A Barbecue Overview:
In order to assess the best bbq in Minneapolis, let's discuss bbq. If any of you have watched High on the Hog on Netflix, Chef’s Table: BBQ, or The American Barbecue Showdown then you probably have a good idea of the history and variations of barbecue. But for those who haven’t watched these, here’s a brief overview.
Barbecue is a term used to describe various cooking methods that use live fire and smoke to cook the food. There are significant variations in method and flavor depending on the region, with the commonality being they are almost all cooked outside. There is indirect and direct barbecue. Indirect barbecue refers to cooking by heating or smoking over wood or charcoal. Direct barbecue refers to cooking food over hot coals or over a gas grill.
The term Barbecue is said to come from the Spanish word Barbacoa. Which etymologists believe to be derived from barabicu from the Arawak people of the Caribbean and the Timucua people of Florida. Barbacoa is translated by the Oxford English Dictionary as a “framework of sticks set upon posts”. It is thought that once the Spaniards landed in the Americas they found natives roasting meat using a wooden framework of sticks over a fire, hence the name barbacoa.
In America, barbecue Southerners are known for barbecue. It is said that prior to the Civil War, southerners ate five pounds of pork for every pound of beef. The hogs consumed were usually wild hogs that required a lot of work to capture. Due to the immense effort to secure a hog, it became a point of celebration for communities. They would come together to roast a whole hog; known in Cajun culture as boucheries or “pig pickin’s”. Each state has a variety of barbecue with all different sauces, cuts, and cooking techniques that developed over the years. Minneapolis and St. Paul are not historically known for barbecue, but they are up and coming. And because we have so many places opening up, we decided to just focus on Minneapolis.
The Best BBQ in Minneapolis: So, after learning so much about barbecue, we set out to find the best BBQ restaurants in the twin cities. Some are classics and some are rising stars. There were a couple BBQ joints that we couldn't get to but came highly recommended so we wanted to mention them - Q Fanatic BBQ, C& G's Smoking Barbecue, and Handsome Hog. Keep reading for our favorites that we tried!
Best BBQ In Minneapolis Table of Contents
(In no particular order)
- Minnesota Barbecue Company
- Storm king brewpub and bbq
- Ono Hawaiian bbq
- Ted cooks
- Boomin Barbecue
- Animales bbq
Minnesota Barbecue Company
Minnesota Barbecue Company has been around for a couple years now and is excelling thanks to its leader, OG Travail chef Kale Thome. Minnesota BBQ offers a rotating menu of ribs, sides, and brisket. The beef brisket was delicious and our favorite item here! With the brisket, we had rib tips, sausage, and baked beans.
StormKing Brew Pub and BBQ
StormKing is the place for smoky goodness! Enjoy your BBQ that's been smoked onsite with one of their craft beers or head next door for a cider and bring your meal with you! The atmosphere is great, the chicken wings are juicy, and the pulled pork is perfectly tender.
Ono Hawaiian Plates
This BBQ place might not be what you think of when you hear barbecue but Ono Hawaiian Plates brings the island taste to the Midwest! With a menu of spam, BBQ chicken, poke, teriyaki chicken, and homemade macaroni salad, its easy to see why this is a favorite. The flavors of this restaurant are defined by sweet and salty and was one of my favorite stops!
For a taste of old school, great barbecue, Ted Cook’s is a must. Opened in 1968 in South Minneapolis, it is one of the oldest barbecue joints in the cities. Their food is saucy (sweet a tangy BBQ sauce), potato salad like mom makes, their portions are big, and their hospitality is even bigger (the biggest!). We even walked away with a shirt!
This gem opened up just months ago in the parking lot of a gas station in Minneapolis. Run by 3 people with a smoker onsite, they blew us away with their food. Oh. My. Gosh! Beef Cheek, that’s all I have to say. I never would have thought to get cheek but trust me, you have to try it. It's tender, flavorful, and just amazing! But, everything we ate here was amazing. Boomin Barbecue won us over for best overall BBQ and experience.
Animales Barbecue is housed in the parking lot of Able Seedhouse and Brewery in Northeast Minneapolis. Their food trucks had the best ribs we tried! They were fall off the bone tender and served with a side of beer mustard sauce. My taste buds are drooling over just thinking about that sauce. Their hot links were also true hot links - spicy! For great bbq, grab a sampler platter, a brew, and one of their southern style desserts for a well rounded meal. While we had been to Able before, this was the first time going to Animales and we will definitely be back!
We hope you enjoy this list as much as we enjoyed trying all these places! Have a place you think should be on the list? Leave us a comment and we will check it out!