Monday, April 11, 2011

Best BBQ in Utah

Best BBQ in Utah 
 - Revised 25 Jan 2015

Check out our OTHER FOOD REVIEWS at  

Especially see "Best Restaurants in Utah" at:

We heartily endorse a similar site that rates the best BBQ in Texas:

We've tried EVERY BBQ place in Utah from Utah County northward, except a couple in Ogden, though we've had most there.  And there are more in Utah than you think!

As the editor, I coordinated it. (My old stomping grounds was Alabama. My first hometown was Memphis, now home to 200 BBQ places and the world's BBQ mecca.

BBQ places come and go like the wind in Utah, but these are the best:

Best 6 overall BBQ places:
Note that all these places have good and bad items, but these have a few great items to make them "best in state:" Where you will disagree with this list is if you go and BBQ on that particular day is not up to par - which happens A LOT. Most of the best BBQ places are sadly inconsistent in their tenderness and even sometimes their flavor.

1. Big Bones BBQ, Spanish Fork (best St. Louis Ribs, bone-in chicken, creamed corn, fries, top 3  baked beans plus other great things)
2. Rib City, American Fork (best baby back ribs, tied for best pulled pork, best baked beans)
3. SmokeNBones, Bountiful
5. Famous Dave's, multiple locations
6.. Kaisers, Salt Lake City

The Next Best 3 overall BBQ places:
7. Joe Morley's, Midvale (second best baby back ribs: only the Sugar House Ribs)
8. Wallaby's, LIndon (4th best baby back ribs, best house soft drink).
9. Molly's, Provo

Note: these are the winners in specific food items - We've tried all of these several times to carefully rate them:


1.  Beef brisket - WET END ONLY. (All dry end is tough and we don't rate it - they all get a C or D.) But wet end rates between B- and A, depending on certain factors.

( Much better when freshly out of the smoker - true of all the Top 4 below especially)

#1 Big Bones. In spring of 2013 it was best, but a shorter cut method is now used, not quite as good in our opinion. But still is good. A-

#2 Wallaby's A-

#3 Cafe 300. When they serve it, the brisket is good.

#4 Goodwood. B- to B+ due to tougher to more tender parts of the wet end brisket.

#5: Mollies, Provo: B+ (2nd time: C+) (B+ if made that day and only if it's off the thicker "butter end."

#6 Bam Bam, Provo. B- to B+ due to what parts you eat of the wet end brisket.

Not so good wet end:
Smokin' Apple, Lindon:  Now served only as chopped beef, with wet and dry together. C (At one time it was an A- when served alone as wet end brisket.)

Dickie's BBQ, national chain. Ditto.

Kaiser's, SLC. Grade B (but they only cook dry end). So this is the best dry end brisket in the state.

2. Pulled pork
#1 tie: Big Bones, Spanish Fork: A (with sauce: A)

#1 Cafe 300, Provo: A (with sauce: C).

#1 tie: Rib City, American Fork: A

#4: Smokin' Apple: A- (2nd time: B+.  The high grades come only when you get it with sauce.  W/o sauce, it's a B- -).

#5:  Goodwood, B+.

#6: Molly's: B+

#7:  Kaiser's: B+ (but only with pork "skin" still attached, and best served as a sandwich. Without the skin it's  B-).

#8: Sugarhouse: B (if only with sauce, otherwise, C+).

#9: Dickie's: B (w/ or w/o sauce, same grade).

#10 Sean's Smokehouse C without sauce

3.  BBQ chicken.  

 #1 Big Bones, Spanish Fork

#1 tie: Charlie Boy's (catering only)

#3: Famous Daves BBQ chicken: A-.

#4. Molly's: B+.

#5. Five Star BBQ:  B+ .

#6. Wild Mustang, Orem, fire-grilled chicken (very similar to Famous Dave's). B+  The grilled chicken is better than the BBQ chicken there because their sauce is not the best. 

#7: Famous Dave's Roast Chicken: B+.

 #8: Sugarhouse: B+ (sometimes it's a B),

#9. Goodwood. B+

#10 Rib City: B

#11. Seans Smokehouse. C+

4.  Best 11 Baby Back Ribs of 34 tested in Utah. (another group of places use full-size ribs, below).

#1  Charlie Boys (catering co. - 801-427-0600)

#2:  Rib City, American Fork: A.

#3, Wallaby's, Lindon: B++ Only get their raspberry sauce one. Next best are chipotle sauce and original sauce cooked ribs, both rating a B+.

