We’re always on the hunt for the best of Virginia – everything from hikes and drives to wines and eats. The list that follows includes 18 great BBQ joints for those who travel with their taste buds. Note that these are not ranked, but they are recommended by locals and we invite you to leave a comment below to give a shout-out to your favorite.
1. In Virginia’s motorsports hotbed sits the family owned and operated Checkered Pig Barbecue. You might have seen this Martinsville gem on Food Network, the Travel Channel or Versus, or tasted their award-winning ribs and sauces at a festival. No? Consider this the drop of the green flag for you to put your pedal to the metal.
2. Saucy’s Walk-Up BBQ is a deceptive delight. A converted shipping container sits on the corner of 5th and Bollingbrook Streets in Petersburg. It’s there that you’ll literally walk up and order some of the most delicious homemade barbecue pork, chicken and ribs in Virginia. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Southern Living found it to be noteworthy, so …
3. Hailed as the best pulled pork, chicken, ribs and brisket in the New River Valley, Due South BBQ in Christiansburg is indeed an award-winning establishment with quite a few first place claims to fame. Don’t miss out on their Tuesday night all-you-can-eat deal or their Wednesday night “kids eat free” opportunity.
4. The Northern Virginia and Washington, DC crowds LOVE Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling Company with their Alexandria and Arlington locations. Rocklands uses red oak and hickory to smoke their meats – a little cooking strategy that has garnered them “Best of DC” acknowledgements five years in a row.
5. If St. Louis style ribs and Memphis style BBQ are your weakness, The Galax Smokehouse in Galax is the place to be. In fact, everyone wants to be there. It didn’t take long after its 2003 opening for this BBQ joint to become a magnet for locals and tourists alike. When you’re good, you’re good.
6. Old-school, slow-cooked, open-flame barbecue-you’re-going-to-LOVE comes from BBQ Exchange in Gordonsville. The Hartman’s have spent more than 30 years perfecting their hickory-smoked pork and chicken. You’re in for an amazing treat when you look up this whitewashed gem in Orange County.
7. Smitty’s Better Burger - An authentic 1950′s drive-in and Hampton Landmark.
8. Dixie Bones - Named one of the Top 100 Restaurants by Washingtonian Magazine. Woodbridge
9. Log Cabin Barbecue - Enjoy your down-home barbecue in a 200 year old log cabin in Elkton.
12. Q Barbeque - “So good it won barbecue competitions across the country.” We’ll take that as good. Find it in Midlothian.
13. Pierce’s PITT Bar-B-Que - Pierce’s hickory-smoked, Tennessee-style Bar-B-Que made with “Doc” Pierce’s Original Bar-B-Que Sauce brings you the flavor and taste that’s a true American original. Located in Williamsburg
14. The Barbeque Grill - “Ribs must be served fresh from the smoker,” is the philosophy of this Vinton joint, so come get a fresh, hot rack Fridays after 5.
15. Allmans BBQ in Fredericksburg – Serving BBQ since 1954. Vicki says “I have never found any better than Mama’s pulled barbeque – as well as her slaw – yum! and the sauce – oh my!”
16. Alamo BBQ – Alamo specializes in authentic Texas style BBQ, including an award winning beef brisket. Southwest influenced. Try the jalapeno mac-n-cheese!
17. Extra Billy’s Smokehouse – Great barbecue and an on site brewery!
18. The Fishin’ Pig – Farmville’s fusion of great seafood and great barbecue is wrapped into one. Eat like a pig and drink like a fish!
Updated: January 15, 2015
Go ahead and start your food tour this weekend.