Arkansas BBQ Trail

Rivertowne BBQ
Rivertowne BBQ

Some of the liveliest discussions are held when people debate who has the best barbecue. There are enough secret recipes to make Fort Knox explode if they were stored there.  Arkansas is blessed with a wealth of barbecue restaurants, dives, joints…whatever you want to call them.  On this savory BBQ trail, you can choose from mustard and tomato vinegar sauces, dry rub, and thick or thin tomato based. Ribs, pulled or chopped pork, brisket, beef tenderloin and chicken are on most menus along with the familiar sides. We built this list around some of the most popular BBQ joints, but the BBQ trail is, by no means, a comprehensive list. It's just the tip of the barbecue "iceberg." Come chow down along the trail, enjoying all the different types of local ‘cue you’ll find here. Use the map below to plot your trip — whether you drive east to west or north to south, you’ll find delectable BBQ in all regions of the state.

Magnolia
Beef, pork barbecue, potato salad, slaw, barbecue baked potatoes; homemade coconut cream, pecan, cream cheese, Oreo, and banana pudding pies

Blytheville
Barbecue chicken, ribs, pork, baked beans, cole slaw, hushpuppies, catfish, wings; homemade and fried pies

Texarkana
Barbecue plates, sandwiches, ribs, fries, baked potatoes; vegetables, desserts; kid's menu; catering available; daily specials; special pricing for groups of 12 or more

Heber Springs
Smoked pork and beef, ribs, sides including potato salad, baked beans, coleslaw, fries, corn on the cob; barbecue nachos

Brothers BBQ

Little Rock
Barbecue, catfish, chicken, burgers; plate lunches; uses fresh Arkansas grown produce; breakfast; outdoor dining area available; dine in or take out. Named in the July 2010 issue of Maxim as one of the "Top 10 Temples of 'Cue in the World."

Trumann
Features American foods; barbecue sandwiches, platters and ribs are the house specialties.

DeValls Bluff
Barbecue sandwiches, plates, ribs, burgers; a true Southern barbecue shack that dates back to the 1940s. Slow-smoked meats, fiery sauces, savory coleslaw

Blytheville
Third-generation-owned restaurant, serving smoked barbecue since 1923; famous for its chopped pork sandwich known as "the pig sandwich," homemade onion rings and fries, beans; additional sandwiches, barbecue and chicken plates; salads

Dixie Pig

Brinkley
Family restaurant serving four kinds of barbecue -- pork, beef, ribs and chicken; fish, steaks; breakfast available all day; coleslaw, baked beans, fries; catfish, biscuits and gravy; fried pies. GROUPS: free meeting rooms

Little Rock
Quaint legendary barbecue "dive" located in a residential area; seats only 32; great slabs of meat with fiery barbecue sauce, ribs are served on Tuesday only; pork sandwich on an onion roll; featured in September 2006 Vogue Magazine. A descendent of the legendary Shack Barbecue run by members of the original Slaughter family

McGehee
Barbecue pork, beef and chicken, burgers, sandwiches, seafood, steaks; bakery features homemade pies, cookies, outdoor seating available; live entertainment in the bar

Hoots BBQ

Marianna
Believed to be by the Southern Foodways Alliance to be the oldest black-owned restaurant in continuous operation in the South; a cool neighborhood barbecue joint that has been in business for over 100 years; meats are smoked on-site; served on plain white bread with thin, vinegar-based sauce and cole slaw. The restaurant has received rave reviews and was featured in Saveur Magazine and on CBS This Morning. Named by the James Beard Foundation as an American Classic in 2012. Make plans to visit this legendary BBQ restaurant for a taste of some real southern food inspired by Arkansas.

Jones Bar-B-Q Diner

Stuttgart
Ribs, beans, slaw, home-made fries; wings, burgers, chicken

North Little Rock
Opened in 1956 serving home-cooking and barbecue for lunch; chopped barbecue beef, pork, ribs, smoked links and chicken; fried chicken, catfish; variety of side items including mixed greens, pinto and baked beans, potato salad, onion rings, cabbage; homemade pies including egg custard, sweet potato, fried pies. GROUPS: facility can handle up to 350 guests on-site; no size limit off-site

Hot Springs
Legendary Arkansas barbecue restaurant established in 1928; meats pit smoked daily on the premises; sauce, cole slaw, beans and hot tamales made with old family recipes; famous for the "hot tamale spread;" featured in Southern Living and Gourmet Magazines and on "The Best of..." television show on Food Network.

