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How Many Kinds of BBQ Are There In Louisville?

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While Kentucky has several idiosyncratic barbecue styles (Hello, Owensboro mutton lovers!), Louisville lacks its own signature style. There are many pits, pulled smokers and other purveyors of "BBQ" around Metro Louisville offering everything from Kansas City to Western Kentucky to "Texican" style. Eater put together several of Louisville's standout slingers of pork, chicken and even tofu—all smoky, savory and delicious. Any snipes, suggestions or opinions on what "Louisville style" barbecue might be would be appreciated, and best left in the comments.


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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Feast BBQ

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Ryan Rogers is only in his twenties, but is producing some of the finest barbecue in the Metro. Feast takes no reservations, food and seating is "first come, first served," and people can't seem to get enough. Many fine meats and sauces are available, but Crispy Pork Cakes and BBQ tofu are exceptional.

Rubbies Barbeque and Brew

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The Courier-Journal's Marty Rosen believes Rubbies' "combination of slow smoke, house-made sauce and a vigorous house-made rub turns out barbecue that easily holds its own against the city’s most prominent barbecue specialists." There's also a Bloody Mary made with BBQ sauce and rub spices, garnished with lime, celery and "a couple of fresh, hot, skewered smoked wings."

Doc Crow's Southern Smokehouse & Raw Bar

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BBQ expert Wes Berry says Doc Crow's is "the swankiest restaurant featuring smoked meats" he's ever visited. Just down from the Yum! Center in an old bourbon warehouse, Doc Crow's has "[t]ender, moderately smoked meats and quality sides developed by classically trained chefs."

Smoketown USA

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The 19th century Germantown/Smoketown buildings originally housed a grocery, feed and seed store and a livery. Now they're home to Eric David Gould's "unique gathering place" serving up dry-rubbed meats with a glaze of spicy sauce and sides including "soul greens."

Bootleg Bar-B-Que

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Bootleg says that for more than two decades it has been "a true Kentucky original with lean and tender pit-smoked barbecue, made-from-scratch side dishes, desserts, sauces, and Louisville’s best wings."

Rob-a-Que

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"I like pig butts and I cannot lie" reads the counter front at Rob-a-Que, award-winning smoker Rob Bailey's first foray into table service. He's selling smoked brisket, pork and chicken, St. Louis-style ribs, smoked wings, smoked meat loaf and more out of a refurbished former Subway across the street from the Vanhoose Education Center.

Frankfort Avenue Beer Depot

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The FABD smokehouse folk proudly point out that 610 Magnolia's Edward Lee endorsed them with this quote: "For those looking for good ole BBQ, Frankfort Ave Beer Depot is the best. A dingy watering hole but the food is great and they usually have ping pong tables set up in the patio."

Momma's Mustard, Pickles, & BBQ

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Claiming that "in true Kentucky style" horse race winnings enabled the purchase of a food truck and smoker, Chad Cooley and partner Chef Jamie Givan "traveled to Kansas City" for "detailed and exhaustive training with The Baron Of BBQ himself, Chef Paul Kirk, winner of 7 WORLD BARBECUE CHAMPIONSHIPS." Their Kansas City style BBQ has been a hit since it opened in St. Matthews.

Atypical Man BBQ

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Marty Rosen enjoyed Atypical's "charmingly unfinished feel" and "idiosyncratic sauces" such as Derby City Bourbon Sauce ("smoke and spice, and notes of caramel and vanilla") along with its ribs ("juicy, firm to the bite and pleasantly smoky"), chicken ("nearly melted in the mouth") and brisket ("matched intriguingly with a Texas style coffee sauce that had espresso notes, a buttery finish and a vinegar tang").

Mark's Feed Store

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Voted “BEST OF LOUISVILLE“ by Louisville Magazine's readers "no less than 9 times." They have a mustard-based sauce available for those nostalgic for South Carolina.

Texican's Barbeque Pit

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Author Wes Berry, in The Kentucky Barbecue Book, says: "I love this place—one of the best barbecue restaurants in Kentucky." Berry raves about the brisket, the pulled pork, the spicy Louisiana-style hot links and the homemade sides.

Feast BBQ

Ryan Rogers is only in his twenties, but is producing some of the finest barbecue in the Metro. Feast takes no reservations, food and seating is "first come, first served," and people can't seem to get enough. Many fine meats and sauces are available, but Crispy Pork Cakes and BBQ tofu are exceptional.

Rubbies Barbeque and Brew

The Courier-Journal's Marty Rosen believes Rubbies' "combination of slow smoke, house-made sauce and a vigorous house-made rub turns out barbecue that easily holds its own against the city’s most prominent barbecue specialists." There's also a Bloody Mary made with BBQ sauce and rub spices, garnished with lime, celery and "a couple of fresh, hot, skewered smoked wings."

Doc Crow's Southern Smokehouse & Raw Bar

BBQ expert Wes Berry says Doc Crow's is "the swankiest restaurant featuring smoked meats" he's ever visited. Just down from the Yum! Center in an old bourbon warehouse, Doc Crow's has "[t]ender, moderately smoked meats and quality sides developed by classically trained chefs."

Smoketown USA

The 19th century Germantown/Smoketown buildings originally housed a grocery, feed and seed store and a livery. Now they're home to Eric David Gould's "unique gathering place" serving up dry-rubbed meats with a glaze of spicy sauce and sides including "soul greens."

Bootleg Bar-B-Que

Bootleg says that for more than two decades it has been "a true Kentucky original with lean and tender pit-smoked barbecue, made-from-scratch side dishes, desserts, sauces, and Louisville’s best wings."

Rob-a-Que

"I like pig butts and I cannot lie" reads the counter front at Rob-a-Que, award-winning smoker Rob Bailey's first foray into table service. He's selling smoked brisket, pork and chicken, St. Louis-style ribs, smoked wings, smoked meat loaf and more out of a refurbished former Subway across the street from the Vanhoose Education Center.

Frankfort Avenue Beer Depot

The FABD smokehouse folk proudly point out that 610 Magnolia's Edward Lee endorsed them with this quote: "For those looking for good ole BBQ, Frankfort Ave Beer Depot is the best. A dingy watering hole but the food is great and they usually have ping pong tables set up in the patio."

Momma's Mustard, Pickles, & BBQ

Claiming that "in true Kentucky style" horse race winnings enabled the purchase of a food truck and smoker, Chad Cooley and partner Chef Jamie Givan "traveled to Kansas City" for "detailed and exhaustive training with The Baron Of BBQ himself, Chef Paul Kirk, winner of 7 WORLD BARBECUE CHAMPIONSHIPS." Their Kansas City style BBQ has been a hit since it opened in St. Matthews.

Atypical Man BBQ

Marty Rosen enjoyed Atypical's "charmingly unfinished feel" and "idiosyncratic sauces" such as Derby City Bourbon Sauce ("smoke and spice, and notes of caramel and vanilla") along with its ribs ("juicy, firm to the bite and pleasantly smoky"), chicken ("nearly melted in the mouth") and brisket ("matched intriguingly with a Texas style coffee sauce that had espresso notes, a buttery finish and a vinegar tang").

Mark's Feed Store

Voted “BEST OF LOUISVILLE“ by Louisville Magazine's readers "no less than 9 times." They have a mustard-based sauce available for those nostalgic for South Carolina.

Texican's Barbeque Pit

Author Wes Berry, in The Kentucky Barbecue Book, says: "I love this place—one of the best barbecue restaurants in Kentucky." Berry raves about the brisket, the pulled pork, the spicy Louisiana-style hot links and the homemade sides.