Now that you have read about a few of the hot burger spots around the state, we’ve got another meaty option you’ll love to sink your teeth into: Smoked Virginia Barbecue. These thirteen BBQ restaurants are known for being purists about this culinary pursuit. They use locally sourced meats, prepare their own homemade sauces, and spend countless hours smoking whole shoulders to craft authentic and unique barbecue. Although the restaurants may not all use the same process or ingredients, you can’t argue that these barbecue destinations create delicious results. Read what makes each of these restaurants exceptional and then vote for your favorites in this week’s Culinary Challenge, Burgers and Barbecue.
Saucy’s Walk-Up BBQ—Petersburg
Saucy’s designed and built by hand their entire restaurant, from the huge metal sign surrounding the entrance, to the pipe tables and lighting, the bar, stools and fire-pit. The restaurant started in a shipping container in 2010, and six years later, they still serve “to go” out of the container which sits right beside their full service restaurant, where you can order their delicious barbecue along with a variety of sides.
Cuz’s Uptown Barbecue—Pounding Mill
Cuz’s has been smoking and serving beef, pork and ribs since 1979 when they first opened our doors with only four tables. The first barbeque pit was just a converted fuel tank. Through the years, they went from simmering the meat in a tangy sweet barbeque sauce to now also serving pulled pork with several different hot sauces made in house. Their world famous “hunka hunka” prime rib is smoked to a perfect succulent medium rare in the barbeque pit. Whole chickens are roasted over a crackling fire once a week. As far as burger goes, they started serving a blend of prime steaks and bacon that they grind and shape into burger patties on-site. It’s their latest mouthwatering big hit.
Allman’s has been around since 1954 and continues to be a favorite among locals and folks just passing through. Although times have changed, the signature “sliced pork sandwich” has not. Pulled pork heaped high on a griddled bun, topped with our original tasty cole slaw. And it wouldn’t be a visit to Allman’s without one of their famous homemade milkshakes. They pride themselves in maintaining that same small town charm that patrons have grown to treasure and depend on throughout the years.
The Hogshead Cafe smokes pulled pork, baby backs, chicken & brisket daily on site. All of the sides, desserts, & the fresh squeezed limeades are made in-house. The restaurant is notorious for the Hog Dog & smoked meats, but also for exceptionally fresh seafood. The oysters are shucked fresh daily and are from Bevans Oyster Co. in nearby Kinsale.
King’s Barbecue is a family owned and operated restaurant that was established in 1946 in Petersburg, VA. For 70 years and three generations, they have been serving authentic Virginia-style barbecue using their own house-made BBQ sauce that has been recognized in Southern Living Magazine for having one of the “Best BBQ Sauces in the South.” The specialty at King’s is the pit-smoked barbecue pork, which uses fresh pork shoulders straight from Smithfield.
Wolfe’s BBQ is locally owned and operated by Brett and Jill Wolfe, who both grew up in Marion. Being raised in Southwest Virginia taught them both the importance of great food and southern hospitality. The mission at Wolfe’s BBQ is to provide quality food with distinct flavors and excellent customer service with an inviting atmosphere for families and friends to meet. They proudly smoke all their meats in-house, creating a barbecue that consistently brings customers back for more.
Bootleggers Café—Rocky Mount
The BBQ and burgers at Bootleggers Café stand out as the best in town because of the quality and craftsmanship. Satisfy your craving for smoked BBQ with the beef brisket, pulled pork, chopped chicken, baby-back ribs, or fulfill your piercing urge for juicy beef with one of the flame-grilled 1/3 lb. ground sirloin burgers. The staff at Bootleggers Café is passionate about creating only the best Virginia barbecue, and they look forward to serving you these shinin‘ favorites!
Three Li’l Pigs—Daleville
At Three Li’l Pigs, they use their own tried and true recipes to create the perfect barbecue, including a homemade line of barbeque sauces. They cook all of their meat at the restaurant so you can be sure that every menu item is fresh, delicious, and satisfying, spending hours smoking their meats to create the tastiest hickory-smoked barbeque in the valley. Hand-chopped pork is the specialty at this Daleville gem.
Smoke BBQ—Newport News
At Smoke BBQ, it is not just about preparing food for customers. They painstakingly make all of their dishes just as they would do for their own family and friends. Using fresh, local, natural ingredients with hardwood smoked meats makes the restaurant and catering services the best in the area. Smoke features amazing barbecue, ribs, steaks, wings, homemade side dishes, seasonal desserts, and much more. There is also a cozy, full service bar on site with 10 carefully curated beers on tap.
The Galax Smokehouse—Galax
Since 2003, the Galax Smokehouse has been the kind of restaurant where you’ll see the “who’s who” of the locals hanging out at lunch, and hordes of tourists streaming in to discover a little bit of the Galax charm. With fantastic prices, great service, and award-winning bar-b-que, the Smokehouse is one of Galax’s favorite restaurants. They feature St. Louis style ribs, pulled pork, Texas Beef Brisket, smoked chicken and burgers–and offer 5 of their very own “secret sauces.” Make sure to leave room for dessert. The Banana Pudding was voted “Best Dessert in the South” by Virginia Living Magazine.
The Barbeque Exchange is the culmination of a 37-year culinary journey. Craig and Donna Hartman’s lives have been centered around their love of food! Their journey took them from the Culinary Institute of America to Gordonsville, with experiences from the Rockies to the Catskills and lots of stops in between. Some of their enticing barbecued choices include Hickory smoked pork shoulders, St. Louis ribs, beef brisket, pork belly, Red-Eye bacon and chicken halves grilled over live coals. Try the famous Brunswick stew, baked beans, fried green tomatoes or hushpuppies, to mention a few.
As a family owned business, Monk’s is dedicated to making sure your BBQ experience is traditional and authentic. They make every sauces using local beers, wines, and spirits fresh every week. Although their meats can stand alone without sauce, they decided to make them to complement each meat and spice mixture to enhance your experience. Monk’s BBQ takes no shortcuts when smoking their meats. This means long nights, but a great product that they can be proud to put the Monk’s name on.
County Grill & Smokehouse—Hampton
The County Grill & Smokehouse is located in Yorktown, and is famous for slowly roasting their meats, seafood and vegetables over a smoldering hardwood fire until it is tender, succulent and bronzed. They offer meats, sauces and dry rub which reflect diverse styles developed in some of the country’s greatest barbeque locales. The County Grill & Smokehouse also has a beautifully stocked bar and lounge area that has a great selection of microbrews from all over Virginia.
Whether you prefer a dry-rubbed brisket or chopped barbecue smothered in a thick hickory sauce, these barbecue dining destinations need to be on your list of places to try around the Commonwealth. Is there another smoked spot where you like to get your Virginia BBQ? Tell us which spot is your go-to restaurant for tasty barbecue when you travel Virginia!