McClard's Bar-B-Q

Hot Springs
Award winning barbecue; beef, pork, ribs, sausage; plates, sandwiches, side items,

Carlisle
Barbecue chicken, pork and beef; seafood; catfish with all the trimmings; homemade fried green tomatoes, onion rings; cheese dip and salsa, salads; homemade fried pies (including coconut) and cobblers for dessert.

Russellville
Serving Southern-style, award-winning barbecue since 1979; beef, pork, Polish sausage; smoked ham, turkey, chicken; variety of sides including Mac N Cheese, corn on the cob, potato salad, fried okra; homemade banana pudding, cobblers

Fayetteville
Serving hickory-enhanced, slow meats since 1993; barbecue ribs, chicken, pork, beef; smoked ham, sausage, ham, bologna, hot links; appetizers, salads, side items, sandwiches, desserts

Penguin Ed's Bar-B-Q

Fort Smith
Award-winning barbecue beef, pork, ribs chicken, sausage; salads; side dishes; desserts; winner of Kansas City Barbecue Society grand championship; the Pink Flamingo barbecue team has won over 150 different BBQ awards since 1998.

Ozark
Rivertowne BBQ serves generous portions of mouth-watering smoked beef, chicken and pork seasoned with Rivertowne’s own dry rub and smoked on the premises daily. Rivertowne BBQ offers daily lunch and dinner specials Tuesday through Saturday.

Rivertowne BBQ

Fayetteville
Traditional Southern barbecue with signature sauce developed in 1895; salads, appetizers, sliders, paninis, wraps, sandwiches; pork, brisket, chicken, ribs; steak, catfish, burgers; children's menu; daily drink and food specials

Sassy's Red House BBQ & Grille

Little Rock
Legendary Arkansas barbecue restaurant that has been around since 1937. Features mustard based vinegar sauce. Selected by Southern Living Magazine as a recipient of its " 'cue" awards in 2012. Menu includes pork, beef, ribs, chicken, smoked sausage and bologna; burgers, salads

Conway
A "descendant" of the legendary Shack Barbecue in Little Rock; opened in 1958; features "The Old Shack" barbecue sandwich; six sauces including Fire in the Hole and Last Rites; Southern barbecue, vegetables, onion rings, salads, specialty sandwiches, milkshakes; dinners and platters; desserts include fried, meringue, apple, pecan and sweet potato pies; daily specials. GROUPS: driver eats free.

Smitty's Bar-B-Que

Fayetteville
Meats are smoked with hickory and apple wood; made-from-scratch daily side orders; state-of-the-art barbecue food wagon; based on family recipes from the original Sho'nuff barbecue which was in Fayetteville during the 70s.

Sturdi's Sho'Nuff BBQ & Catering

Huntsville
Ribs, brisket, pulled pork; coleslaw, baked beans, potato salad, mac and cheese side items; grilled cheese; tomato and vinegar sauce; chili, cobblers

Sugar Booger's Barbecue

Mabelvale
Family-owned; pork and beef barbecue, burgers, chili dogs, onion rings, fries, chili; homemade desserts including peanut butter, strawberry and lemon ice box pies

 Three Sam's Barbecue

North Little Rock
Preparing and serving hickory pit smoked meats since 1920; oldest barbecue restaurant in central Arkansas. Menu includes pork, beef, ribs, chicken, sandwiches, sides; home-made fried pies. GROUPS: On- and off-site dinners available. Accommodates any number for off-site events, up to 60 guests at the restaurant. Three catering options available: food only, on-site buffet delivery, set-up and service for large groups

Little Rock
The Whole Hog Café & Catering Company prepares the same award-winning recipes that won top honors in the 2000, 2002, and 2008 Memphis-in-May World Barbecue Championships – including 1st place in the Whole Hog category in 2002. Popular dishes include succulent pulled pork, tender beef brisket & smoked chicken, a variety of sides and of course, Whole Hog's award-winning ribs. Seven sauces are featured including a Volcano sauce - which Whole Hog recommends to eat at your own risk! Other locations in Little Rock on Markham StreetNorth Little RockConwayBryantFort SmithFayetteville and Bentonville.

Stubby's BBQ in Hot Springs, Ark. has been slow cooking ribs, beef, pork and chicken over smoldering hickory logs since 1952. 

Stubby's BBQ