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Who said Wisconsin is only about beer and cheese? While Wisconsinites do that (and do it well), if you’re craving something a little more savory, you’ll love these local barbecue joints. 

Even though they’re up north—far north—all these local Wisconsin barbecue joints even impress pitmasters from down south! From the best burnt ends to tender and juicy spare rib tips, there is something for every barbecue lover on this list.

North and South Seafood & Smokehouse

Madison, Verona, and DeForest

North and South’s mission is to bring great seafood and barbecue to you. After the owners lived in Texas, Minnesota, and Alaska, they settled down in Wisconsin and created a truly unique dining experience: wood-fired barbecue and fresh seafood.

Why you’ll love it: One satisfied customer raves, “We got burnt ends, fried catfish, pulled pork, hot link, and brisket, with regular and sweet potato fries, fried curds, hush puppies, corn muffin, and it was genuinely all excellent. Those curds might sneakily be the best I’ve had in Madison, and the burnt ends were as good as I’ve had anywhere – and I’m coming straight from Nashville and North Carolina.”

What to order: The Tennessee-style ribs fall off the bone and the coconut shrimp is another fan favorite. The shrimp trio (hand-battered and fried, Malibu coconut, and scampi) also receives high praise and a five-star review.

Bob’s Bitchin’ BBQ

Dodgeville

Photo courtesy of Bob’s Bitchin’ BBQ

“So good you’ll lick your napkin” isn’t just the catchphrase at Bob’s Bitchin’ BBQ, as the restaurant all started with the sauce. From a start at the farmer’s market to a permanent place to call home in Dodgeville, Bob’s is made from scratch with locally sourced ingredients. 

Why you’ll love it: This customer says, if you’re ever in Dodgeville, Bob’s is a must-have! This place fully lives up to its name. It is ABSOLUTELY BITCHIN! They had 8 different sauces and each one was unique and incredible. Their fried cheese curds were to die for, meat was perfectly tender and juicy, and the vibes were off the charts.”

What to order: Several reviews rave about the cheese curds and the beef brisket.

Big Guys BBQ Roadhouse

Hudson

Photo courtesy of Big Guys BBQ Roadhouse

If you’re looking for a family-friendly, Southern-style Texas barbecue, look no further. Big Guys has delicious barbecue and a delightful dining experience.

Why you’ll love it: This customer gave the food, service, and atmosphere five stars across the board.“The ribs were top notch. Best hot link I’ve ever had. Candied bacon was a real treat. Pulled pork was great. Cornbread was perfect. For sides went with the slaw, baked beans, smoked gouda Mac and cheese, and the fries for the kids. BEST SIDES I’VE HAD! You have a real thing going here, a real jewel. Don’t change. Keep it exactly as it is.”

What to order: The pulled pork and BBQ ribs keep coming out on top of the reviews.

Double B’s BBQ

West Allis

Photo courtesy of Double B’s BBQ Restaurant

This award-winning barbecue in West Allis knows pork isn’t just a meal—it’s an art! Double B’s believes that, like most good things in life, proper barbecue takes its sweet time. 

Why you’ll love it: This customer couldn’t help but exclaim how Double B’s is OFF THE CHARTS! “Ribs were smoked to perfection. Several BBQ sauce options had the Texas bold which was perfect. We ordered sweet potato fries and baked beans as our sides. Fries were crispy and seasoned well. Baked beans were done well. Had the cornbread last and WOW. Even the pickles on the plate were good THEY DIDN’T MISS A SINGLE BEAT!”

What to order: The spare ribs and burnt ends receive rave reviews time and time again.

Dragon Pit BBQ

Racine

Photo courtesy of Dragon Pit BBQ

From breakfast to barbecue platters, Dragon Pit BBQ has you covered. They pride themselves on recreating family rubs and recipes by looking into the roots and background of the ingredients.

Why you’ll love it: This customer loved it so much, they bought it in bulk. “Picked up the Jerk chicken by the pound, which had amazing flavor! I used their chicken to make a jerk chicken, sweet potato, pepper soup. Turned out so delicious because of the seasoning and flavor of Dragon Pit’s jerk chicken.”

What to order: The jerk chicken and jerk sauce (on anything and everything) seem to be the way to go!

Pat’s Ribs Place

Milwaukee Public Market

Photo courtesy of Milwaukee Public Market

Since 2009, Pat’s Place has been serving mouth-watering Mississippi-inspired barbecue from scratch. Be sure to enjoy any of their five different sauces made fresh every day. 

Why you’ll love it: This customer puts Pat’s in a category all its own. “Pat’s Rib Place is absolutely amazing. While Kansas City, Memphis, Carolina, and Texas all hold amazing BBQ accolades – Pat’s might be in a category of its own.”

What to order: Review after review raves all about the incredibly juicy rib tips.

Barbecue Company Grill

Hartford

Photo courtesy of Barbecue Company Grill and Catering

If you’re looking for nationally acclaimed barbecue to enjoy while you’re in Wisconsin, the Barbecue Company Grill is the place for you. They’ve even been featured on a Food Network series and the Travel Channel’s Ribs Paradise. 

Why you’ll love it: A recently satisfied customer shared, “We were not disappointed with everything we ordered. Everything was made fresh and tasty. Meat was so tender and juice. My kids truly enjoyed their beans and coleslaw, too. Plenty of parking. A must try if you’re in the neighborhood and are looking for BBQ.”

What to order: Whether it’s part of a catered event or an everyday meal, their pulled pork is a consistent crowd-pleaser.

Smoke Shack

Milwaukee

Photo courtesy of Smoke Shack

Awarded a Best of 2022 winner by Milwaukee Magazine, Smoke Shack is a tasty place in the Third Ward to satisfy your savory BBQ craving.

Why you’ll love it: This customer says the Smoke Shack can hold its own, even up against some of their competitors down south. “Excellent BBQ in the third ward with a great selection of all of the essential BBQ you would expect from a top-notch establishment. The sampler platter, pulled pork, smoked wings and sausage, and sides such as smoked Mac n cheese can hold their own against anything in Kansas City, St Louis, or Dallas.” 

What to order: The brisket and mac and cheese are must-haves when you visit Smoke Shack. 

 

READ MORE: We Asked for Wisconsin’s ‘Hidden Gem’ Restaurants. Here’s What You Said.