13 Spots to Feast on Barbecue in Metro Detroit

Kansas City, Carolina, Texas, Memphis, halal — not all ’cue is created equal. Here are some of the best spots around town.
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barbecue in metro detroit
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From mouthwatering beef brisket to ribs that melt in your mouth, there’s no shortage of tasty barbecue eats in metro Detroit. Try one of these area restaurants the next time you’re looking for something finger-licking good for dinner or any time of day.

AB Amazing Ribs

Specializing in halal barbecue, this family-owned business began with Ali Bazzy, aka AB himself, sharing his ribs, brisket, and barbecue recipes with friends and family. All the meats are halal and the sides like mac and cheese, coleslaw, and baked beans as well as the sauces are made in house. AB Amazing Ribs, 27310 Ford Road, Dearborn Heights; 313-914-2159; abamazingribs.com.

Arkins Sweet BBQ Pit

Owner Arkan Karana worked in several restaurants before opening his own spot in 2015. Starting off with one smoker, he built a loyal following for his slow-cooked ribs, which are smoked over cherry and sweet apple wood and finished with a tangy, semi-sweet BBQ; brisket cooked for 15 hours in the smoker; and the 12-hour smoked pork shoulder. Ribs, chicken, pork, and beef are marinated in “secret” Arkins Meat Rub, and all sides are made from original recipes. Arkins Sweet BBQ Pit, 30140 Southfield Road, Southfield; 248-731-7397; arkinsbbq.com.

Bad Brads BBQ

This Michigan-based chain has slowly expanded over the years, thanks to its loyal following in search of its St. Louis-style ribs, beef brisket, and pork shoulder, which are smoked for up to 14 hours every day starting at 5 a.m. Choose from a wide selection of BBQ platters, sandwiches, appetizers, and sides. Plus, get a kick out of browsing menu items with names like Campfire Nachos, Pig Candy, Hammer, Growler, and Big Jimmy. Bad Brads BBQ, various locations; badbradsbbq.com.

Bert’s Marketplace

Bert Dearing Jr. opened this Eastern Market staple in 1987, and it’s far more than just a place to eat. The marketplace hosts restaurant, bar, stage, artwork and memorabilia, and a museum. Today the smells of smoked ribs (not to mention the sounds of karaoke) add to the lively scene on Saturdays on market day. Bert’s signature soul food can be had throughout the week and can be found at Comerica Park stand as well. Bert’s Marketplace, 2727 Russell St., Detroit; 313-567-2030; eatatberts.com.

Joe Ann’s BBQ

Detroit is home to many family-owned barbecue joints, including this one that’s been in business for 70 years. In addition to the standby barbecued pork, beef, and chicken, there’s also seafood including shrimp, catfish, and whiting, as well as its Turkey Wing and Turkey Rib Snack. Open every day except Tuesday. Joe Ann’s BBQ, 3139 Jerome St., Detroit; 313-366-3775; joeannsbbq.com.

Lazybones Smokehouse

In 2004, Chef Deni Smiljanovski took his parent’s truck-stop diner and turned it into a chef-driven barbecue spot that runs the gamut of all the major barbecue styles, from tender and smoky Carolina pulled pork to Kansas City burnt ends to Kentucky smoked chicken. According to its website, Lazybones is “BBQ For the People.” Check out its catering menu for at-home BBQ events! Lazybones Smokehouse, 27475 Groesbeck Hwy., Roseville; 586-775-7427; lazybonessmokehouse.net.

Lockhart’s BBQ

Taking its name after a small town in the Lone Star State known as the “barbecue capital of Texas,” Lockhart’s BBQ takes pride in “Detroit style BBQ,” inspired by the owners’ trips to barbecue destinations from Kansas City to Memphis and, of course, Texas. The result is a menu that offers all the crowd pleasers, such as Burnt Ends, brisket, and pulled pork, as well as unique Lockhart’s dishes such as smoked bacon (double thick bacon slow smoked with sugar and black pepper). Lockhart’s BBQ, 202 E. Third St., Royal Oak, 248-584-4227; lockhartsbbq.com.