#4. Kaiser's, SLC B+. (Some bites are tender, some are not.)

#5. Milagro's Mexican in Orem (not smoked, but marinated for 2 days in citrus juices then oven-cooked with wonderful candy-like glaze, similar to top-rated Rib City for baby backs. THIS COULD BE MANY PEOPLE'S FAVORITE - WE HAD #1 VOTES FOR THIS ALSO.

#6: Joe Morley's Sugar-backed ribs (not their reg. flavor), Midvale: B+

#7. Eating Establishment, Park City (non-BBQ place and not smoked ribs, braised with house BBQ sauce). B/B+

#8: Smokin' Apple, Pleasant Grove: B/B+ plain or glazed

Down into the merely good ribs, rating in the B's, are:

#9. Seans Smokehouse, Saratoga Springs B-

#10. Boneyard, Park City (with rootbeer BBQ sauce; this is not a BBQ place; not smoked) B

#11. Bistro 412, Park City (not a BBQ place; not smoked) B

 next 16 best  Baby Back Ribs  The "second team" gathered B's, C's, and D's.
They are in order:
Sizzler: B
Texas Roadhouse.  "Is 5% better than Chiles" rates one reviewer and agreed upon by others.
Chilie's Dry rub ribs (better than their sauce ribs)
Chile's original ribs
Five Star B-.
Molly's B- -
Yaki Yami's, Park City (non-smoked, with jalapeno glaze and chocolate teriyaki sauce; not enough glaze but good idea) C
Dalton's, Payson, non-smoked
LaPuente's, SLC, Mexican place, non-smoked.
Tony Roma's SLC C-.
Moore's (Ogden).
Ruby River: D+
TGI Friday
Outpost, SLC:  D+.

Not rated in order, but decent, is Big Al's in Provo and Capt Len's in Alpine, which were tested after the above were tested and rated.

[Historical note: Now defunct, good place: Buffalo Joes, SLC: B++. Note: A number of other BBQ places have come and gone that we've tested, but none were any higher than a B+.  Soul and Bones B- was our fave of the now defunct places.

5. Best 4 Full-size (St. Louis style) Ribs. (all the top 4 can be best on any given day; but taking into account consistency, the following is our rating:)

#1 Big Bones, Spanish Fork A

#2 Cafe 300, Provo (when they serve them): A

#3 Wild Mustang (ask for basil leaves on top). must be freshly cooked to be an A-

#4 Kaisers, SLC (only when freshly smoked and hot)

The next 7best Full-size (St. Louis style) Ribs, in order: (B's through D's)

#5: Smoke N Bones, Bountiful B+

#6. Sugarhuse BBQ: B+ (but only if hot)

#7. Rib City. B (C for tough texture, A- for flavor that has very similar candy glaze sauce to Sonny Bryan's of Texas, formerly of Utah, which was in the top 2 till they left the state).

#8: Pat's: B (when freshly cooked and with sauce; it's a B+, otherwise: B-)

#9 Famous Dave's regular: B (2nd time a B-, tough) (don't get "80 Proof ribs", which scored slightly lower at B- both times).

#10 Spencer's, Park City (at Farmer's market and catering only) B

Rated D:

 #11 Dickie's (national chain from TX, throughout Utah D+.

#12: Outback::D (a year earlier they rated a B+; they're either inconsistent or have gone downhill)

6.  Beef Ribs.  

1: Goodwood.A

2. Pats  Barbecue: A. UPDATE: HE'S QUIT SERVING THESE! (they were a mind-blower, available only on Fridays, with some left over for Saturdays). If they served it again, this would be #1.

#3: Sizzlers: B (seasonal special, all you can eat: $7.99 in 2013)

7.  Catfish. 

See the Fish and Chips post UNDER 'BEST FISH AND CHIPS IN UTAH" for details.

8.  Steaks. 

(We have a separate section for Best Steaks in Utah, but for a BBQ place . . . )

#1:  BBQ place steak is the ribeye at Goodwood BBQ. Their own seasoning as they cook it helps to make it better than most.

9.  Pork Steak.  
Kaiser's Bar B-Q: B++

10.  Fried Chicken.  (BBQ places)

 1) Big Bones, Spanish Fork,
2) Mama's Southern Plantation: B.  (not truly a BBQ place, as they oven-cook their ribs, etc, but it's a darn good southern food place!)

(See our site under Best Fried Chicken in Utah for the very best places that have it, beyond BBQ places.)

11.  Smoked Sausage:  

#1 Big Bones, Spanish Fork. B-   Most places are pretty bad.

