Best Wisconsin BBQ Joints: Top Picks for Smoky, Delicious Meats

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Wisconsin may not be the first state that comes to mind when you think of BBQ, but it’s home to some of the best Wisconsin BBQ joints in the country. From classic Texas-style brisket to unique Wisconsin-style BBQ, there’s something for everyone in the Badger State.

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Wisconsin’s BBQ scene has a rich history, dating back to the state’s early days as a hub for meatpacking and processing. Today, Wisconsin BBQ continues to evolve, with new and innovative styles emerging all the time. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or just looking for a tasty meal, you’re sure to find something to love in Wisconsin’s BBQ joints.

Key Takeaways

  • Wisconsin may not be known for BBQ, but it has a rich history and a thriving scene.
  • From classic Texas-style brisket to unique Wisconsin-style BBQ, there’s something for everyone in the Badger State.
  • Whether you’re a BBQ fan or just looking for a tasty meal, Wisconsin’s BBQ joints are worth checking out.
Best Wisconsin BBQ Joints Memphis Style Ribs
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History of BBQ in Wisconsin


Barbecue has a rich history in the United States, and Wisconsin is no exception. While Wisconsin may not be known for its barbecue like some other states, it has a thriving barbecue scene with many excellent restaurants and joints.

The history of barbecue in Wisconsin can be traced back to the early 1900s, when it was primarily a Southern cuisine. The first barbecue restaurants in Wisconsin were established in the 1920s and 1930s, and they quickly became popular with locals.

In the 1950s and 1960s, barbecue restaurants began to spread throughout Wisconsin. These restaurants served a variety of barbecue styles, including Texas-style brisket, Memphis-style ribs, and Carolina-style pulled pork.

Today, Wisconsin is home to many excellent barbecue restaurants that serve up a wide range of styles and flavors. From traditional Texas-style brisket to Carolina-style pulled pork, Wisconsin has something for everyone.

Some of the best barbecue joints in Wisconsin include J&J BBQ in Nelson, LD’s BBQ in East Troy, and Dickey’s Barbecue Pit in Kenosha. These restaurants serve up delicious barbecue that is sure to satisfy even the most discerning barbecue enthusiast.

While Wisconsin may not be known for its barbecue like some other states, it has a rich history of barbecue that dates back over a century. Today, Wisconsin is home to many excellent barbecue restaurants that serve up a wide range of styles and flavors, making it a great destination for barbecue lovers.

Top Rated BBQ Joints in Wisconsin

If you’re looking for the best BBQ joints in Wisconsin, you’ve come to the right place. In this section, we’ll take a closer look at the top-rated joints in three major cities in Wisconsin: Madison, Milwaukee, and Green Bay.

Madison

Madison has a few great BBQ joints that are definitely worth checking out. Here are a few of the top-rated ones:

NameAddressPhone NumberRating
Smoky Jon’s #1 BBQ2310 Packers Ave, Madison, WI 53704(608) 249-74274.6
Double S BBQ1835 Park St, Madison, WI 53713(608) 819-65514.5
That BBQ Joint4810 E Broadway, Madison, WI 53716(608) 222-74274.3

Milwaukee

Milwaukee has some excellent BBQ joints that are sure to satisfy your cravings. Here are a few of the top-rated ones:

NameAddressPhone NumberRating
Iron Grate BBQ Co.4125 S Howell Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53207(414) 455-17764.7
Speed Queen BBQ1130 W Walnut St, Milwaukee, WI 53205(414) 265-29004.6
Ashley’s BBQ1501 W Center St, Milwaukee, WI 53206(414) 372-76664.5

Green Bay

Green Bay may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of BBQ, but it has some fantastic options. Here are a few of the top-rated ones:

NameAddressPhone NumberRating
Joe’s Texas BBQ1800 S Ashland Ave, Green Bay, WI 54304(920) 499-57004.5
Firehouse Barbecue2625 S Oneida St, Ashwaubenon, WI 54304(920) 499-84004.4
Smokey Blues BBQ1366 Velp Ave, Green Bay, WI 54303(920) 434-94844.2

Whether you’re in Madison, Milwaukee, or Green Bay, you’re sure to find some amazing places that will satisfy your cravings.

