The Natural State knows and loves its barbecue! If you can’t find a good old Arkansas summer cookout going on in your neighborhood, chances are good someone’s picked up some Sims’ or McClard’s barbecue for their holiday weekend or get together. These barbecue restaurants across Arkansas specialize in serving the best of the best BBQ you’ll ever eat!
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
32. Smokin' In Style BBQ: This family-operated Hot Springs restaurant serves up barbecue with quick, friendly service. You won't be disappointed in the ribs or pork sandwich!
Smokin' In Style is located at 2278 Albert Pike Road in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
31. Gene's Bar-B-Que: This Brinkley family restaurant serves four kinds of barbecue -- pork, beef, ribs, and chicken; fish and steak are on the menu as well.
Breakfast is available all day; sides here include coleslaw, baked beans, fries; catfish, biscuits, and gravy; fried pies are on the menu for dessert. Gene's is located at 1107 North Main Street in Brinkley.
30. Chip's Barbecue: A family-owned business in Little Rock since 1961, Chip's serves great hickory smoked ribs, beef, pork, ham, turkey, and chicken breast with homemade beans, slaw, and potato salad.
Chip's pies are quite often voted best in Arkansas. Chip's Barbecue is located at 9801 West Markham Street in Little Rock.
29. Jones' Bar-B-Q Diner: This neighborhood barbecue joint has been in business for over 100 years in Marianna; meats are smoked on-site and served on plain white bread with thin, vinegar-based sauce and cole slaw.
Jones', an award- winning BBQ restaurant, is often featured in magazines & other media and is located at 219 West Louisiana Street in Marianna, Arkansas.
28. Benny Bob's BBQ: Benny Bob's serves barbecue chicken, ribs, pork, baked beans, cole slaw, hushpuppies, catfish, wings, and homemade and fried pies for dessert.
Benny Bob's BBQ is located at 847 East Main Street in Blytheville, Arkansas.
27. Whole Hog Cafe: This Little Rock-based chain offers barbecue along with side dishes including potato salad, beans, coleslaw, salad, and dinner rolls. Other specialties include barbecue nachos and loaded baked potatoes.
Currently there are twelve Whole Hog Cafe locations with restaurants in Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, and New Jersey.
26. Lindsey's Hospitality House & Barbecue: Opened in 1956 serving home-cooking and barbecue for lunch, this central Arkansas standard specializes in chopped barbecue beef, pork, ribs, smoked links, and chicken as well as fried chicken and catfish.
Located on 207 East 15th Street in North Little Rock, Lindsey's offers a variety of side items including mixed greens, pinto and baked beans, potato salad, onion rings, cabbage and desserts such as homemade pies including egg custard, sweet potato, and fried pies.
25. HB's Barbecue: This quaint legendary barbecue "dive" is located in a residential area and seats only 32; great slabs of meat with fiery barbecue sauce are served here but ribs are served on Tuesday only. Try the pork sandwich on an onion roll!
HB'S Barbecue is located at 6010 Lancaster Road in Little Rock, Arkansas.
24. White Pig Inn BBQ: This North Little Rock restaurant has been preparing and serving hickory pit smoked meats since 1920; it's the oldest barbecue restaurant in central Arkansas. The menu includes pork, beef, ribs, chicken, sandwiches, sides, and home-made fried pies.
White Pig Inn BBQ is located at 5231 East Broadway in North Little Rock, Arkansas.
23. Dixie Pig: This third-generation-owned restaurant in Blytheville has been serving smoked barbecue since 1923.
Dixie Pig, located at 701 North 6th Street in Blytheville, is famous for its chopped pork sandwich known as "the pig sandwich," homemade onion rings and fries, beans; additional sandwiches, barbecue and chicken plates are available along with salads.
22. Penguin Ed's BBQ: This Northwest Arkansas barbecue favorite has been in operation since 1993 and has expanded operations to four locations across Fayetteville.
Penguin Ed's is open at 6347 Wedington Drive, 230 South East Avenue, 2773 East Mission Boulevard, and 230 South East Avenue in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
21. Stubby's BBQ: Smoked meats are served here 3 ways (traditional, healthy, & sassy) via counter service or drive-thru.
Stubby's is located at 3024 Central Avenue in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
20. Sugar Booger's Barbecue & Brew: Located in Huntsville, Sugar Booger's is the only place around where you can sit outside (or inside) and savor the beauty of rural Northwest Arkansas while enjoying a barbecue sandwich and a cold beer.
Sugar Booger's Barbecue & Brew is at US 412 & HWY 21 South in beautiful Madison County.
19. Three Sam's Barbecue: This barbecue joint features handmade crafts and lots of old pictures inside to tell the story of not only the restaurant but also of the family and community of Mabelvale, Arkansas.
Three Sams BBQ is located at 10508 Mann Road, Mabelvale. Hours are 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday and Tuesday and 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 pm. Wednesday through Friday.
18. Backyard Barbecue Company: Located in Magnolia, this restaurant serves beef, pork barbecue, potato salad, slaw, barbecue baked potatoes, and a variety of desserts.
Backyard Barbecue Company is located at 1407 East Main Street in Magnolia, Arkansas.