12.  Braised Beef: 

Molly's: B- (only place found)

13. Smoked Turkey

Seans Smokehouse in Saratoga Springs::B+ (great, fresh turkey flavor but non-existant smoke flavor).  .

# 1. Wallaby's. Pomegranite Limeade. A

  1. Mac and cheese.  

We've had Mac and Cheese at over 3 dozen places. These are the Top 9 (Iist includes non BBQ places):

 #1. Ruth's Diner, SLC

#2. Red Robbin, national burger chain, served with pork riblets. A

#3  Famous Dave's: B++ (jjalapeno, 4 cheeses, and corn)

#4 Smokin' Apple B+

#5  Communal, Provo. B+ (smoked cheese, peas, ham)

#6. Big Bones BBQ, Spanish Fork. B+

#7 O'Shuck's Pub and Grill, Park City (west side location only) B+

#8. Pizzaria 712, Orem, uses great scratch-made mornay sauce and cheese B+

#9. Golden Corral B+

#10. Purple Sage, Park City B

We've tested it at every BBQ place (and numerous other restaurants) in Utah - these are the only really good ones we've found.

2. Best mashed potatoes (and gravy)
#1 (tie) (non-BBQ place: Communal Yukon Gold mashed potatoes (no gravy) A+

#1 (tie) Sugarhouse BBQ, bordering Sugarhouse, SLC. The gravy is what makes this amazing: A+  

#1 (tie) Cafe 300, Provo A+ (only if turkey gravy - must request it) A

#1 (tie) Molly's, Provo, w/Turkey gravy: A.  Tuesday is only day they serve their fresh turkey gravy - CURRENT DISCONTINUED WITH TURKEY GRAVY.  A

#5: Pat's, Get meat-gravy only! A.  (They also have regular mashed potatoes & gravy that aren't in the same ballpark -- a B- -). 

#6: Five Star, Orem:  A (herbed).   

#7: Ruby River Steakhouse: A- (mashed & cheese), 

#8 Wallabys. B++

#9:  Goodwood, with cream gravy: B++

#10 (non BBQ place:) Golden Corral B +

#11: Famous Dave's Garlic mashed: B+

#12: Smokin' Apple, Lindon: B (garlic mashed)

#13: Smokehouse Burgers and BBQ, Orem: B 

#14: Joe Morley's: B

(Notable but now defunct: Buffalo Joes, SLC: A- (with sausage gravy).   

15. Sonny Bryan's, SLC: B

4. Baked beans

1. Rib City, AF: A

2. Pats A-

3. Big Bones, Spanish Fork A -

#4: Famous Dave's: A- 

#5. Smokin' apple B+/A-

#6: Sean's Smokehouse: B+

#7: Molly's: B+

#8: Joe Morley's: B+

#9: Sugarhouse: B. 

Others were all B- or lower (Lon's, Cedar City: B-, for example, and others)

5. Carrots.  

Molley's, Provo: A+ (2nd time: B+)  (not typical BBQ fare; giving it good flavor is the fact it is served with wine sauce)

6.  Sweet Potatoes.  

#1 tie: Goodwood: A-.  

#1 tie: non BBQ place: Station 22, Provo (not really a BBQ place), fried and seasoned wedges A -

#3:  Mollys.  B+ (we assume they're cooked with skins off; it takes that way; so we believe it could be better if the flavor weren't boiled away with the skins off when cooked)

7. Yams (similar to sweet potatoes). 

Mama's Southern Plantation, Sandy. A+ Incredible!

8.  Corn.  

#1 Black Sheep (on cob)

#2 Big Bones (creamed corn, when available)

#3 Smokin' Apple (creamed):  B+

#4  Famous Dave's (creamed): B+

9.  Onion Rings.  

#1 Station 22, Provo: B+ (non BBQ place)

#2 Famous Dave's: B+

(speaking of onion, at Milagro's Mexican Grill in Orem is the honey-infused onion: an A-, which comes as your requested side to any meal). Also check them out at Tommy's Burgers on 100 North in Provo)

10.  Green Beans.  

#1. Famous Dave's, national chain: A-

#2   Dickies, national chain A-

#3: Molly's, Provo: B+

#4 Sonny Bryan's, regional chain: B

11. Cole Slaw.  

 (8 way tie: Slaw was very subjective to our testers) 

#1 (tie) Charlie Boys (catering co.)

