Here in Rhode Island, we’re justifiably proud of our outsized reputation for great food. But barbecue has traditionally been a notable gap on our culinary resume. Sure, there have always been a handful of places that know their way around a plate of ribs – we’re thinking Wes’ Rib House and Rick’s Roadhouse in Providence, Oak Hill Tavern in South County, Becky’s and the Smoke House on Aquidneck Island – but Rhode Island has never been a detour on anybody’s barbecue road trip.
That might finally be changing. Over the past few years more local chefs are lighting up smokers and going slow-and-low on ribs, pulled pork, brisket and all the fixins. There might even be – dare we say it – an emerging barbecue scene here in Rhode Island.
1. Pink Pig BBQ
Priding themselves on 10- to 14-hour cook times, the folks at Pink Pig know that nothing creates demand quite like limited supply: Once they run out of juicy, smoky goodness, they’re out. Hurry to their Warren or Jamestown location early to get your fix. Try it: They’re called the Pink Pig, but if you must try something other than pork, we recommend the Jamaican Jerk Wings.
2. Gotta Q
As a food truck, Gotta Q was voted the #1 barbecue truck in the country by Mobile-Cuisine.com. Capitalizing on that success, they’ve opened not one but two brick-and-mortar locations in Cumberland, serving slow-smoked meats with either Kansas City or Eastern Carolina style sauces. Try it: Tri Tip Sirloin with a dollop of cole slaw.
3. Pork & Starboard
What goes better with barbecue than a nice, cold beer? Pork & Starboard serves “pit-to-plate” cuisine combining classic barbecue techniques with local ingredients on Saturdays at Pawtucket’s Bucket Brewery. Try it: The menu changes weekly, so trust your chef.
4. Binge BBQ
Binge is Newport’s newest late-night craving, cooking slow-and-low over an all-wood fire every Friday and Saturday until 2am. (They’re open until 9:30pm the rest of the week.) Try it: Thick-cut Smoked Pork Belly.
5. Durk’s Bar•B•Q
The fine folks who brought The Eddy – and its decadent chicharrones nachos – to the downtown Providence bar scene are now pairing Texas-style barbecue with craft cocktails at Durk’s on the East Side. Try it: The Ridurkulous Sandwich, with chopped beef and smoked sausage.
6. Great Northern BBQ Co.
Who says the South has an exclusive claim on good barbecue? The guys at Great Northern beg to differ, with slow-smoked meats served out of The Point Tavern, a great neighborhood bar on Providence’s East Side. Try it: The brisket, which won best in its category at the inaugural Ocean State BBQ Festival last summer.