Nunn’s BBQ II

Wiley Nunn, a retiree from Chrysler after 32 years, opened Nunn’s Barbeque Restaurant to share his Southern-style barbeque in 1984. After his father’s passing, Nunn’s son, Al, took over the business — keeping his father’s original recipes and legacy alive. The ribs are cooked on a 10-foot charcoal grill before going into the smoker, resulting in Nunn’s signature flavor. In addition to rib tips, pulled pork, turkey ribs, and rotisserie chicken, they serve pig’s feet, fish, and shrimp. Homemade desserts like peach cobbler, banana pudding, sweet potato pie, or pound cake round out the meal. Nunn’s BBQ II, 19196 Conant St., Detroit; 313-893-7210; nunnsbbq.com.

Slows Bar-B-Q

Opened in 2005 at the corner of Michigan and 14th in Corktown, Slows Bar-B-Q became a fast favorite for its barbecue and craft brews while also helping to spark a revival in the neighborhood. Barbecue classics like pulled pork, apple BBQ chicken, and beef brisket are popular, but The Reason — smoked pulled pork bathed in North Carolina style sauce, topped with pickles and coleslaw — is the sandwich that started it all. Make leftovers exciting by purchasing their signature barbecue sauces to take home. Slows Bar-B-Q, 2138 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-962-9828; slowsbarbq.com.

Parks Old-Style B-B-Q

Parks Old Style Bar-B-Q was founded in 1964 by Edward “Terry” Parks, a former postal worker, and Verna Parks, a Detroit Public Schools counselor. Today it’s run by a new generation of Parks grandchildren who have kept up the family legacy of ribs and chicken basted with its house made vinegar-based sauces and then cooked low and slow in a pit over hardwood, fruit wood, and charcoal. Parks Old-Style B-B-Q, 7444 Beaubien St., Detroit; 313-873-7444; parksoldstylebar-b-q.com.

Union Woodshop

The backlot green hickory smoker from which the tantalizing aromas of pulled pork, ribs, and chicken permeate the air lure barbecue lovers far and wide to this Clarkston staple. The Pork Belly Burnt Ends — charred brisket ends tossed in Memphis sauce and served on Texas toast — are a must. Can’t decide from the array of meats? Check out Woodshop 1010: a quarter chicken, choice of pulled pork or brisket, or house-made hot link, plus two bones of back ribs. And don’t even think about leaving without getting the Union Mac & Cheese. Union Woodshop, 18 S. Main St., Clarkston; 248-625-5660; unionwoodshop.com.

Vicki’s Bar-B-Q

Before it was a beloved barbecue spot, Vicki’s was “Vicki’s Shrimp Hut” in the late ’50s. Owners Fairfield and Vicki Butler added pork spareribs to the menu in 1964 to differentiate itself from another shrimp hut, and Vicki’s Bar-B-Q was born. The Butlers’ son ran the businesses until late 2020. Today it’s run by longtime Detroit restaurateur and caterer Barry Winfree, who has carried on the tradition of Vicki’s signature charcoal grilled ribs and sauce. Vicki’s Bar-B-Q, 3845 W. Warren Ave., Detroit; 313-894-9906; vickisbbq.com.

Woodpile BBQ Shack

Featuring meats smoked overnight, Woodpile BBQ puts a creative and whimsical twist on barbecue, such as the Barbe-Cuban sandwich — with pulled pork, ham, Swiss, honey mustard, mayo, pickles — and the Woodpile Footlong Coney, a link of cheddar jalapeno sausage, brisket chili, mustard, and onions. Along with the delicious menu, enjoy additional dining services like catering and delivery. Woodpile BBQ, 303 S. Main St., Clawson and 630 E. Eleven Mile Road, Madison Heights; 248-565-8149; woodpilebbqshack.com.

Find details on even more metro Detroit restaurants at HourDetroit.com

This post has been updated for 2023.