Dining January 07, 2017
You’ve Got To Take This Road Trip Through Arkansas’s Best Barbecue Cities
We’ve discussed the
best barbecue city in Arkansas and added a bunch of restaurants to your barbecue bucket list, but this time we’re doing something different with barbecue—we’re road tripping. All of the restaurants on this list are on your barbecue bucket list already, but with this road trip you can hit two a day while experiencing a wonderful drive through the Delta region and into central Arkansas.
The total drive time is just under six hours, but you’re going to want to spread it out over several days so that you can eat all the barbecue you can. You could also divide the trip up across a few weekends so you’ll have enough space in your stomach for all those ribs. Regardless of how you choose to enjoy this barbecue adventure, you’re definitely going to want to pack your eating pants. These eleven restaurants are musts for barbecue fans.
For directions to these restaurants,
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
1. Dixie Pig (Blytheville)
We’re starting out in the uppermost portion of the Delta, in the northeastern corner of Arkansas. The Dixie Pig has been around for almost a hundred years, and they’ve been cooking up delicious barbecue all that time. Most people prefer their sandwiches, but there really aren’t any complaints about the whole of their menu. Dixie Pig is located at 701 North 6th Street in Blytheville.
2. Jones Bar-B-Q Diner (Marianna)
For a James Beard award winning restaurant, look no further than this little place in the small town of Marianna. This delta favorite is pretty legendary, so you’re going to want to call ahead to make sure you get some of their indescribably fantastic barbecue. Jones Bar-B-Q Diner is located at 219 West Louisiana Street in Marianna. Their phone number is (870) 295-3807.
3. Gene’s (Brinkley)
Please note, Gene’s has permanently closed.
The third stop on your barbecue journey is near the home of the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker. You’re going to stop off in Brinkley at a place where even the chef’s salad can be ordered with a generous helping of mouthwatering barbecued meat. Gene’s is a delightful little hometown restaurant where you can count on delicious, reasonably priced barbecue served with a friendly smile. Gene’s is located at 1107 Arkansas 17 in Brinkley.
4. Craig’s Bar-B-Q (De Valls Bluff)
You can’t ask for anything better from any restaurant than tradition, and that’s exactly what you’ll find at Craig’s. They’ve been around since the 1940s, serving up slow-cooked meat swimming in their own special barbecue sauce. Like most of the restaurants on this list, Craig’s isn’t much to look at from the outside, but you won’t believe the unadulterated awesomeness of the food you’ll find inside at 15 West Walnut in De Valls Bluff.
5. Nick’s Bar-B-Q & Catfish (Carlisle)
Honestly, if you’re not totally intrigued by this restaurant because of its name, I have no idea why you’d want to live in the Natural State—barbecue AND catfish? Most Arkansans are salivating just thinking about those two staples of our cuisine. Well, you can get both at Nick’s. In fact, you can get both on the same plate! And you’re not going to be disappointed in the quality, either. Nick’s is located at 1012 Bobby L Glover Highway in Carlisle.
6. Smokin’ Buns BBQ & Catfish (Jacksonville)
We’re just past the middle of your barbecue adventure, and I hope you’re still hungry, because we’ve got a fantastic place with a great name over in Jacksonville. The folks at Smokin’ Buns pride themselves on their freshly smoked meats, and you’ll be proud of them too. By the way, this is another place where you can get delicious fried catfish on the same plate as mouthwatering barbecue. You're welcome, Arkansans. Smokin’ Buns is located at 25401 Highway 107 in Jacksonville.
7. Whole Hog Cafe (Little Rock)
Next we’re headed over to our capital city to try award-winning barbecue from an Arkansas institution. The Whole Hog Cafe has grown from its Little Rock roots into a small franchise spanning four states. With practices like serving ribs on top of brisket (see photographic evidence above), it’s no wonder this place has branched out. You can find the original at 2516 Cantrell Road in Little Rock.
8. H.B.’s Bar B. Que. (Little Rock)
This next Little Rock barbecue joint isn’t hiding from you—it really is located in a residential area, and it has been since 1961. How did a little barbecue place stay in business for more than fifty years while located so far away from the main drag? Absolutely spectacular barbecue, that’s how. H.B.’s is located at 6010 Lancaster Road in Little Rock.
9. Stubby’s BBQ (Hot Springs)
We’ve finally arrived at one of the best barbecue cities in America, and I hope you’re still hungry, because we’ve got three delicious places for you to try. First up is Stubby’s. Stubby’s has been around since 1952, and they’ve been slow roasting meat over hickory logs the entire time. In addition to their meat, you’ve absolutely got to taste that fantastic barbecue sauce they make. Stubby’s is located at 3024 Central Avenue in Hot Springs.
10. Smokin’ In Style BBQ (Hot Springs)
Compared to most of the restaurants on this list, Smokin’ In Style is the new guy on the block, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t had time to perfect some award-winning barbecue. Smokin’ In Style has only had a brick and mortar location since 2004, but the owner has been sweeping barbecue competitions since 1999. What has made this fairly new restaurant such a contender? The flavor, that's what. Smokin’ In Style is located at 2278 Albert Pike Road in Hot Springs National Park.
11. McClard’s Bar-B-Q (Hot Springs)
For our last stop, we’re going to one of the most popular barbecue restaurants in Arkansas. McClard’s has been a Hot Springs staple since 1928, and you’re going to adore the smoked meat, tamales, home-style sides, and absurdly delicious barbecue sauce. In fact, you can buy their sauce by the gallon. You’ll want to buy that much after you’ve tried it, and no one else who has tried it will judge you for making that choice. In fact, they'll probably applaud you and ask when they can come to dinner. McClard’s Bar-B-Q is located at 505 Albert Pike Road in Hot Springs.
For more road trips you need to take in Arkansas,
click here. For the ultimate foodie road trip, you need to try this one.