Nothing says good Southern food like proper barbecue. And, while we were all raised on many versions of what proper barbecue should be, Kentuckians will agree on this: Louisville has great barbecue all over town. Finger-lickin’, napkin-decimating good, truth be told.

Here’s some great barbecue around town, including local barbecue joints, restaurants that have great barbecue among their other menu items, food trucks and a couple of great chains worth mentioning.

Momma’s Mustard, Pickles & BBQ

102 Bauer Ave., Louisville, KY 40207 • (502) 938-MAMA 
119 South Hurstbourne Pkwy., Louisville, KY 40222 • (502) 290-7998
Hours: Monday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Though this BBQ hails from Kansas City, Louisvillians have taken them under their proverbial wing and accepted them. Speaking of wings, the wings from Momma’s are probably the most popular thing on the menu, made with just a dry rub and no sauce — they are addictive! This is Kansas City-style BBQ, which basically means slow-smoked meat covered in a tomato-based sweet sauce. In addition to their meats and chicken wings, Momma’s is known for their burnt ends, homemade mustard and pickles. As for the mustard, you can’t leave the place without buying a jar. Catering and take-out are also available.

Jucy’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Q

7626 LaGrange Road, Pewee Valley, KY 40056 • (502) 241-5829
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Closed Sunday.

Jucy’s is an icon here in the Louisville community. Located in Pewee Valley, they have good brisket, smoked pork tenderloin, great sides and really good desserts, especially their homemade pies. Mark on your calendar that Monday nights are “All You Can Eat Ribs” night. They cater so many events in Louisville, you probably have eaten Jucy’s food without ever setting foot in their restaurant. They do big and small catering jobs, tailgating, box lunches and carry-out.

Mark’s Feed Store

11422 Shelbyville Road, Louisville, KY 40243  (502) 244-0140 
Hours: Sunday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

10316 Dixie Hwy., Louisville, KY 40272  (502) 933-7707
Hours: Sunday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

1514 Bardstown Road, Louisville, KY 40205 • (502) 458-1570
Hours: Sunday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

3827 Charlestown Road, New Albany, IN 47150 • (812) 949-7427
Hours: Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

6501 Bardstown Road, Louisville, KY 40291 • (502) 442-0808
Hours: Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Mark’s is another mainstay in Louisville, with five locations around town. They serve Eastern Kentucky-style barbecue, which is smoked and then topped with their signature sauces. If you are into sauces, this is your place, with three selections: original, red and hot. Also noteworthy are their buttermilk pies, onion straws and Birds in a Nest (chicken wings served over onion straws). Catering comes in many forms here, from just a bare-bones setting to a buffet to a full-service wedding reception. Carry out and mail delivery options are also both available.

FABD Smokehouse (aka Frankfort Avenue Beer Depot and Smokehouse)

3204 Frankfort Ave., Louisville, KY 40206 • (502) 895-5223
Hours: Monday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

You can’t miss FABD — it’s the place with all the meat smokers right on the sidewalk on Frankfort Avenue near Cannons Lane. Walkers and runners on Frankfort get a special treat when they pass all the delicious meats being smoked all day. Everything is great here, but two things to try that might seem out of the ordinary are their smoked salmon and their bean soup. Trust us on that! They have a full-service bar, carry-out and catering for any size event. They also have a great mantra: “I didn’t claw my way up the food chain just to eat vegetables.”

River Road BBQ

3017 River Road, Louisville, KY 40207 • (502) 592-7065
Hours: Monday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Located on River Road near the Water Tower, this place has huge pulled pork sandwiches and great brisket, good enough that you don’t need any sauce for it. However, they are known for their unique sauce and for their very generous portions, all at a great price point. They also have a huge local following — don’t be surprised if when driving past their River Road restaurant at any time of the day that you will see someone you know parked out front. Carry-out and catering for up to 200 are available.

Feast

116 West Main St., New Albany, IN 47150 • (812) 920-0454
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Closed Sunday and Monday.

909 East Market St., Ste. 100, Louisville, KY 40206 (502) 749-9900
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. Closed Sunday & Monday.

With two very popular locations in New Albany and NuLu, people go to Feast for so many reasons, but mainly the meat and the loaded tater tots. Also, don’t pass up their daily bourbon slushie selection, which always pairs nicely with your meal. Vegetarians and meat-eaters alike love the smoked tofu. Other popular dishes are the pork cakes, the BBQ salad and the mac n’ cheese. There is generally always a line to get in, but it moves fast and is worth the wait — they have no reservations or call-ahead seating. They offer carry-out, and you can order online for the New Albany location. Read our review here.