17. Mickey's Barbecue: Serving the Hot Springs area since 1990, Mickey's is open Tuesday through Saturday for lunch & dinner from 11am - 8pm as well as on Sundays for lunch from 11am - 3pm.
Mickey's is located at 1622 Park Avenue in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
16. Sturdi's ShoNuff Barbecue: Dishes here are based on family recipes from the original Sho'nuff barbecue which was in Fayetteville, Arkansas during the 1970s. Meats are smoked with hickory and apple wood.
Sturdi's is located at 256 W. North Street in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
15. Hoots BBQ, Bakery, and Grill: Located at 2008 US 65 North in McGehee, Hoots has barbecue pork, beef and chicken, burgers, sandwiches, seafood, and steaks on the menu.
The bakery features homemade pies and cookies; outdoor seating is available as well as a live entertainment in the bar.
14. Capitol Smokehouse and Grill: The beef, pork, and chicken dishes here are all smoked to melting tenderness and doused with a choice of sauces. The crusty but tender ribs shine.
Side dishes are top-notch and they offer a plate lunch special. The Capitol Smokehouse is located at 915 West Capitol Avenue in Little Rock, Arkansas.
13. Couch's Log Cabin BBQ: This Trumann classic features American homestyle dishes; barbecue sandwiches, platters and ribs are the house specialties.
Couch's is located at 405 Arkansas 463 South in Trumann, Arkansas.
12. Smitty's Bar-B-Que: This Conway favorite offers a selection of beef, ham, pork, and turkey along with their very own selection of six bar-b-que sauces.
Smitty's is located at 740 South Harkrider in Conway, Arkansas.
11. Craig's BBQ: This true Southern barbecue shack dates back to the 1940s and serves slow-smoked meats, fiery sauces, savory coleslaw, barbecue sandwiches, plates, ribs, and burgers.
Craig's is located at U.S. 70 in DeValls Bluff, Arkansas.
10. Sassy's Red House BBQ: Ribs, brisket, pulled pork & more are dished up at this casual BBQ joint with a lively, sports-bar vibe.
Sassy's Red House is located at 708 College Ave, Fayetteville, Arkansas.
9. Ralph's Pink Flamingo BBQ: This Fort Smith mainstay serves award-winning barbecue beef, pork, ribs chicken, sausage, salads, side dishes, and desserts.
The Pink Flamingo barbecue team has won over 150 different BBQ awards since 1998. The restaurant is located at 2801 Old Greenwood Rd # 3 in Fort Smith, Arkansas.
8. Kibbs' BBQ: The sauce is brag-worthy at this Stuttgart restaurant and so are the ribs. Try the pork combo!
Kibbs' BBQ is located at 436 West 2nd Street in Stuttgart, Arkansas.
7. Brother's BBQ: This Heber Springs favorite offers smoked pork and beef, ribs, side dishes that include: potato salad, baked beans, coleslaw, fries, and corn on the cob; barbecue nachos are also on the menu.
Brother's BBQ is located at 301 Southridge in Heber Springs, Arkansas.
6. Nick's Bar-B-Q & Catfish: A popular Carlisle eatery, Nick's specializes in authentic barbecued pork, beef, chicken, and ribs.
Nick's Bar-B-Q & Catfish is located on Highway 13 North in Carlisle, Arkansas.
5. Old Post BBQ: This Russelville restaurant has served Southern-style, award-winning barbecue since 1979; the restaurant features a variety of meats such as beef, pork, Polish sausage, smoked ham, turkey, and chicken.
Old Post BBQ has a variety of sides including mac & cheese, corn on the cob, potato salad, and fried okra. Desserts include homemade banana pudding & cobblers. Old Post is located at 407 South Arkansas Avenue in Russelville, Arkansas.
4. Rivertowne BBQ: Meats are smoked daily on these Ozark, Arkansas premises. Rivertowne features dry rub and barbecue sauce; sides include potato salad, baked and rivertowne beans, cole slaw, and some salad dressings all handmade on the premises.
Rivertowne BBQ is located at 205 South 3rd Street in Ozark, Arkansas.
3. Big Jake's BBQ: This Texarkana-based favorite serves excellent barbecue dishes and features some of the best customer service in Arkansas.
Big Jake's has 3 locations in Texarkana as well as one restaurant in Hope and another in Ashdown.
2. Sims BBQ: The original in southwest Little Rock serves excellent spare ribs, sandwiches, beef, half and whole chicken, and an addictive vinegar-mustard-brown sugar sauce unique to the Natural State.
Sims BBQ has various locations throughout Little Rock; the original being at 7601 Geyer Springs Road in Little Rock, Arkansas.
1. McClard's Bar-B-Q: This award-winning and nationally known Hot Springs restaurant is a longtime family-owned joint serving up hearty ribs, fries & beer in a basic diner-style setting.
McClard's is located at 505 Albert Pike Road in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
If you’re not breaking out the grill this weekend, you should try some of these great BBQ places across the state! Don’t forget to mention in the comments below some of the great dishes these restaurants serve and give more recommendations for great Arkansas barbecue!