Is there anything better on a spring or summer day than a delicious helping of BBQ? Perfectly smoked meats, just the right amount of tangy sauce, and rich flavor galore… what’s not to love? Here in Michigan, we’ve got plenty of great little BBQ joints to check out — and you’ll certainly be back for seconds. Here are eleven of our favorites throughout the Great Lakes State.
1. Dallas Deli (3660 Byron Center Ave SW, Wyoming)
This roadside stop in Wyoming might be small, but it packs in tons of incredible flavor. Stop by as you make your way through the Grand Rapids area and grab some Texas dry-rub to-go or beef brisket. Don’t forget the sides: from mac ’n cheese to amazing slaw, you really can’t go wrong.
2. Bare Bones BBQ & Pizza (807 Columbus Ave, Bay City)
If you find yourself in the charming town of Bay City, a visit to Bare Bones is an absolute must. Whether you enjoy an order of ribs with delectable sauce or even opt for a plate of fried chicken, there’s no bad choice. Finish off your meal with a helping of potato salad — your stomach will be full and happy.
3. Sparks BBQ (439 E Front St, Traverse City)
This Traverse City favorite is nothing short of magical. If you’re a fan of good BBQ, Sparks will take your taste buds to paradise as soon as you enjoy that first bite. Visitors rave about everything from the pulled pork sandwich to the Memphis dry rubbed ribs, but you’ll find something to love no matter where your preferences lie.
4. Campfire’s Barbecue (W17048 US-2, Gould City)
Perhaps you've never heard of Gould City, but it will be one of your new favorite spots as soon as you enjoy a taste of Campfire’s Barbecue. This Upper Peninsula eatery serves up perfectly tender meat in a friendly, welcoming environment. If you’ve had one too many pasties during your UP adventure, head on in to Campfire’s and satisfy every BBQ craving imaginable.
5. JW’s BBQ & Brew (North Highway 28, 84 Bergland Rd, Marenisco)
As its name suggests, this is the perfect spot to stop for a pint of beer and a meaty meal! A variety of tasty sauces, amazingly prepared brisket, and plenty of local beers on tap make this one of the best BBQ restaurants in the Upper Peninsula. But don't take our word for it: go on in and taste for yourself!
6. Main Street Pizzeria & BBQ (3150 North M-65, Hale)
This awesome spot certainly features fantastic pizza, but we’re focusing on BBQ today — and what a great selection you’ll find! The building might not look like much from the outside, but don’t let its modest exterior fool you. Main Street offers up some of the tastiest, most satisfying BBQ in the state. As soon as you enter, the smell of smoked meat will make your mouth water, and that first bite will take your taste buds straight to paradise.
7. Randy’s Roadside Bar-B-Que (7007 US-12, Onsted)
Located in Michigan’s beautiful Irish Hills region, Randy’s is an absolute must-try. Its BBQ is served from a red trailer that seems to appear out of nowhere, and you’ll certainly never forget your trip to this awesome eatery. From brisket to ribs to a plethora of delicious sides, you’ll find something to indulge in at Randy’s.
8. Hog Wild BBQ (154 W Lakewood Blvd, Holland)
Venture to the lakeside town of Holland for a taste of Hog Wild BBQ, which serves up amazing BBQ in a friendly environment. Opt for the 3-meat platter when you just can’t decide, or keep it simple with a pulled pork sandwich. Prices are reasonable and the food is fantastic — sounds pretty perfect to us!
9. West Texas Barbecue Co. (2190 Brooklyn Rd, Jackson)
This small but mighty joint in Jackson is the perfect no-frills stop when you’ve got a massive craving for BBQ. Try the smoked prime rib or chow down on flavorful brisket — it’s pretty difficult to go wrong at West Texas. Even if you don’t live nearby, you might find yourself driving across the state for seconds!
10. Smokin’ Good BBQ (208 E State St, Cassopolis)
This eatery’s name says it all: the BBQ here is just plain tasty. Service is quick, friendly, and satisfying, and the BBQ is out-of-this-world good. From ribs to simple hot dogs to a whole array of lighter options like salads, there’s something here for every member of the family. If you’re feeling extra hungry, go ahead and order the full slab of ribs: your taste buds will appreciate the challenge.
11. US 31 Bar-B-Q (151 W Muskegon Ave, Muskegon)
This Muskegon restaurant is tucked away among classic diner-style decor, and its food has truly stood the test of time. The meats are slow-cooked, the service is unbeatable, and the atmosphere will only add to the deliciousness of your experience. The relish and sauces used at US 31 Bar-B-Q are certainly unique, but that’s what makes this spot so wonderful! Come on in when you’re craving a Carolina-style BBQ meal.
Okay, Michiganders: we know it would be impossible to include every incredible BBQ spot in the state on one short list. So, we’d love to hear from you: do you have a favorite little BBQ joint that everyone should check out? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!