The Most Delicious Minnesota Road Trip Takes You To 8 Hole-In-The-Wall BBQ Restaurants
You might not associate Upper Midwest states like Minnesota with great BBQ foods. After all, we’re hundreds of miles from the nation’s known BBQ destinations. But that doesn’t mean our state doesn’t have plenty of excellent BBQ restaurants to try out. We especially love Minnesota’s hole-in-the-wall spots that might not look like much on the outside but are full of fantastic food. That’s why we created this BBQ restaurant road trip through Minnesota. It goes from north to south, traveling through small towns and big cities, and it’s the perfect way to occupy a weekend if you’re a Minnesota BBQ lover. Read on to see where this road trip leads!
The 361-mile route begins in the northern Minnesota town of Walker, and it ends near Minnesota's southern border in Austin. Along the way, you'll find some of the state's tastiest BBQ restaurants. If you're a BBQ fanatic, it would make for a great weekend road trip! Check out the full route and directions
1. The Piggy BBQ
The first stop on our BBQ road trip through Minnesota is a little spot called the Piggy BBQ. Found in the small town of Walker, it's a popular spot for those who visit the area to fish on nearby Leech Lake. In between catches, pop in for smoked brisket or pulled pork, or for a rack of their amazing ribs. If you're extra hungry - or you just have a larger group - order a platter with a little bit of everything, including your favorite BBQ sides!
2. Timberjack Smokehouse & Saloon
Next, head south to the Timberjack Smokehouse & Saloon in Pequot Lakes. This little-known spot draws crowds thanks to its fantastic smoked foods. Their smoking process is decades in the making, with recipes that go back to the 1960s. You can't go wrong with a smoked rib dinner, complete with several delicious sides. This is a spot that'll have you planning another trip back up north just for the food!
3. Smokey's Pub N' Grill
Continue south to East Bethel, Minnesota, where Smokey's Pub N' Grill draws visitors from all over the area. Why? Because their BBQ is out of this world. The Smokehouse wings will satisfy any carnivore, as will the ribs, pulled pork and brisket sandwiches, and burgers. But that's only a small portion of the menu. There's truly something for everyone here. Try a little bit of everything with the Ultimate Platter, featuring ribs, brisket, pulled pork, pulled chicken, and andouille sausage with sides of cornbread, buns, cheese, coleslaw, and beans.
4. Q Fanatic BBQ & Grill
Q Fanatic is a great BBQ spot with two locations in the Twin Cities. Either one is fantastic to stop at, with our road trip taking you to the Champlin spot. Here, you’ll find a small but welcoming BBQ restaurant that draws visitors from all over the metro. People love their ribs, brisket, pulled chicken, grilled slab bacon, and other delicious meats. They’re especially delicious when combined with favorite BBQ sides, like coleslaw, potato salad, baked beans, and more. There’s a reason this spot draws so many visitors: it’s just that good!
5. Smoke in the Pit
Next up, the road trip leads into Minneapolis, where you’ll find a little-spot known as Smoke in the Pit. The exterior is simple, but you’ll quickly see why this little hole-in-the-wall is a must-stop spot. They’re known for their chicken, ribs, and catfish meals, which each include an order of fries and choice of beans or coleslaw. There’s plenty to like here, and we’d wager that you’ll want to come back again and again.
6. Baldy's BBQ
After Smoke in the Pit, continue south to Lakeville, Minnesota, where you’ll find our next BBQ destination. Baldy’s BBQ has plenty to love. Start your meal with curds, fried pickles, or a plate of wings. Then, dive deeper into the menu, where you’ll find outstanding smoked brisket, pulled pork sandwiches, and more. Favorite sides include corn, coleslaw, BBQ beans, and potato salad. Yum!
7. John Hardy's BBQ
Though it is lesser-known in other parts of Minnesota, John Hardy’s BBQ is legendary in the Rochester area. That’s why it’s the next stop on this road trip. Pop into either of the two locations, and you’ll discover a menu full of delicious choices. The meats are smoked over cherry and applewood until flavorful and tender, with pork smoked to perfection overnight. There are many combos on the menu where you can try several options at once, each coming with plenty of meat and sides.
8. Piggy Blue's Bar-B-Que
Our road trip ends near Minnesota's southern border, in the city of Austin. Here, Piggy Blue's has been serving up outstanding BBQ for over 20 years. They specialize in pork, with pork ribs and pulled pork being popular options. Order a sandwich loaded with meat, or a platter full with some of everything - including the outstanding potatoes, coleslaw, beans, and cornbread. This is a fantastic way to conclude your BBQ road trip!
What do you think? Which places have you visited, and what would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments! And for other great food road trips across the Land of 10,000 Lakes, check out our
Minnesota burger road trip and our Minnesota ice cream road trip.
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Address: The Piggy BBQ, 607 Minnesota Ave W, Walker, MN 56484, USA Address: Timberjack Smokehouse & Saloon Inc, 29067 Peterson Path, Pequot Lakes, MN 56472, USA Address: Smokey's Pub N' Grill, 552 Lincoln Dr, East Bethel, MN 55092, USA Address: Q Fanatic BBQ & Grill, 180 Miller Rd, Champlin, MN 55316, USA Address: Smoke in the Pit, 3733 Chicago Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55407, USA Address: Baldy's BBQ, 11276 210th St W # 103, Lakeville, MN 55044, USA Address: John Hardy's BBQ, 929 W Frontage Rd, Rochester, MN 55901, USA Address: Piggy Blue's Bar-B-Que, 323 Main St N, Austin, MN 55912, USA