In the southern United States, there’s a great BBQ restaurant on nearly every corner. Although Iowa isn’t “The South,” if you ask around, good BBQ isn’t hard to find in Iowa. Here are some of the restaurants with the best BBQ sandwiches in the state.
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:
1. Mosley's Barbecue and Provisions is located at 525 S Gilbert Street in Iowa City.
It's known for its atmosphere, patio seating, drink specials, and the on-site smoked BBQ pork.
More than just a locally owned restaurant, Mosley's is committed to offering high quality food. From the hickory used to smoke the meat to the collard greens, everything at Mosley's is locally sourced.
2. Jimmy Jack's Rib Shack has two Iowa City locations; 1940 Lower Muscatine Road and 201 South Clinton Street.
The sandwich is called, "The Supreme" and it's one of the best in Iowa. Jimmy Jack's BBQ is known for their pork, chicken, and brisket simmered in their original BBQ sauce.
Fans of Jimmy Jack's Rib Shack say the Caroline Mustard, Cowboy Sauce, and the famous Four Alarm Sauce are excellent.
3. The Wishbone in Waterloo is located at 201 West 18th Street.
It's a humble hometown joint with a lot of heart, great daily specials, and an amazing selection of BBQ.
The food at The Wishbone is cooked with care, and many dishes are made from scratch. Locals love the chicken fried steak, beer battered cheese fries, hot subs, and of course the barbecue. The one-pound burger is for big appetites, and makes for an impressive meal.
4. Jacks Beef Delight & BBQ is located at 415 West Lincoln Way in Nevada.
They also have a food truck, and their BBQ is so popular that they often sell out. You can find their truck at local events like Lincoln Highway Days.
Editor's Note: Jack's Beef Delight & BBQ is permanently closed.
At Jack's Beef Delight & BBQ, locals often refer to the food as "meat heaven". Their BBQ brisket is legendary, as is their BBQ pulled pork sandwich. For those who have a hard time deciding, the sampler platter includes beef, pork, and brisket. They also have full and half racks of ribs.
5. You can find Smokey D's at 5055 NW 2nd Street, 1210 Locust Street, or 601 Locust Street, in Des Moines.
Smokey D's BBQ is an award-winning restaurant with food that's so good, the locals can't quit talking about it. Even the mac and cheese and potato casserole sides are amazing.
Enjoy a rack of ribs smothered in the Smokey D's signature sauce, the well-known burnt ends dish, or their incredible BBQ sandwich. The place is full of fun decor and BBQ trophies from famous competitions like the American Royal in Kansas City.
6. You'll find Jethro's BBQ famously scrumptious BBQ sandwich masterpiece at any of their locations throughout West Des Moines, Waukee, Johnston, Ankeny, Altoona, and Drake.
This restaurant has been featured on "Man vs. Food". Men's Health Magazine called it the "Manliest Restaurant in the Midwest". Food Network identified it as one of the "Top 5 Bacon Bites".
Jethro's BBQ in Des Moines is responsible for the "Des Moines Melt" you see, here. It's a triple decker sandwich with pit smoked ham, pork belly, and bacon on Texas toast with extra melty American and Gouda cheese.
7. QDogs BBQ Company is a locally-owned BBQ restaurant and food truck with a home base at 895 Blairs Ferry Road in Marion, Iowa.
Live music, whole hog roasts, and the some of the best BBQ in eastern Iowa makes them local legends.
Their pulled pork sandwiches will more than fill you up. Cheesy potatoes and cornbread are just a few of their awesome side dishes. Other favorites include the QDog BBQ brisket sandwich and Philly brisket sub.
8. Sweet and Saucy in Fairfield sits back from the road a bit, so it's easy to miss at 117 North Court Street.
It may not be fancy, but the food gets rave reviews from travelers and locals. Pulled pork with sweet potato fries are a favorite. You'll have a lot of different sauces to choose from. Try them all!
They smoke it all at Sweet and Saucy. Try the smoked cheeseburger with an onion ring topper, smoked meatloaf, or their pulled pork BBQ sandwich with a side of their delicious baked beans.
9. Vinny's BBQ is located in Dakota City at 507 Main Street.
Editor's Note: Vinnie's BBQ is temporarily closed.
This classic small town restaurant offers great food and some of the best BBQ in the state of Iowa. The hot BBQ gets especially high praise for it's "not too hot" but still spicy enough taste.
The brisket sandwich with a side of fries and house-made coleslaw make a nice meal for first-time visitors. Perfectly spiced burnt ends, moist BBQ chicken, and small town hospitality make this restaurant a worthy stop in the Dakota City area.
10. Old Armory BBQ in Decorah is located at 421 West Water Street.
This restaurant stands up to the best BBQ joints in Kansas City and Tennessee. They are known for their blueberry BBQ sauce, extra-cheesy mac and cheese, and their pulled pork BBQ sandwiches.
Frequent diners at Old Armory BBQ know that the coleslaw and brisket are perfectly seasoned. The pulled pork is an Iowa pork shoulder slow smoked with a 20-ingredient rub that's top secret. All of their sauces are within easy reach at the table and are made from scratch.
Good food isn’t hard to find in Iowa. Are there any other BBQ joints in Iowa that can boast the “best” sandwich?