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Best Barbecue In The Twin Cities

June 9, 2011 9:52 AM

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Choosing the best barbecue in the Twin Cities is not the easiest of tasks. For starters, what qualifies as barbecue? The varieties are endless. So, let’s just call this a start. Please let us know your thoughts and anything we overlook.As far as I’m concerned, anything that is smoked, cooked over open flame or cooked on a rotisserie qualified.  If talking barbecue, you have to set your rules!  Put on your bibs, here we go!


1933 Lyndale Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55403
(612) 871-8969
Directory | Website

Rudolph’s have been one of my family’s favorites since they opened in 1975. Often overlooked, their spareribs with a crunchy exterior are unique in Twin Cities’ BBQ. The pulled pork sandwich is also a winner. You can’t have BBQ without slaw and Rudolph’s has one of the best!

qfanatic com Best Barbecue In The Twin Cities


Q Fanatic BBQ and Grill

180 Miller Road
Champlin, MN 55316
(763) 323-6550
Directory | Website

Unless you live in Champlin, don’t be surprised you haven’t heard of Q Fanatic. But if you’re in the northern suburbs, make it a stop. With inspiration taken from the Carolinas, the Appalachians and Missouri and Mississippi valleys, you’re sure to find something you’ll like at Q Fanatic.

Ted Cook’s 19th Hole BBQ

2814 E 38th St.
Minneapolis, MN 55406
(612) 721-2023
Directory | Website

This is the closet the Twin Cities probably comes to traditional Kansas City wet BBQ (wet meaning cooked with a sauce). It’s takeout only, low on fuss, big on flavor.  If you are looking for a little heat with your cue, this is the place for you.

famousdaves Best Barbecue In The Twin Cities


Famous Dave’s

Various Twin Cities locations
Directory | Website

You can’t talk Twin Cities BBQ without Famous Dave’s.  While a chain wouldn’t normally do well against traditional BBQ, they take their food seriously at Famous Dave’s.  A personal favorite is their Texas Pit sauce and the spareribs are as good as any.

Market Bar-B-Que

1414 Nicollet Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55403
(612) 872-1111
Directory | Website

They’ve always been famous in the Twin Cities for their ribs.  But they might have the best Texas Beef Brisket in town.  Try the BBQ Chicken as well.  Of course the ribs are famous for a reason.  Good luck deciding what to order!

Brasa Premium Rotisserie

600 E. Hennepin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55414
(612) 379-3030

777 Grand Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55105
(651) 224-1302
Directory | Website

A bit of a step outside of traditional BBQ, Brasa specializes in slow roasted, rotisserie cooking. But the result is still BBQ deliciousness! The rotisserie chicken and slow cooked pork are terrific. And try the smoked sausage. They might also have the best southern style side dishes in town.

bigdaddysbbq stpaul com Best Barbecue In The Twin Cities


Big Daddy’s BBQ

625 University Ave. W.
St. Paul, MN 55104
(651) 222-2516

Three southerners fire up the smokehouse at Big Daddy’s and they know what they’re doing.  Try their BBQ Beef Ribs and channel your inner Fred Flinstone!  When you head through Frogtown, do not pass by Big Daddy’s.  Some of the best BBQ you’ll find north of the Mason-Dixon Line.

Caps Grille

5000 Hiawatha Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55417
(612) 722-2277
Directory | Website

There really is a “Cap” and they know their BBQ.  One thing they do differently is finish their BBQ on the grill which gives it a really nice crunchy char.  The ribs are especially good and are some of the best in town.  The sauce is also unique and worth checking out.

-Lindsey Peterson is the Assistant Program Director at WCCO Radio.

View Comments
  • Steve Dahlin

    Scott Ja-Mama’s Barbecue in S Mpls on Diamond Lake Road is great!!!!

    • Babs

      If you guys want REALLY REALLY good BBQ go to Bayport BBQ in Bayport, its a ma and pa type place, everything is made fresh… its amazing food!

  • Jack

    Both Market BBQ and Rudolphs are about as good as it gets — and that’s not saying a lot.

    Famous Dave’s. ‘Uff Da!!’ as you guys say. That is some of the worst I’ve ever eaten which included a bout of food poisoning once. Is it the corn that has been steamed for days or the really awfull ribs. I’ll let my stomach be the judge by never going back there. Maybe they could switch to lutefisk?

    • Mark

      Market BBQ and Rudolphs are average BBQ places. Famous Daves is THAT bad. It isn’t that good compared to some really nice BBQ places (hard to find any of those in MN), but I would not say that the food is bad.

    • Rick

      Famous Dave’s Ribs are amazing – I’ve eaten BBQ in place like Memphis and Tennesee and they hold up against the best – and I think Famous Dave has won national competitions for BBQ so what planet do you live on? Ted Cooks is also good here but I give the edge to Famous Dave’s because they grill them after smoking.

    • Edward C. Williams

      I like Rudolphs”

  • Diane C

    Dixie’s On Grand in St. Paul, best baby back ribs!

  • annmartina

    Rack Shack in Burnsville makes amazing brisket

  • ToMN

    Got to get past the kids, but Space Aliens actually does BBQ ribs and brisket proud.

    Accidentally ran across a BBQ house at a crossroads in the middle of no where outside of Kansas City. Most incredible BBQ I’ve ever had – and I’m sure I’d never find it again in years of searching. Not Twin Cities, but is the stuff I compare to.

    • Bob

      I’m from Kansas City. Are you thinking of Oklahoma Joe’s? If you reply and tell me the general vicinity or surroundings of the “BBQ house” you referred to, I may be able to help you with the name. Minneapolis sucks for BBQ when compared to my hometown of KC.

