Eat & Drink

Six Smokin' Hot Barbecue Joints Across Town

Arizona may not be known for a particular barbecue style but several local joints are helping to put the local dining scene on the map with smoke, sauce and slow cooked goodness using techniques from all across the country.

There are several regional styles of barbecue with four considered the main ones – Carolina, Kansas City, Memphis and Texas. These styles vary by technique, meats, sauces and even what type of wood to use in the smoker. Many would agree barbecue is a true art form, a meaty masterpiece full of flavor and a labor of love to achieve perfection.

Arizona may not be known for a particular barbecue style but several local joints are helping to put the local dining scene on the map with smoke, sauce and slow cooked goodness using techniques from all across the country.

From Texas brisket to sweet and sticky Kansas City ribs check out these picks for some serious BBQ eats:


Legendary restaurateur, Bob Sikora, opened Bobby-Q in 2005 and the place has been pleasing palates ever since. Now there are three locations across town each with an expansive menu featuring slow smoked meats, starters, sandwiches, salads and desserts. Bobby-Q’s secret to great barbecue is the slow cooking process using almond and mesquite wood and the perfect blend of spices to create succulent, tender meats like hand pulled por k, melt in your mouth brisket and fall off the bone ribs. All three Bobby-Q establishments are sit-down restaurants with a full bar and friendly,

Naked BBQ

Don’t let the name fool you, Naked BBQ is a family friendly joint. The name comes from the fact that the meats are served unadorned with sauces on the side. Meats are served in sandwiches or on a plate with two sides. Selections include pulled pork, pulled chicken, chopped or sliced brisket, smoked turkey and jalapeño hot links. The sides are the typical BBQ offerings - creamy cole slaw, BBQ beans, potato salad and Mac and cheese. Naked offers a few different sauces that diners can add at their own discretion. The meats are served on small metal trays with sides in paper boats. Pickles and sliced onions available upon request.

Little Miss BBQ

No local barbecue list would be complete without Little Miss BBQ. There’s a reason there is always a line outside the place and some items do sell out before closing time. Meat options include sliced and chopped brisket, pulled pork, pork ribs, turkey and sausage. Meats are available to purchase by weight, on a plate with two sides or in a sandwich with one side. Sides include ranch-style beans, jalapeño cheddar grits, potato salad and cole slaw. Arrive early and be prepared to wait a bit for the best selections. It's worth it! Little Miss also allows for pre-orders with advance notice.

Pork on a Fork

Pork on a Fork has two locations in the greater metro Phoenix area. One in north Phoenix and one in Chandler. The Phoenix location is tucked into an unassuming business park near the Deer Valley Airport and the tasty ‘question they’re serving up will take you on a trip through flavor town.

Featured menu items include the beef brisket, succulent, juicy slices of slow cooked meat; and the pork ribs, meaty and smoked to perfection! Other meats include smoked sausage, hand pulled pork and pulled chicken all available in a sandwich, plate, bowl, burrito or salad. The dining room at the Phoenix location is spacious with a large TV and a selection of sauces at each table. The food is served piping hot in styrofoam containers, making it easy to pack up any leftovers.

Joe’s Real BBQ

One of the best places in the east valley for great barbecue has to be Joe’s Real BBQ in Gilbert. This iconic eatery is housed in a historic building from 1929 and is loaded with charm. Diners can eat in doors or take their meal outside to enjoy it on the climate-controlled patio or picnic area. Joe’s takes pride in sourcing high-quality ingredients and uses only Arizona pecan wood in their smoker. The list of meats is impressive, choose from chicken breast, brisket (chopped or sliced), pit ham, pulled pork, hot link sausage, pork ribs, turkey jalapeño sausage, turkey breast, or the vegetarian-friendly spicy jackfruit. The list of sides is just as expansive, from pit house favorites like mac and cheese, BBQ beans and potato salad to unique additions such as fresh beet salad, spicy citrus slaw and cheesy potatoes. Diners can’t go wrong no matter what they choose.

Six Smokin' Hot Barbecue Joints Across Town
Timothy Fox Photography

Sweet Magnolia Smokehouse

Southern hospitality abounds at this Ahwatukee eatery. Friendly staff greets every guest with a smile and the smell of smoked meats have mouths watering from the parking lot. Sweet Magnolias specializes in Mississippi-style barbecue, complete with all the fixin’s. Meat options include sliced chicken, pulled pork, brisket, ribs, rib tips and pork hot links with sides such as baked beans, collard greens, Mac and cheese Cole slaw and sweet potatoes. Expect generous portions served on single-use plates. Be sure to save room for the peach cobbler cake.

Sweet Magnolia offers family meals for big groups and also has a food truck for offsite catering!

About the Author

Angel Fuchs

Angel Fuchs is a mom, wife, writer, photographer and social media maven. She is a third generation Arizonan and loves the heat and all that her home state has to offer. She enjoys writing about all things related to family, food, friends and fun! You can find her work in local publications such as North Peoria Lifestyle Magazine, Paradise Valley Lifestyle Magazine, Chandler Lifestyle Magazine and Arizona Green Living, as well as her own website, Yay Baby! blog. Angel is happily married and her real full-time job is private chauffeur/stage mom to her busy daughter, Jax.


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