Great BBQ Restaurants In CT: A Summer Wish List

Elizabeth Georgian

The summertime heat makes me crave a meaty backyard barbecue with crunchy roasted corn on the side and finished off with a sweet slice of juicy watermelon. But where can you get a meal like this if you don’t feel like cooking at home? Mix summertime with the great eats in Connecticut, and you get a barbecue wish list extraordinaire with several spots ranking high on CTbites’ favorites list and others that we really need to try.

Bear’s Smokehouse BBQ: Hartford, Windsor

Winning an abundance of awards and accolades for their delicious food, Bear’s BBQ simply knocks it out of the park for barbecue in Connecticut. Owned by a Southern transplant to CT and professional competitive eater, Jamie “The Bear” McDonald has accomplished what he set out to do by bringing delicious, authentic Kansas City style barbecue to local diners. On the menu, baby back ribs, pulled pork sandwiches, kielbasa, and beef brisket incorporate homemade rubs and sauces to take the flavors up a notch.

Hoodoo Brown BBQ: Ridgefield

Hoodoo Brown BBQ is perhaps number one on my local foodie wish list. CTBites already loves Hoodoo Brown for its massive meat plates and classic down home Texas BBQ. Don’t forget to wash it down with moonshine or sweet tea to really transport you to the South. 

Bar-BQ: Stamford

For a barbecue fix closer to NYC, Bar-BQ offers pork belly, smoked chicken, beef brisket, and smoked turkey. Bar-BQ takes the best food of the deep South and cooks it up into sharing dishes and tasting plates for a hearty, try-everything kind of meal. 

Wire Mill Saloon & BBQ: Redding

Another CTbites favorite for smoky, juicy barbecued meat is the Wire Mill Saloon & BBQ. Everything is homemade: meats are smoked on-site, sausages are made by the chefs, and the stew is a family recipe. You really can’t go wrong with that! The specialties at Wire Mill include pulled pork, beef brisket, chicken, and smoked sausage.

Walrus + Carpenter: Bridgeport

This lovely gastropub and smokehouse has tons of beers on tap and a killer snacks and meat entrée menu. Walrus + Carpenter has flavorful bites that go great with a cold beer such as smoked pork nuggets, maple pork belly, smoked pork tacos, and more. The daily special dishes are also worth a visit, even when coming from across the state.

Uncle Willy’s Smokehouse: West Haven, Seymour

For more than 20 years, Uncle Willy’s Smokehouse has been serving meats cooked in a wood smoked pit barbecue and topped with homemade sauces. Big ol’ rib dinners served with corn bread, mac n’ cheese, and baked apples is seriously good and will definitely require a wet wipe for cleanup.

The Stand: Branford

We told you about this delicious spot for Southern BBQ pretty recently, but The Stand can’t be missed. Located in a renovated gas station, you’ll find barbecued meat and sides to fuel you up. Meals are served rather creatively, on a platter, in a bowl with backyard grown veg, or on a sandwich. Delicious sides change based on what they are cooking that day, but the watermelon salad, if available, certainly shouldn’t be skipped. The Stand also offers up a barbecued brunch if you really can’t get enough BBQ this summer.

Big Kelly’s BBQ: Groton

Located in my neck of the woods, Big Kelly’s BBQ is a fabulous option for barbecued Southern soul food. With beef smoked for at least 12 hours, you know it’s gonna be good. Big Kelly’s is locally known for their dipped chicken, which makes the chicken really juicy and extra tasty. They also serve up Southern sides like brazed collard greens, cole slaw, and mashed potatoes with gravy. Big Kelly’s gets our seal of approval.

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que: Stamford

This Tri-State area chain offers live music to accompany brisket, poutine, and a huge number of rib options. Corn bread and homemade sides, like mac & cheese and potato salad, finish off the gargantuan meal. Dinosaur Bar-B-Que is in a cool, refurbished factory, making this an awesome all around option.

Learn More:

Bear’s BBQ, 2152 Poquonock Ave., Windsor,

Hoodoo Brown BBQ, 967 Ethan Allen Hwy., Ridgefield,

Bar-BQ, 15 Clark St., Stamford,

Wire Mill Saloon & BBQ, 12 Old Mill Rd., West Redding,

Walrus + Carpenter, 2895 Fairfield Ave., Bridgeport,

Uncle Willy’s Smokehouse, 473 Saw Mill Rd., West Haven,

The Stand, 196 S Montowese St., Branford,

Big Kelly’s BBQ, Bridge Market, 118 Fort Hill Road, Groton,

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, 845 Canal St. Stamford,