. With locations in Mesa, Biltmore Plaza, and downtown Phoenix, Bobby Q is a steakhouse, cocktail bar, and barbecue restaurant in a casual yet refined cowboy-chic dining room.
They have excellent happy hours at all locations with discounted margaritas, brews, and signature cocktails. Bobby-Q has a diverse menu of barbecue smoked to perfection and rubbed with scratch-mixed spice rubs along with high-quality cuts of steak, fried chicken, salads, and southwestern-style appetizers.
I loved their smoked brisket tacos with sliced brisket, salsa verde, cotija cheese, cabbage, cilantro, and diced tomatoes.
2340 W Bell Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85023
Located in Deer Valley, NakedQ BBQ is a trendy, all-encompassing barbecue joint owned and operated by pit boss extraordinaire Oren Hartman who quit his Fortune 500 company job to pursue his passion for barbecue.
Chef Hartman traveled around the U.S. to inform a menu that encompasses every style of barbecue, from Kansas City to North Carolina. Whether you want a dry rub, a vinegar-based North Carolina sauce, or a Texas tomato-based sauce, NakedQ has every region authentically represented.
My favorite item was the pulled pork sandwich with hand-pulled pork on a brioche bun with a side of their amazing 3-cheese mac and cheese.
2010 E Broadway Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85040
JL Smokehouse Fusion BBQ is a friendly, no-frills Southern-style Barbecue restaurant that covers all the famous regional flavors from Texas to the Carolinas. Located just south of Central City, JL Smokehouse Fusion BBQ is a favorite neighborhood lunch spot with giant dining space to accommodate a hungry lunch crowd.
JL Smokehouse’s vast menu includes meat by the pound, gargantuan mixed plates, sandwiches, and po’boys, and more. I loved how they incorporated their delectable meats into dishes like nachos and loaded baked potatoes. Whatever you order, save room for their incredible peach cobbler.
1515 W Deer Valley Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85027
Located in the Deer Valley neighborhood, Pork on a Fork BBQ is a barbecue food truck and catering service that has garnered national acclaim from USA Today and the Cooking Channel.
Whether you want to enjoy an award-winning plate of barbecue in a tree-shrouded courtyard or have the barbecue come to you, Pork on a Fork has been voted best barbecue and a top 10 Arizona caterer business.
They’ve made ordering easy at their mobile establishment by having you first pick a type of meat, then pick how you want to eat it whether on its own, in a sandwich, as a burrito, in a salad, or a bowl. I recommend their sauce smothered baby back ribs with a side of creamy coleslaw and waffle fries.
4727 E Bell Rd #31, Phoenix, AZ 85032
Danky’s Bar-B-Q is a multi-generational barbecue joint owned and operated by Paddy Danks who comes from three previous generations of ranchers, butchers, and meat purveyors.
The Danks family started in Slovakia raising cattle and butchering, moved the family farm to Michigan, and now use the family farmed and butchered meat to supply their lively Paradise Valley restaurant.
Danky’s uses the freshest meat and 150 years’ worth of butchering and smoking to create their unique brand of barbecue. Their menu has family packages, platters, meat by the pound, and fantastic specialty sandwiches.
They make amazing smoked fried chicken smothered in-house BBQ sauce which I enjoyed with a side of fried okra and pork pit beans.
511 E Roosevelt St, Phoenix, AZ 85004
Located in the heart of downtown Phoenix’s Roosevelt Row Arts District, Trapp Haus BBQ is the premier brick-and-mortar location of a famed barbecue food truck owned and operated by pitmaster Phil Johnson. The hip dining room features artsy décor, muraled indoor and outdoor walls, and a full bar.
Trapp Haus’s barbecue has won tons of barbecue contests around the nation, and now you can couple a barbecue platter with an array of desert-inspired cocktails, spirits, wine, and beer. I had the Pitmaster Pink Drink with vodka, lime, and prickly pear to accompany my plate of sliced pork belly and jalapeno cheddar cornbread.
Known simply as “The Bear,” Honey Bear’s BBQ is a longstanding Southern Comfort barbecue joint in downtown Phoenix that’s been serving families and business crowds alike since 1986. Family-owned and operated by southern transplants, Honey Bear’s BBQ is as close to soul food as you can get in Phoenix.
Honey Bear’s has standard combo plates and sandwiches, but they also have Southern favorites like fried catfish, fried shrimp, collard greens, and corn casserole. I recommend coming on Fridays to get their slow-grilled rib tips.
They also make a loaded mac and cheese topped with your choice of pulled pork, brisket, or shredded chicken then smothered in BBQ sauce.
15044 N Cave Creek Rd #6, Phoenix, AZ 85032
Located in North Phoenix’s Sunset Hills neighborhood right across from the scenic Lookout Mountain, HEK Yeah BBQ is a humble, hole-in-the-wall barbecue joint, serving its own brand of Arizona barbecue in innovative plates you won’t find anywhere else.
Pit Master and owner Kenny uses his 20 years in the barbecue restaurant industry to perfect a succulent selection of smoked meats.
If you want to sample as many meats as possible, I recommend trying the over-the-top Mountain Sandwich with slow-smoked brisket, pulled pork, and sausage topped with pickles and sliced onions on a brioche bun with a side of green chili mac and cheese.
5037 S 24th St, Phoenix, AZ 85040
Texas BBQ House is a Texas-style barbecue restaurant in the South Mountain neighborhood with a lunch service only from Tuesday-Friday. They also have a mobile barbecue truck that changes location every few months if you want to get some fresh air while you eat.
Specializing in succulent Texas Brisket, giant turkey legs, and Texas-sized beef and pork ribs with a side of sweet and spicy tomato-based sauce, Texas BBQ House will fool you into thinking you’re in a small Texas town. They also have tons of Texas-style desserts like banana pudding and pecan pie. I went for the affordable single-person combo#3, St. Louis Ribs with Texas cream corn and Texas sweet tea.
4801 Washington St #3, Phoenix, AZ 85034
Located in Downtown Phoenix, Hap’s Pit Barbecue is owner and barbecue visionary Dan Darroch’s home-grown barbecue dream come to life.
Darroch built the smoker and rotisserie trailer for his now Phoenix famous meats himself in 1988, offering his delicious smoked meat creations right off the trailer to wide acclaim until opening the downtown restaurant in 1994.
Not only can you get pulled pork, brisket, ribs, and sausage, but Hap also has lamb, ham, and whole roasted pig on the menu. I recommend trying a hotlink dog style on a fresh bakery hot dog bun with coleslaw and kettle chips.