Wisconsin definitely isn’t on most people’s lists of great BBQ destinations, but there are actually a great handful of places serving up slow-smoked, well-loved and delicious BBQ if you know where to look.
One of the hallmarks of great BBQ is not taking itself too seriously. These places aren’t white tablecloth or fancy. They aren’t the most popular joint in town. They’re just small places in hidden spots cranking out amazing smoked meat and tasty sauces to the folks lucky enough to know about them.
In no particular order, here are some of the best spots in Wisconsin to get BBQ on the down low:
1. Bob's Bitchin' BBQ - Dodgeville
With an industrial look and an interesting array of non-standard sauce choices, Bob's would be at home in much bigger cities. Instead, it's a cozy little local joint well worth the drive. Order your meat naked and then take advantage of the smorgasbord of sauces at your table.
Located at 167 N Iowa St, Dodgeville, WI 53533.
2. J & J BBQ - Nelson
So popular they've expanded into neighboring space, this is another place that would do well in a bigger area, but is happy just feeding the fine folks of their small town. You'll feel like family here, especially since half the folks will be regulars.
Located at 208 N Main St, Nelson, WI 54756.
3. Joe's Texas Barbecue - Green Bay
Joe's looks like a roadside shack, but don't let the exterior fool you. Inside is a stellar mix of smoked meats and sides so amazing you'll wish you had more stomachs.
Located at 1800 S Ashland Ave, Green Bay, WI 54304.
4. LD's BBQ - East Troy
Any good southerner knows the best food comes from the most unexpected places and that's often gas stations. LD's is Wisconsin's very own proof of that rule. Most folks aren't heading to East Troy for dinner, but they should be. Well worth the short drive from Milwaukee, LD's is packed full of flavor - you'll start smelling the smoke when you get off the freeway.
Located at 1880 Co Hwy ES, East Troy, WI 53120.
5. Bad Bones Barbecue - Woodruff
The Northwoods is more known for supper clubs and fish fry than BBQ, but Bad Bones is a newer place that's making a place for themselves. Not only will you get stellar food, but you can't beat the location. Take your food outside on a picnic table lakeside and enjoy the Up North life.
Located at 1421 US-51, Woodruff, WI 54568.
6. Blowin' Smoke BBQ - Waunakee
These folks share a building with a few other businesses and it's a bit "blink and you'll miss it" but you'd be sad if you did. This KC style place has a small interior dining room but a great patio. If you're lucky enough to be there for burnt ends, get those!
Located at 1336 Montondon Ave, Waunakee, WI 53597.
7. Big Guy's BBQ - Hudson
This place has a stellar sandwich selection and you won't regret going on Taco Tuesday.
Located at 1237 WI-35, Hudson, WI 54016.
8. T Bacon's BBQ - Ashwaubenon
Some unusual flavors, like the spicy root beer rib sandwich make this place a must-stop for any bbq-lover. Adjoining a casino and a gas station, this is another of those non-descript places hiding in plain sight.
Located at 3120 Packerland Dr, Ashwaubenon, WI 54115.
9. Double B's - West Allis
Hidden among some shops and bars on West Allis' main drag, this place is doing really interesting things with their smoker - if they have the smoked deviled eggs, definitely try those. But you'll not go wrong with anything on the menu. Check out the interesting drinks, as well.
Located at 7420 W Greenfield Ave, West Allis, WI 53214.
10. Smoky Jon's #1 BBQ - Madison
This woodsy joint has some of the best, fall-off-the-bone ribs you'll ever have.
Located at 2310 Packers Ave, Madison, WI 53704.
11. Wood BBQ - Sauk City
This place is all about the beef - try the prime rib and the brisket to really get the best they have to offer. Smoked prime rib should be enough to get you there, but the cheesy potatoes are worth the trip alone.
Located at 739 Phillips Blvd, Sauk City, WI 53583.
12. Iron Grate - Milwaukee
These guys just moved into a bigger spot which should solve the biggest complaint about them - they run out of food quickly. But that speaks to how much everyone loves them. The mac and cheese is a favorite side and the smoked sausage is amazing. They're moving! The new location is located at 4125 S. Howell Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53207.
13. Speed Queen - Milwaukee
A Milwaukee institution, Speed Queen has been there for more than 60 years serving up stellar take out BBQ in the largest pit in the city.
Located at 1130 W Walnut St, Milwaukee, WI 53205.
Where’s your favorite Wisconsin BBQ? Let us know in the comments.