      • ch

        yep, agree – my sister took me to that place while visiting — in Olathe. Not a fair comparison with places here. but I enjoy dining here, and some places are better than others. Oddly, I prefer Ted Cooks while sitting in my back yard. But when in KC, we drive to Olathe at least one time.

  • ss

    If you want good Texas BBQ then you have to head to Baker’s Ribs in Eden Prairie. Those guys know how to smoke ribs. They smoke right on site and you leave there smelling like smoked meat.

    • Me, not you

      But the BBQ also comes with a side of food poisoning.

    • diannah

      LOVE Baker’s Ribs!! Grew up in Louisiana, and Baker’s is the only place in the Twin Cities I’ve found that’s even close!

    • veedub

      I would put Baker’s in EP at the top of the list. They have exceptional traditional southern BBQ and menu. I grew up down south and I love going there for a little taste of home. Definately beats Rudolphs! I have been going there on a regualr basis for at least 7 years and I have had them cater a couple of parties and no one has ever gotten sick. Not sure what previous post was about! Baker’s is a Ma and Pa shop and worth stopping in for.

      • Me, not you

        Baker’s Ribs is the only food I ate that my family didn’t consume and I was the one that had to go to urgent care for food poisoning.

    • eo

      I totally agree! Rudolphs and famous dave’s are bbq frauds if you understand what goes into real bbq ribs.

  • Eric

    Q fanatic is so crazy awesome! Well worth the drive to Champlin

  • Lou

    Rooster’s in St. Paul is one of the best. Located on Randolf off of I 35E, this is one of the Twin Cities’ secret BBQ places. Great quality Ribs and their marinated blackened wings are my favorite. Family owned and the friendliest place around.

  • Jake

    What? No mention of the McRib?!?

  • Darrel

    Tonka Grill & BBQ. 4016 Shoreline Dr Spring Park, MN , Better then all above!

  • Mark

    Tonka Grill in Spring Park has the best beef ribs I have ever had, period. Hard to find beef ribs that tase good at all, but these are worth coming back for again and again.

  • BBQ lover

    Baldy’s BBQ in Minneapolis is wonderful plus they deliver.

  • steve

    You really missed one of the best places for great barbecue. Scott Ja-Mama’s Barbecue in S Mpls on Diamond Lake Road

  • Funghi

    Seriously? Famous Dave’s? You have got to be kidding. I ate there once and vowed never to go back. It’s fast food BBQ.

  • CJ

    There is a new place in Bayport (just South of Stillwater) called Bayport BBQ. The place is AWESOME! Just opened up a couple months ago and the food is great! Reasonable prices…great BBQ beans!

    • Jane Jones

      I agree the beans are awesome. As for the rest, salty and COLD!

    • mutt

      Bayport BBQ is better than all the above. I’ve eaten there a dozen times and only once early on shortly after it opened was it salty…a definite anomaly …they haven’t even been open a year yet…

      • mutt

        I took my 11 year old son to Rudolf’s. He took three bites, shoved it aside, refused to eat anymore, and said he wanted some of the “good meat”….from Bayport….and yeah, my smoked chicken and salmon salad was cold…so were the Mexican pops…with real sugar…and beer…

    • Bayport BBQ is Great!

      Bayport BBQ is FANTASTIC!!! Slow smoke dry rub with a homemade sauce. Owners are very friendly and it’s a family owned restaurant. A small “mom and pop” place to hang out and enjoy great Texas style BBQ.

      Beans and potatoes are very good.

      Bayport BBQ in Bayport is wonderful!

  • Tom

    Not one person mentioned Ted Cooks 19th Hole BBQ, They have the best Ribs and Chicken in S Mpls

    • Richard

      #1-Ted Cook’s. Full Slab w med sauce
      #2- Scott Ja Mamas. Best steak sandwich
      #3-Rudolph’s. Great slaw

  • Z

    Q Fanatic is by far the BEST!

  • Don

    How can you leave out Lee’s and Dee’s in St. Paul at Selby and Victoria? Also Lee is a great guy and fun to talk to. The price is also extremely low for the full rack, which includes great beans and cole slaw.

    • Brian

      And it’s actually run by Southerners, not wannabes.

      • mutt

        oh, I get it…all southerners are born knowing how to BBQ….and they are the only ones who can do it properly….I guess this also means the only “real” engineers are German…only French can cook French food….Italian food by Italians, etc…(cept of course in New York where it is all cooked by Mexicans…

  • J P

    Sorry to be a cynic, but it seems to me that it’s always about who uses the most MSG. Famous Dave’s especially so.

  • la

    Baldy’s BBQ in Lakeville off Co Rd 70/I35. It’s fairly new, but beats Famous Daves hands down. Done as a dry rub with several different sauces. Extremely tender ribs.

  • Jodi

    No one makes better beans then Famous Daves, and they have a great pulled pork sandwich!

  • Denny

    We think that Texas Roadhouse BBQ ribs out-do any of the others we have tried, and that includes many of the ones listed above. Truly fall off the bone tender, and excellent flavor. I usually get “talked into” doing the full rack, with take home great the next day too.

    • PAUL


  • craig mck

    Q fanatic is the best, IMHO; but for the $ hard to beat texas roadhouse…

  • Dave's not jere

    River Inn has some best ribs they are in Hanover just west of Maple Grove. They have ribs Wed thru Sat? Only downfall is they have a very limited amount avallable.

  • tigger

    BAKERS IS DA PLACE Hands down

    Dave’s isnt even close

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