Wherever you may go throughout the state and wherever your personal tastes may lean, chances are good that you’ll find a local barbecue joint to please. While the following list is by no means exhaustive, here are a few top BBQ spots around Virginia, but outside of the Richmond area, that we’ve included on our Richmond Barbecue Trail.
1465 Roanoke St., Christiansburg | 540-381-2922
The Due South BBQ team has, in a way, created a BBQ style of their own. They use a special rub that is blended in house. They pit smoke their pork over hickory and finish with one of their five distinctive sauces. Two of the sauces are from the Carolinas and one, Hot Red, a sweet and spicy sauce, is their take on a Virginia Sauce. What’s unique about the way they smoke their meat? They say, “Lots of work and lots of love!”
2198 Rockfish Valley Hwy., Nellysford | 434-361-1170
Founded in 1988, Blue Ridge Pig is real Southern BBQ done the traditional way. Run by Strawberry and Mary Goodwin, all their meats are smoked over hickory and the barbecue is served in a red tomato-based sauce. Mary’s side dishes are extremely popular, “especially the potato salad,” according to Strawberry, so be sure to check them out when you stop in for a bite.
948 Tanyard Rd., Rocky Mount | 540-482-0369
Located in Franklin Country, known as the “Moonshine Capital of the World,” Buddy’s BBQ incorporates Virginia moonshine into three of their seven homemade BBQ sauces. Their sides and desserts are made from scratch, “with time and love being the main ingredients.” Prepared in the North Carolina style, they use dry rubs. Their BBQ is smoked over locally harvested hickory and locally manufactured lump charcoal, and no gas is ever used in their smoker.
251 N. 21st St., Purcellville | 540-751-9425
Monk’s is well known for their juicy brisket, which is slow smoked for extra tenderness. They offer a wide variety of sides and meats, which represent many aspects of barbecue culture. Focusing on multiple styles of barbecue, predominantly Texas and Carolina styles, Monk’s is a great way for barbecue lovers to get a sense of a few different types and discover which is their favorite.
102 Martinsburg Ave., Gordonsville | 540-832-0227
The folks at the Barbeque Exchange are fond of saying, “We make literally everything in house – except the ketchup.” Their baking team bakes hundreds of rolls daily, as well as cornbread and pumpkin muffins. Working directly with Autumn Olive farms and “thoughtfully sourced distributors,” they truly care about where their products originate. Using locally sourced green hickory to smoke their meats, “they first char the logs in a separate fire pit to burn off the outer layer, essentially produce house-made charcoal.
2910 South Crater Rd., Petersburg | 804-732-0975
Family owned and operated since 1946, King’s Barbecue is, as the folks who run the place see it, “old school” compared to the modern BBQ scene. Their barbecue is Southern Virginia style, so no rub is applied before cooking, and it’s finished in a tomato, vinegar and mustard-based sauce. King’s uses white oak wood for smoking their pork, and, says Matt Keeler, whose wife Alicia is one of the daughters of the King family, “We think it has a very universal appealing flavor when it comes to cooking different types of meat.”
25 S. Quaker Lane, Alexandria | 703-778-9663
Rocklands Barbecue and Grilling Company uses only red oak, hickory and charcoal to smoke their meats; never gas or electricity. Their Barbecue is prepared in the “DC style,” meaning that it is served in a unique vinegar and molasses-based sauce. Three convenient locations in Arlington, Alexandria, and D.C. render them hard to miss. They also offer an impressive and exciting beer selection, making Rocklands a must see (and taste) on the BBQ trail.
447 East Rochambeau, Williamsburg | 757-565-2955
Serving pork, chicken, and ribs for almost 48 years, Pierce’s has the only outdoor brick pit in Virginia. They smoke about 6,000 pounds of Tennessee-style pork daily, which is doused in a tomato-based red sauce. They source many products from a farm eight miles up the road, so farm-to-table certainly rings true for Pierce’s. With an amazing outdoor seating area, this restaurant is truly family friendly and a really fun place to grab some lovingly prepared food.
257 E. Bank St., Petersburg; 207 E. City Point Rd., Hopewell | 804-504-3075
Started in 2010 in a 20-foot Conex shipping container, Saucy’s was quickly named the “South’s Best Butt” by Southern Living Magazine. While traveling as musicians, the founders were influenced by different styles of American barbecue, which they had enjoyed at various places they had dined countrywide. Their favorites have been blended together to create Saucy’s recipes. Their pulled pork is Kansas City style, meaning it’s rubbed with spices and served in a thick tomato-based sauce, and their meat is smoked dry and sauced to order.
Didn’t see your favorite? Then why not share? Send your recommendations for the Richmond Navigator Barbecue Trail to Info@RichmondNavigator.com.