Best BBQ in St. Louis

13 Essential BBQ Joints in St. Louis That Serve Up the Best of the Midwest

Distinguished 'que from the 'Gateway to the West'

St. Louis stands proudly as a city synonymous with the smoky allure of barbecue — a tradition steeped in a rich history that has evolved to define its culinary landscape. With a style characterized by its unique blend of Midwestern and Southern techniques, St. Louis barbecue is a delicious study in diversity. Its signature approach involves grilling meats slathered in a sweet, sticky sauce, with the iconic St. Louis-style ribs — spare ribs trimmed into a rectangle that's known as a St. Louis cut — taking center stage. This city's love affair with barbecue began in the early 20th century, flourishing with the rise of the local meat-packing industry and a cultural melting pot that infused a variety of flavors into its BBQ scene.

Over the years, St. Louis has carved out a barbecue identity all its own, distinct from the dry rubs of Memphis BBQ or the vinegar-based sauces of North Carolina. The region's barbecue joints have become neighborhood staples and cultural landmarks, each with their own loyal followings. From the hickory-smoked havens in the heart of the city to the family-run pits dotting the outskirts, these establishments are the keepers of the flame in St. Louis' storied barbecue narrative. In this article, we'll take a tour of the 13 best barbecue joints that not only serve up mouthwatering meats but also embody the heart and soul of St. Louis' barbecue heritage.

READ MORE: The 15 Best BBQ Joints in South Carolina That Showcase the State's Smoky Meats and Flavorful Sauces