5 Favorite BBQ Restaurants

Columbus has no shortage of delicious BBQ spots. But the topic of BBQ and its authenticity can be divisive. Lots of local skeptics think Columbus can’t have good BBQ (I mean, we are pretty far from the south). I’ve sat and listened to people argue over regions, styles, meat choice, wood choice, sauce and more but I’ve found a few that are finger-licking delicious and easily hold their own. Here are my 5 of my favorites

City BBQ

All The Sides

City Barbeque was born in Ohio but is now found in 7 states. Ohio alone has 20 locations. Slow-smoking (18 hour) award-winning barbeque smoked at a low temperature is what you can expect to get at City Barbeque. Every item is smoked on-site since each location has three smokers. They use local hickory wood that never gets turned off — working 24 hours a day in addition to sides and desserts made from scratch daily. City Barbeque is where I found my love of collard greens but can never pass on the corn pudding, green beans with bacon or mac & cheese. 2261 Stringtown Road Grove City OH 43123 (614) 423-3757 CityBBQ

Pecan Penny’s

Poutine Fries

Pecan Penny’s is serving up smoked BBQ Texas Style. Located in the heart of downtown, Pecan Penny’s meats are dry-rubbed with their signature spice and can be enjoyed with one of their six house-made regionally inspired BBQ sauces. My husband was a big fan of the smoked wings that had a nice crisp bite to them. I dove into a massive dish of poutine fries and didn’t even make a dent. The ambiance has a vintage rustic feel and a perfect outdoor patio space for the upcoming spring. 113 E. Main Street Columbus OH 43215 (614) 826-0750 Pecan Penny’s

Smoked on High

Bit of everything

Smoked On High located in a small historic home in the Brewery District brings classic barbeque to downtown Columbus. Once known as Buckeye Back Ribs and later Papaya BBQ, name changes haven’t affected the delicious southern style BBQ Max and his crew slow-smoke daily. Max started BBQing at the young age of 20 with roots in a food truck field driving all over the state of Ohio slinging ribs along with other southern dishes. The meat here is cooked to the point where the edges have a light, crispy, smoky bark and there is just the right amount of fat, which melts into the meat, giving it flavor without being overwhelming. 755 South High Street Columbus OH 43206 (614) 754-9711 Smoked On High

Sweet Carrot

It took me quite some time to convince the husband to hit up a spot with a name of Sweet Carrot. A die-hard meat eater, he thought Sweet Carrot was an all veggies spot. Much to his surprise, Sweet Carrot is a fast-casual spot that serves what I would describe as BBQ comfort food. Famous for being on Diner Drive-Ins & Dives but much more than fame is the food which keeps us coming back for more. BBQ meats are eaten in non-traditional ways – think on top of griddled corn cakes (gluten-free), atop a kale salad, on a bun or on top of mac-n-cheese. Sweet Carrot is not only a hit with adults but a perfect kids spot too (head there Tuesday and kids eat free with the purchase of an adult meal). Don’t leave without a signature roasted carrot and coconut oatmeal cookie. Grandview 1417 W 5th Ave Columbus OH 43212 (614) 488-7151; Polaris 2050 Polaris Pkwy Columbus OH 43240 (614) 427-1550; Dublin 7571 Sawmill Road Dublin OH 43015 (614) 362-0400 Sweet Carrot

Ray Ray’s Hog Pit

MeatSweats

You want some truly authentic barbecue; then you want Ray Ray’s Hog Pit. As you bite into meats that have been smoked low and slow for 12-16 hours, you can kick back and imagine yourself on a farm sharing a meal with friends. Pork, beef, and chicken are dry rubbed and served with sauces on the side so you can see that beautiful pink smoke ring only found in truly authentic barbecue. Having a hard time deciding (because they are all amazing), go with the newest platter – the meatsweats which includes brisket, pulled pork, jerk chicken, ribs and a hot link that I’ve declared the best sausage I’ve ever eaten. Meant to be consumed by one person but can easily be shared between two (although in our family, with Ray Rays there is no sharing). Clintonville (Ace of Cups) 2619 N. High Street Columbus OH 43202 (614) 753-1191; Franklinton (Land-Grant Brewing) 424 Town St Columbus OH 43215 (614) 404-9742; Westerville (Walkup and Drive Thru) 5755 Maxton Road Westerville OH 43082 (614) 329-6654 Ray Ray’s Hog Pit

Regardless of your favorite spot, BBQ is best when you bring your appetite and friends, so you can order lots of different items from the menu and get a taste of each of them. Have a favorite BBQ restaurant that I didn’t mention? Leave it in the comments so I can add it to my list.

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