5 BBQ Restaurants in Raleigh, NC That Bring the Best Flavor in the South

January 28, 2022
Food & Drink
jason wolfe
Image courtesy of Yelp.


Nothing hits the spot quite like some good old fashioned southern BBQ. If you’re like most people below the Mason Dixon line, you’ve probably got some strong opinions about what exactly makes good southern BBQ, well… good. Is it the brine? The dry rub? The smoke? The sauce? No matter what camp you’re in, there are plenty of restaurants in Raleigh serving up delicious BBQ options that are sure to satisfy even the pickiest BBQ fan.

And those of you who are just visiting? Well, hold on. You’re about to experience BBQ like you’ve never experienced before!

But before you can dig into a juicy pulled pork sandwich or pair your perfectly seasoned brisket with some classic coleslaw or greens, you’ve got to find your destination. And that’s why you’re here reading this article about the best BBQ restaurants in Raleigh, isn’t it?

You probably searched for something like “Raleigh BBQ restaurants” or “BBQ restaurants Raleigh” or maybe even “the BEST barbecue restaurants in Raleigh.” Well don’t worry you came to the right place. You didn’t really think Google would lead you askew or astray did you? 

Of course this is the place you are looking for! If you live in Raleigh, are just there for an afternoon, or have a friend or loved one who is there. 

This list will feature some of the best BBQ restaurants in Raleigh for a lunch or dinner you can find. This list features some locally-owned and operated BBQ restaurants brought to you by some of our awesome Raleighians and some pit BBQ restaurants that will knock your socks off. 

Either way, we’ve tracked down some of the best reviewed restaurants on the internet in Raleigh. There is sure to be something on the list that piques your interest, or at least piques your appetite. And whenever you find what it is we provide links to every restaurant's menu so you can decide what you want ahead of time. We’ll even let you know if one of the BBQ restaurants in Raleigh accept our quality and convenient digital GiftYa gift cards.

But wait, you don’t know what a GiftYa is? Here’s a quick refresher!

As a reminder, a GiftYa digital gift card is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. A gift card that functions just like every other gift card. It lets you make purchases at a participating bar, restaurant, or store up to the face value of the gift card. However, unlike traditional gift cards. GiftYa digital gift cards come with a few additional benefits. 

For instance, unlike a traditional gift card, a GiftYa can be sent straight to your phone in seconds. That way you don’t need to deliver a GiftYa in person if you want to give it as a gift. You don’t even have to go to a store in person if you want one for yourself. You can just visit the GiftYa website and pick one up today.

Since GiftYa cards are sent directly to your phone you never have to worry about misplacing them or forgetting to take them with you. In most instances you are going to have your phone with you so in most instances you will have your GiftYa cards right in your pocket. In addition to that, your GiftYa also keeps track of the balance for you. Which is so much nicer than having to try to remember how much was left over on those antiquated plastic gift cards. I mean you can’t write it on them very easily so I’m not really sure what you’re supposed to do if you don’t use the total value the first time? Just guess the next time you are in town? 

Big Mikes BBQ (aka Brew n’ Que)

Bite Into Local Pasture-Raised BBQ and Sip Local Craft Beer at One of the Best BBQ Spots in Raleigh

1222 NW Maynard Rd | Cary | brewnquenc.com

If you’re looking for big barbecue flavor, it’s hard to do better than Big Mike’s. The laid back atmosphere will have you feeling right at home, and their menu will have you ordering extras to take home when you leave. Whether you’re a fan of pork, brisket, or chicken, there is definitely something on the menu for you. According to some patrons the meat is so tender and juicy no extra sauce is required. 

Round out your meal with one of their classic sides like baked beans or corn bread, or try something more unique – Big Mike’s is known for their unique (smoked) take on potato salad, so make sure you include it in your order.

Plus, Big Mike’s Brew n’ Cue is all about the local Raleigh scene. The pasture-raised meat they serve up comes from local farms, and the titular Brews that the Brew n’ Cue has on tap come from local craft breweries. Which means if you’re looking for a taste of Raleigh, you can get it here.

“You'd think it would be easy to find good bbq in North Carolina, but we had a heck of a time doing so. We stumbled upon Big Mikes and are so glad we can share a very positive review. Everything we tried was bold and flavorful, delicious bbq from start to finish!” - Yelp Review 

Big Mikes BBQ is one of the thousands of restaurants that accepts digital GiftYa gift cards but it is also among one of the highest rated BBQ restaurants in Raleigh!

The Pit

Authentic Whole-Hog, Pit-Cooked BBQ and Soul Food

328 W Davie St | Warehouse District | thepit-raleigh.com

North Carolina’s barbecue is legendary – people travel from all over the country to get a taste of real southern BBQ, and that’s exactly what you’ll find at The Pit. Located downtown in Raleigh’s Warehouse District, The Pit proudly upholds Raleigh’s tradition of serving delicious, whole-hog, pit-cooked BBQ that the whole family can enjoy.