#1 (tie) Station 22 A-

#1 (tie) Sugarhouse: A-

 #1 (tie) Rib City (first time it was an A-, our 2nd time rated it only a B -)

#1 (tie) Smokehouse BBQ, Orem A-

#1 tie: Mama's Southern Plantation is not a BBQ place - it's soul food - but the slaw is among the best A-

#1 (tie) Communal, Provo (non-BBQ place) A -

#1 (tie) Sean's in Saratoga Springs A-

Most  places are C's (Lon's in Cedar City, Chile's Southwest Grill (non BBQ place obviously, though they do serve ribs), and D's..

12. Caribbean Jerked Chicken Sandwich.  

Sugarhouse: B+ with white sauce, otherwise, a C w/o sauce)

13.  Cornbread. 

 #1: Famous Dave's: B+

#2: Sugarhouse BBQ: B

#3 Mama K's Southern Plantation

14. Dirty (seasoned) Rice.  

 Chile's (not truly a "dirty" rice): B-

15. n/a

16.  Hush Puppies

#1  Handle's Restaurant, Park City (non-BBQ place) A+

#2 Chubby's: A+

#3 Mama's Southern Plantation: A

17.  Potato Salad

 #1: Five Star, Orem: A- (might be too "pickle-ish" for some)

#2: tie Pats: B+

#2 tie Cafe 300 B+

#4: Dickie's: B (whipped and different)

#5: Joe Morley's: B

18.  Greens.  

 #1 Pat's, mustard greens: B+

#2 Mama's Southern plantation collard greens B+

19.  Red Beans & Rice

 #1 Chubby's, Pleasant Grove  A-

#2 Pat's, SLC: B+

#3 (non BBQ) Boudreau's Bistro, Payson B+

#4 (non BBQ) Popeyes, Thanksgiving Point and Hill Air Force Base, Ogden: B+

20.  Fries.  - Also see our separate rating for Fries, including all places (BBQ + others)

#1 Big Bones - order it double fried, sweet and salty, with sweet and savory seasoning! Voila!

#2 Seans Smokehouse

#3 Famous Dave's: B- (big style, not our fav usually), 

(Also great are Del Taco and, if you like fresh-cut: In and Out Burger.)

21.  Dinner roll

#1 Lion House Pantry (non BBQ place, Salt Lake City)

#2 Smokin' Apple, Lindon: B

#3  Nedra's rolls at Wild Mustang, Orem. B 

22.  Rice & meaty gravy.  

Pat's: B (order the "meaty" gravy only, not the rice and regular gravy, which is another menu item)

23.  Creole Black Beans & Rice.  

 Pat's: B+

24.  Jambalaya.  

 Pat's: B+

27.  French Bread

#1:Five Star, Orem: A- 

28.  Rice Pilaf: 

 Goodwood: B (C+ 2nd time) 

29. Clam Chowder (See our category rating for Clam Chowder, which includes BBQ + others)

#1 Eating Establishment, Park City

#1 Cafe 300 (non BBQ place, but does smoke some meats) 

#1 tie Liion House Pantry, SLC (non BBQ place)

#4 Great Steak sandwich on west Geneva Rd., Provo (served only Nov - Feb)

Historical note: Munchies in Provo had best clam chowder and best mac and cheese ever, but left the food scene in early 2012, sadly. A great place.

BEST DESSERTS - see Best Desserts in Utah


Note:  Most places have more than one sauce - we only list the ones that rated an A.

1. Big Bones, Spanish Fork (it cooks up better than anybody's, but to eat alone is not that great)

2. Pats, Salt Lake City. (Sweet Heat A-)

3.  Famous Dave's, Sandy and Ogden, national chain. (Sweet & Zesty B+)

Historical note: Out of business, but they earned an A: Papa's Southern BBQ, Provo, and Munchies, Provo.

Footnote about sauces:
We've tested a hundred or so sauces - both store brands and the top BBQ places in the U.S., flying them in when we also flew in ribs, pulled pork, and chicken from 22 different rib places in the U.S.

The best known ones are:

Corky's, Rendezvous (both in Memphis), Dreamland in Alabama, Arthur Bryant's in Kansas City, Carson's of Chicago, etc., etc.  We tested all their sauces and rubs.

Our fav rub anywhere: Interstate, Memphis.

Best sauce:  Big Bob Gibsons Red Sauce of Decatur, Alabama is the originator of this sauce  (which Five Star in Orem and many places around the country now try to emulate).

1 comment:

  1. Texas BBQ guide directs the best BBQ in Texas along with many tips
    and tricks of what to order, and where. We are especially focus on three main meats - Pork ribs, Brisket, & Sausage. texas best brisket