Tucked into varying neighborhoods around Saint Paul are a collection of pitmasters dedicated to the art of bringing smoke to meat. Whether you’re a Texas-style brisket enthusiast, fan of the saucy pulled pork sandwich mounded high on a sauce-catching bun, or on the hunt for something new, there’s a place just around the corner serving something spectacular.
Because some locations are still offering take-out only or are not open 7-days a week, we recommend you check each restaurant before visiting.
Black Mkt St. Paul
Picking up barbecue from this trailer showcases the feel-good community that Saint Paul excels at building. In addition to a crescendoing sense of anticipation while waiting for a rack of supremely tender brisket, there’s also an opportunity to chat with other giddy patrons. Soon, the entire operation takes on the feel of a lively block party. What binds everyone is a love of smoked meats. Order online early in the week to secure the best cuts before they sell out.
Bark and the Bite
Bark and the Bite began as a food truck, then a deli counter in Minneapolis, before landing in their current address on Marshall Avenue. The restaurant is just as much a treat ordering in, or ordering to-go. Linger inside with a cold beer to wash down the saucy goods, or load up on juicy meats, sides, and sauces before finding a picnic spot around the nearby Mississippi River. Bark and the Bite is also a great option for those who have a hunger for barbecue, but also need to manage other dietary desires. On the menu are vegan barbecue jackfruit and other veggie and gluten-free friendly foods.
Roosters BBQ Deli
Rooster’s Deli BBQ has all the charm of a roadside stand with just a couple of seats inside and focuses on smoked meats and fried chicken. Order a classic pulled pork sandwich, piled high with dressed coleslaw for hunger-busting, hand-held meal, or order up trays of smoked meats and share that good with a crowd.
An icon on University Avenue, Hickory Hut offers the incredible dinner duo of ribs and chicken wings. Tender ribs with a smoke-pink crust bare represent this restaurant’s name wonderfully, but insiders know that every meal also has to come with a side of fried, giant wings heartily seasoned. Put them both together and it’s a meatfest of epic proportions.
This Cathedral Hill restaurant boasts some celebrity glint thanks to owner and chef Justin Sutherland. The former Top Chef competitor has built a stellar culinary reputation in the years since he first opened Handsome Hog. Since day one the brisket has been a hot commodity. Each day only so much of this pink, smoke-kissed meat is made and when it’s gone, it’s gone. Order a hearty serving out on the lively patio, with its own dedicated bar, when the sun is shining for a glorious St. Paul experience.
This beauty of a spot just off Snelling, and a hop from 94, serves thin-sliced rib tips that are just begging to be snacked on. Start there before digging into the meat-topia of other Fire Box BBQ selects with classic sides like mac and cheese, coleslaw, and skinny fries.
Hunter Boys Southern BBQ
Truly great barbecue is a deceptively simple endeavor -- and that’s what makes it an elusive art. The meat is as nuanced as the pitmaster, each bite a delicate balance of time, wood, and care. And everyone knows, great barbecue was invented in the South. That specific flavor, where the greats originated, is what Hunter Boys is recreating on Rice Street. Here, the meats tell that story, without any pomp, but oh, what a story it is. Drag a little hunk of chicken through their thick sauce and taste what we’re talking about. Save room for a slice of pie.
Pig Approved BBQ
Follow the alluring aroma to this trailer serving all wood-cooked barbecue in a variety of ways. Whether stuffing those tender meats inside a taco, or serving an unadorned rib, this mobile vendor is worth a literal follow. Make a literal roadside pit stop for the Duroc pulled pork sandwich. This breed of pig sports an unctuous fat layer that melts into the meat when given the proper low-and-slow treatment.
Ribs at Smoke Session BBQ
Smoke Session BBQ
Track down this bright red trailer for pepper-crusted ribs or some of the best, chunky smoked sausages around. Open most days for lunch and dinner this down-home smoker also has a creamy mac salad to cool down that peppery rib spice. Plus, as a particularly delicious bonus, Smoke Session has crispy egg rolls and Lao sausage.
Famous Dave’s brought barbecue to the masses with sweet (and spicy) sauces and tender cornbread muffins. Fans love to order up a heap of ribs and a whole selection of sauces. The restaurant on West 7th gives all the good-time honky-tonk vibes with a wrap-around porch and family-friendly environment.
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