(And we do mean the whole family – The Pit has an outdoor seating area, and you’re welcome to bring your dogs along, as long as they like BBQ too!)

You’ll want to take a good look at The Pit’s menu before placing your order – in addition to classic BBQ staples like chicken, brisket, and pork you can find less common offerings like turkey. Pair that with deviled eggs, BBQ soul rolls, cole slaw, mac and cheese, greens, or any of The Pit’s other mouthwatering sides and you’ve got a truly excellent meal.

“Tried this place for the first time with my Husband and the food was AH-MAZING!! Complimentary hot biscuits and hush puppies with whipped butter. We shared the deviled eggs as an appetizer - very tasty.” - Yelp Review

Get a GiftYa digital gift card for yourself or a loved one to The Pit and enjoy one of the best BBQ restaurantsS in Raleigh by following the link!

The Redneck BBQ Lab

Big Believers in God, Family, Country, and Good Ol’ Fashioned BBQ

12101-b NC Hwy 210 | Benson | theredneckbbqlab.com

Some might argue that making excellent BBQ is an art, but the folks over at The Redneck BBQ Lab have it down to a science. Their formula for serving up one of the best BBQ restaurant experiences in Raleigh? Simple: God, Family, Country, and good ol’ fashioned southern BBQ.

If you live in Raleigh and haven’t heard of The Redneck BBQ Lab, that’s because it definitely fits the definition of a hidden treasure. Hidden in a gas station at the 319 exit on I-40, The Redneck BBQ Lab might just be the best-kept secret in Raleigh’s food scene. Locals love the pulled pork sandwich, Brunswick stew, jalapeno mac, burnt tips, and beef ribs, so make sure when you visit, you visit hungry.

“We drove 45 minutes to take my in-laws to The Redneck BBQ Lab for dinner. My in-laws were here for the holidays and wanted to get barbecue. I told them if we were getting barbecue, we would get GOOD barbecue. ” - Yelp Review 

The Redneck BBQ Lab doesn’t offer GiftYa digital gift cards just yet, but check back soon because we are always adding BBQ restaurantsS and attractions in Raleigh!

Texas Pit BBQ

Mouthwater BBQ Smoked with Mesquite Wood Shipped in From Texas in a Customized Smoker

546 W Church Rd | Angier | texaspit-bbq.business.site

If North Carolina-style BBQ isn’t your thing, get a taste of the Lonestar State at Texas Pit BBQ instead. This place is the real deal, as far as Texas BBQ goes – they even have mesquite shipped in from Texas for their customized smokers to give their meat a truly authentic Texas BBQ taste.

To stay up to date on the latest news from Texas Pit BBQ, be sure to follow them on Facebook. Their website is, shall we say, minimalist, but like so many of us they’re all over social media.

“Sooooo delicious!! The brisket was my fav mixed with the potato casserole!! Loved the fried okra! So much flavor, and big portions. The wings were great and the ribs were too! Awesome bbq sauce options in spicy and mild. Super friendly service as well!” - Yelp Review 

Texas Pit BBQ is one of the best BBQ restaurants in Raleigh and they accept GiftYa digital gift cards and you can grab one for you or someone on your list by following the link!

Ole Time Barbeque

Serving Raleigh BBQ for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Tailgates, and Everything In Between for 28 Years and Counting

6309 Hillsborough St | Bashford Ridge | oletimebarbeque.com

How much barbecue do you have to serve before you’re recognized as one of the all-time greats in the Raleigh BBQ restaurant scene? We’re not sure, but Ole Time Barbeque prides itself on having served over a million pounds of barbecue over the years, and we sure think that fits the bill!

This family owned and operated shop has been serving BBQ since 1993 and was truly a dream come true for founder Jerry, who used to talk about opening a BBQ shop with his grandfather. Don’t miss out on their awesome BBQ sauce!

“Hands down best bbq in North Carolina. If you love vinegary eastern Nc style bbq, cooked overnight, with a sweet tea and a plate of hush puppies, this is the place for it. Can't recommend enough” - Yelp Review 

You can’t get a digital GiftYa gift card to Ole Time Barbeque at the moment but be sure to check back soon as new BBQ restaurants and locations in Raleigh are added all the time!

There you have it! All the best rated BBQ restaurants you can find in Raleigh. Raleigh is a major hub of business and commerce so it isn’t easy to narrow down the list of great BBQ restaurants to only what can fit in this post. But just from what we gathered for you here today you’ll be sure to find a location that's convenient for you with plenty of excellent options. 

And remember, if you or someone you love is out in Raleigh, we marked off which BBQ restaurants accept convenient GiftYa digital gift cards. And you can use them at any of the locations we indicated on this list today. But even if you choose a BBQ restaurant that doesn’t accept GiftYa, you’ll be sure to find authentic southern barbecue. Raleigh and GiftYa definitely have something to offer.


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