Roundup: Our Top Picks For The Best Barbecue In And Around Philadelphia

Philadelphia has long been home to some incredible barbecue restaurants, and the list just keeps on growing.
(Photos by J. Varney for Starr Restaurants)

Make no bones about it: Philadelphia has some of the sauciest, smokiest ribs and sweetest, tangiest chicken around.

A perfect food for picnics and outdoor eats, barbecue is made for digging in and getting sticky.

Whether it’s a box of baby backs from a takeout spot, or an authentic Texas-style brisket on a picnic table, these down-home eats are sure to appease any and all comfort-food cravings.

Here are our top picks for delectable barbecue in and around town:

• Percy Street BBQ: Erin O’Shea studied the art of barbecue in Texas before opening Percy Street BBQ on South Street. Her authentic burnt ends, pinto beans and banana pudding showcase those traditions, while the pork belly, vegan chili and specialty cocktails flaunt her chef skills.

• Phoebe’s BBQ: The specialty at Phoebe’s, which has been smoking on South Street since 1994, is Oklahoma barbecue, and the succulent brisket, ribs and pit meats by the pound are now available at a newer Roxborough location, too.

• Smokin’ Betty’s: At Center City’s eclectic comfort food eatery Smokin’ Betty’s, the ribs are St. Louis-style, the slaw is Carolina-inspired and the smoked brisket is served with potato latkes.

• Tommy Gunns: A Manayunk neighborhood favorite operating from a tiny bus stop shack, Tommy Gunns dishes out pan-regional favorites such as Kansas City baby backs, Carolina pork, Texas brisket and baked beans and a uniquely Philadelphian deep-fried macaroni and cheese.

• Sweet Lucy’s Smokehouse: The hickory-smoked ribs and chicken at Sweet Lucy’s Smokehouse have won this Northeast Philly BBQ hotspot countless accolades, and the turkey breast, pulled pork and sides such as collard greens, mashed sweet potatoes and creamed spinach are equally luscious.

• Jimmy’s BBQ: At Jimmy’s BBQ, a diminutive chow-stop in Malvern, the tasty fare includes pulled chicken with a lemon pepper and brown sugar rub, hickory-smoked pulled pork, ribs and brisket, dirty corn, whipped sweets and Phillies party combos of the tasty treats.

• Fette Sau: Fette Sau sits next to Frankford Hall in Philadelphia’s thriving Fishtown neighborhood. With plenty of seating both indoors and out and a casual back-porch vibe, Fette Sau satisfies crowds by serving up meat by the pound, along with German potato salad and half-sour pickles and offers a wide selection of beer and brown liquors to wash it down.

More BBQ picks, below.

• Pig Daddy’s BBQ: As judges on the pitmaster circuit, Pig Daddy’s BBQ founders Linda, Jerry and Chris Mullane soaked up quite a bit of BBQ know-how, evident in the ribs, sausage, Carolina pulled pork and “BBQ Sundaes” offered at their Drexel Hill takeout eatery and catering business.

• The Rib Crib: A Germantown institution, The Rib Crib is a takeout-only counter where the ribs are smoked to impossible tenderness, slathered with either hot or mild sauce and boxed up with fluffy slices of white bread for sopping up every drop of sauce.

• Baby Blues BBQ: The Philly outpost of a brand that has multiple locations in California, Baby Blues is a University City favorite for ribs, pulled pork, brisket and soulful sides galore.

• Blue Belly BBQ: At Bella Vista’s Blue Belly BBQ, the emphasis is on international selections: Korean beef, jerk chicken and Mexican lamb barbacoa, in addition to á la cart meats and sides.

• Bubba’s Texas BBQ: Bubba’s Texas BBQ is one Texan’s vision of a carnivorous heaven: custom smoker-cooked brisket, wings, ribs and bacon mac and cheese.

• The Rib Stand: Located in Reading Terminal Market, The Rib Stand offers baby back ribs, spare ribs, sandwiches and a delicious array of sides, including roasted potatoes and macaroni and cheese.

• Fat Jack’s BBQ: Winner of the 2013 Burger Brawl, Fat Jack’s BBQ is a staple in Northeast Philadelphia and has won countless awards for its delicious barbecue fare.


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