Best Wisconsin BBQ Joints burnt ends

Unique BBQ Styles in Wisconsin

Wisconsin may not be known for its BBQ, but that doesn’t mean the state’s pitmasters aren’t putting their own unique spin on this classic cuisine. Here are some of the unique styles you can find in Wisconsin:

Brisket Burnt Ends:

While burnt ends are a BBQ staple, Wisconsin pitmasters have put their own spin on them by using brisket instead of the traditional beef chuck. This results in a smokier, more flavorful burnt end that’s sure to please.

Brats:

Wisconsin is known for its brats, so it’s no surprise that some BBQ joints have started incorporating them into their menus. Brats are a great addition to any plate, and they pair perfectly with a cold beer.

Cheese Curds:

Another Wisconsin favorite, cheese curds are a great addition to any BBQ plate. They add a salty, cheesy flavor that complements the smoky flavors perfectly.

Pork Shoulder:

While pork shoulder is a common BBQ meat, Wisconsin pitmasters have perfected their own unique style. The pork is slow-smoked until it’s fall-apart tender, then served with a tangy BBQ sauce.

Fish:

While not a traditional BBQ meat, Wisconsin’s proximity to the Great Lakes means that some places have started incorporating fish into their menus. Smoked salmon, trout, and whitefish are all popular choices.

Overall, Wisconsin’s unique BBQ styles are a testament to the state’s culinary creativity. Whether you’re a purist or you’re looking for something a little different, Wisconsin has something to offer.

Best Wisconsin BBQ Joints Festivals

BBQ Festivals and Competitions in Wisconsin

Wisconsin is known for its love of BBQ, and there are several festivals and competitions held throughout the state each year. Here are a few of the most popular ones:

Elkhorn Ribfest:

This five-day event held on the Walworth County Fairgrounds attracts BBQ vendors from around the world. Visitors can enjoy mouthwatering BBQ and high-quality entertainment.

Wisconsin BBQ Championship:

This year-long championship is based on your finish in KCBS backyard and master level competitions. Cash prizes are awarded to the winners.

Puckaway Pigfest BBQ Competition:

This annual KCBS sanctioned BBQ competition takes place the weekend after Labor Day in Montello, WI. Visitors can enjoy delicious food and live music.

Wisconsin State Fair BBQ Competition:

This annual event is held during the Wisconsin State Fair and attracts BBQ enthusiasts from all over the state. Visitors can sample a variety of BBQ dishes and watch the competition.

These festivals and competitions are a great way to experience the best BBQ Wisconsin has to offer. Whether you’re a BBQ enthusiast or just looking for a fun weekend activity, these events are not to be missed.

Final Thoughts on Best Wisconsin BBQ Joints

Wisconsin may not be known for its BBQ, but there are some hidden gems throughout the state that are worth checking out. From the genuine Texas BBQ at Joe’s Texas Barbecue in Green Bay to the cozy local joint Bob’s Bitchin’ BBQ in Dodgeville, there’s something for every BBQ lover in Wisconsin.

Overall, Wisconsin may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of BBQ, but with these top-rated joints, you won’t be disappointed. So grab some friends, hit the road, and enjoy some of the best BBQ that Wisconsin has to offer.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Best Wisconsin BBQ Joints

What are the top-rated BBQ joints in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin has several highly rated BBQ joints. Joe’s Texas Barbecue in Green Bay, J&J BBQ in Nelson, and Smoky Jon’s in Madison are among the top-rated joints in Wisconsin.

Where can I find the best Wisconsin BBQ joints?

The best BBQ in Wisconsin can be found in several cities. Green Bay, Nelson, Madison, and Dodgeville are some of the cities with the best in Wisconsin.

What are some must-try BBQ dishes in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin is known for its delicious BBQ dishes. Some must-try BBQ dishes in Wisconsin include brisket, pulled pork, smoked chicken, and ribs.

Which Wisconsin BBQ joints are known for their sauce?

Bob’s Bitchin’ BBQ in Dodgeville is known for its interesting array of non-standard sauce choices. They offer a smorgasbord of sauces at your table that you can take advantage of.

What makes Wisconsin BBQ unique compared to other states?

Wisconsin BBQ is unique because of the state’s love for cheese. Many BBQ joints in Wisconsin use cheese in their BBQ dishes, which adds a distinct flavor to the dishes.

Are there any hidden gem BBQ joints in Wisconsin?

Yes, there are many hidden gems in Wisconsin. Some of these include Double B’s BBQ in West Allis, Smoke Shack in Milwaukee, and The Charcoal Grill in Racine.

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