Shack in the Back

406 Mount Holly Road, Fairdale, KY 40118 • (502) 363-3227
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Closed Sunday.

This is another Louisville icon, set in a log cabin dating back to 1896. Besides your typical barbecue fare, they also offer revered turkey ribs and smoked bologna. Another “must try” is The Hump, a large appetizer that features “homemade chips topped with your choice of pork, brisket, bacon or chicken, tomatoes, onions, cheese, green peppers, jalapenos, sweet barbecue sauce, hot barbecue sauce, sour cream or White Lightnin’ Sauce. People love the experience and ambiance of eating here, but they do offer call-in, carry-out and drive-through service in addition to their full-service catering.

Old Hickory Pit Bar-B-Que

6106 Shepherdsville Road, Louisville, KY 40219 • (502) 968-0585
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Closed Sunday.

Old Hickory Pit serves Western Kentucky-style barbecue, and they are the only Louisville area restaurant that offers barbecued mutton (in case you were looking for that). Pork here is “as tender as your mother’s heart.” Other notable menu items include the barbecue chicken, pan-fried cornbread, the fried apples and the red velvet cake. They offer carry-out, catering and delivery for large orders.

Bootleg BBQ

9704 Old Bardstown Road, Louisville, KY 40291 • (502) 239-2722
Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Fans of Bootleg BBQ keep coming back for their ribs, potato salad and green beans (which taste just like Grandma’s). Another option that diners love is that you can order your BBQ with sauce or without, and both ways are delicious. Dine-in, order carry-out and even get your gatherings catered by this classic restaurant.

Bully BBQ

1225 N. Hwy. 393, La Grange, KY 40031 • (502) 365-7784
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Oldham County folks love Bully BBQ, which is near LaGrange and located right near Oldham County High School. Try the brisket, the ribs and the pulled pork, and don’t forget your greens! Their greens and green beans get rave reviews, and be sure to get the fried pickles (that counts as a vegetable, right?). They also have Bully Burgers, fish sandwiches and fries for those of you looking for something else to eat. There is wait service at the dine-in restaurant, with carry-out and catering also available.

Jimbo’s Bar-B-Q

801 West Kenwood Drive, Louisville, KY 40214  • (502) 375-1888
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Closed Sunday & Monday.

“The Sauce Is On The Side ‘Cuz There’s Nothing To Hide” is the mantra at Jimbo’s Bar-B-Q near Iroquois Park. It’s easy to find — it’s the restaurant with the line out the front door. All the pulled meats are great, and they use them in creative ways such as wraps and atop baked potatoes. A big customer favorite in the summer is the fried green tomatoes, and their banana pudding is also a hit. This is a neighborhood joint, so expect friendly service; they treat you just like a neighbor! Their carry-out service is great, especially on nights when you don’t know what to cook for dinner. They cater as well.

RESTAURANTS WITH GREAT BBQ (AS PART OF THEIR LARGER MENU)

There are a handful of restaurants in town that serve up great BBQ as part of their larger menu. We didn’t want to miss the chance to tell you about these great options as well.

Hammerheads

921 Swan St., Louisville, KY 40204 • (502) 365-1112
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Closed Sunday.

Yes, we know it is basically a restaurant/dive bar in the basement of a home with only about 10 tables, but food reviews here are amazing. And even though they are not a typical barbecue restaurant, their barbecue selection comes with the highest recommendations. Lamb and pork ribs, brisket (served on a slider, a pretzel bun or in a taco) and the baked beans are all the headliners here. Take your chances and go early to get a table. There are no reservations, no call-ahead seating and no catering, but there IS carry-out. Kinda makes you want to go there more to see what all the fuss is about, right?

Doc Crows

127 West Main St., Louisville, KY 40202 • (502) 587-1626
Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Beef brisket tacos, lima beans, jalapeno rings … not your typical barbecue fare, but the tastes are so familiar and good that we keep coming back for more. Don’t miss the Smokehouse Sampler or the Baby Back Ribs. Their barbecue selections cover all areas of the map, from St. Louis to good Southern pork BBQ — all are delectable and made with love. Doc Crows is located in a beautiful renovated space on Whiskey Row downtown. Dining in is the first priority here, but they do offer carry-out and they take reservations as well.

502 Cafe

1923 S. Fourth St., Louisville, KY 40208 • (502) 996-7636
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 a.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m. to 4 a.m.

Fresh off their one year anniversary on June 11, this was a former food truck that moved into a bricks-and-mortar establishment near the University of Louisville. We reviewed this last summer and loved everything we ate. The dry rub that owner Chris Williams took six years to fine tune is definitely perfect, and we loved it on the turkey, the pork and the brisket. The sleeper hit of the menu is Pitmaster Beans with three different kinds of beans and smoked meat. They kept the food truck, which they bring out to tailgate for University of Louisville football games, and you can eat at the restaurant (late night especially, as they are open until 4 a.m.!). Carry-out and catering are available.

Against the Grain

401 E. Main St., Louisville, KY 40202 • (502) 515-0174
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.; Friday & Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

This brewery and smokehouse is the restaurant located at Louisville Slugger Field. Their attention to their brews is similar to their attention to their smoker, so you can get the best of both before watching a Bats game or even without baseball. Since Chef Jordan De Lewis is known as “The Smoke Daddy,” you know you are in for some good grub. Be sure to try the smoked turkey breast, brisket or chopped pork — all come with pickled onions that are to die for. They take reservations at their restaurant, where they have both indoor and outdoor patio seating. Carry-out and catering are also available.

Red Barn Kitchen

8131 New La Grange Road, Louisville, KY 40222 • (502) 434-7470
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Part of the successful Olé Restaurant Group, this kitchen serves up great Southern fare and barbecue in the former Joe’s Older Than Dirt location. Start off with the Brisket Chili Nachos and then add additional brisket if you’d like. They have pork, brisket and ribs from the smoker and all can be dipped in their variety of sauces: Bourbon BBQ, Alabama White Sauce, Western KY Vinegar, North Carolina Vinegar and South Carolina Mustard. All meats from the smoker are served with pickled onions and housemade pickles, which add the perfect amount of vinegar to the meal. Dine in at one of the long wooden family-style tables for the full effect. They also have carry-out.

FOOD TRUCKS THAT SERVE GREAT BBQ

Food trucks are a treasure here in this town, with many of them having some of the best ‘cue in town. Follow them on Facebook or Twitter to know where they are at all times so you can get your fix.

BBQ Cowboy

He’s easy to spot if you are lucky enough to find him, in his burgundy Hummer with a massive smoker on a trailer behind it waving a huge Texas flag. The menu is never the same, but everything is good. He lists his menu every day on his Facebook page, as well as where to find him. He’s usually close to his son, who plays baseball, so baseball fans all over Louisville get to eat his food constantly (jealous!).

Moe-licious BBQ

Moe-licious is everywhere these days, from church picnics to downtown events. They have all the regular BBQ favorites, but their jerk wings, potato salad and baked beans are awesome. Follow them on Facebook — they are very active sharing where they are, and be sure to taste some of Louisville’s most popular BBQ.

K.C. Cannon’s Smoker

1702 Allison Lane, Jeffersonville, IN 47130 • (502) 553-5209
Hours: 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. most days

This is a food truck that has set up shop in the parking lot of a Save-a-Lot in Jeffersonville, but you can still find them around town when they travel across the river. They are open for lunch and dinner (usually 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.) and have a very loyal following. Pulled pork is their specialty, and the menu changes all the time. We love the rib tips, smoked chicken leg quarters and — our favorite — the pulled pork slaw dog, which is a grilled hot dog with pulled pork and slaw on the top. Divine.

CHAINS WORTH MENTIONING

We don’t usually promote chain restaurants, but these ones are definitely worth a mention.

City BBQ

329 Whittington Pkwy., Louisville, KY 40222 • (502) 996-8003
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

With locations in Northern Kentucky and Lexington, as well as Ohio and North Carolina, City BBQ is always mentioned as a favorite among Louisvillian BBQ lovers. Diners love the LoLo’s Pulled Pork and the More Cowbell Brisket sandwiches, along with the chicken served with white Alabama sauce. But the thing people talk about the most here is the peach cobbler. Go figure! This newer restaurant is clean, but not too fancy, just how a barbecue place should be. You can order your carry-out online, which is a definite treat. They also do catering.

Martin’s BBQ Joint

3408 Indian Lake Drive, Louisville, KY 40241 • (502) 242-4666
Hours: Monday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Martin’s BBQ Joint started in Nolensville, Tennessee, just outside Nashville. When they noticed that people were driving 45 minutes from Nashville to eat there, they knew they were on to something. Their food is so fresh that they run out of it every day. But that also means that they don’t have a freezer or a microwave. This is good old-fashioned “whole hog” barbecue, but besides the basic great meat on the smoker, they have great sides (try the broccoli salad!), catfish and burgers as well. In addition to dining in their new restaurant located on Westport Road near the Gene Snyder, they have delivery, carry-out and full-service catering as well.

Just to leave you with this funny … Where I’m from, there is only Texas barbecue, then everything else. Here’s a great map put together by Texas Monthly showing you just what I mean.

Louisville BBQ roundup

Image credit: Texas Monthly

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