The Smoky Sixteen: Oklahoma's Barbecue Hotspots

Barbecue, barbeque, BBQ or bar-b-q: no matter how you spell it, the end result is nothing short of delicious. Dry-rubbed, salt and peppered, or smothered with sauce, Oklahoma’s delicious barbecue restaurants are waiting to serve up some tasty 'cue just how you like it.

You'll find a delicious array of Central Texas-style smoked meats at Oakhart Barbecue in Tulsa.
Photo Credit: Oakhart Barbecue

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Oklahoma barbecue is known best for what it isn’t: not exclusive to one kind of meat, not as vinegary as some or as saucy as others. Instead, Oklahoma barbecue hits the mark, striking a perfect balance between other famous styles. Take a tour of Oklahoma’s barbecue standouts by visiting one of the hotspots listed below, and don’t forget to bring your appetite.

Van's Pig Stand—Shawnee, Norman & Moore

Van’s Pig Stand, or simply Van’s as it’s known to locals, began in Shawnee and has since spread to neighboring Norman. The original Van’s is located in an old service station and has a vintage feel to it, while the newer restaurants each have a personality of their own. Van’s Pig Stand makes the list because of their perfectly smoky and spicy barbecue sauce that is mouthwatering on its own. Add a drop of it to Van’s perfectly smoked ribs, which have just the right amount of char outside and pink, tender meat inside, and you’ll be hooked. Make your meal “a Van” and they’ll throw in a side of their famous curly fries, many of which stretch over a foot long.

Smokin' Joe’s Rib Ranch—Davis

Anyone driving along Highway 77 in Davis can smell Smokin' Joe’s Rib Ranch a mile away. This no-frills barbecue joint is so sought after they had to move to a larger location to accommodate all the hungry customers. While the ribs are what the restaurant is named for, don’t be shy about trying brisket so tender you can cut through it with a plastic fork. Smokin' Joe’s helpings are big enough to share, but so good you won’t want to.

Clark Crew BBQ—Oklahoma City

When it comes to award-winning barbecue, Clark Crew BBQ on Northwest Expressway in Oklahoma City has plenty of titles, including American Royal Champions in 2017. Building from contest successes and a fast-growing following, this brick-and-mortar restaurant was born. Clark Crew BBQ offers something for a variety of tastes with everything from smoked meats and barbecue items, to delicious burgers, sandwiches and brick-oven pizzas.

Mac's Barbeque—Skiatook

For premium meats and ingredients cooked the old-fashioned way over hickory and pecan wood, head to Mac’s Barbeque in Skiatook. For over three decades, this small barbecue joint has been offering big flavor in northeast Oklahoma. While some of the most popular picks include a hearty three meat combo and pork spare ribs, hungry diners will also find unique entrees like the barbecue Frito pie, which combines chips, chopped beef, barbecue beans, diced peppers and onions, and shredded cheese. In addition to the homemade rub used on all the barbecue, Mac’s also produces their own award-winning sauce made fresh each week.

Bob’s Pig Shop—Pauls Valley

Housed in a quirky cobblestone cottage, Bob's Pig Shop in Pauls Valley offers up lunch and dinner in a rustic atmosphere complete with wood paneling and a mix match of booths and chairs. What they lack in ambiance, they make up tenfold with food. Open since 1933, Bob's Pig Shop has withstood the test of time including the Great Depression and World War II. Stop by today to taste the pig sandwich, a local favorite that comes with thin sliced pork and barbecue sauce served on a fluffy bun with a side of beans and crispy pickle. With nearly 80 years in the making, you’re sure to leave satisfied after a stop at Bob’s.

Dink's World Famous Pit Bar-B-Q—Bartlesville

Dink's World Famous Pit Bar-B-Q, known to local Bartlesville residents simply as Dink's, offers heaping helpings of brisket, ribs, pork loin, bologna, turkey, sausage and chicken seven days a week. With decades of culinary experience, the staff at Dink’s expertly prepares the meat in an outdoor pit filled with hickory wood, which produces a juicy, smoky concoction of irresistible flavor. Balance out the savory with a splash of Dink's homemade light, sweet barbecue sauce.

Ray's Smokehouse BBQ—Norman

Few things go together quite like barbecue and football. Both are celebrated with vigor at Ray’s Smokehouse BBQ in Norman, owned by former University of Oklahoma and New York Jets player Darrol Ray who has been serving up smoked meats since he opened his doors in 2008. Like any good barbecue joint, ask three different people what you should order from Ray’s and you’ll get three different answers. So why not cover your bases and go with the three-meat combo? Feast on chopped or sliced brisket, smoked low and slow to perfection, paired with delectable offerings like ribs, hot links, pulled pork and other favorites. Try to save room for a generous slice of Ray’s homemade chocolate, lemon or strawberry cake to round out your meal. Drop by this family-owned institution and see why it’s a favorite among football and barbecue fanatics alike.

Danny's BBQ Head Quarters—Ponca City

In 1945, Donovan 'Uncle Bud' Head had just returned to his Oklahoma home from serving as a cook on a naval destroyer in WWII. He brought with him recipes he whipped up aboard the ship using simple, wholesome ingredients. One of the recipes was a barbecue sauce that was an instant hit with everyone who tried it, thus Head Country Bar-B-Q sauce was born. The folks at Danny's BBQ Head Quarters in Ponca City put just as much thought into how the meat is prepared, so go expecting slow-cooked meats served by themselves or as a sandwich with a side of pickles and onions. Afterward, take home a bottle of Head Country, which comes in original, hickory smoke or hot.

Wild Horse Mountain Bar-B-Q—Sallisaw

Wild Horse Mountain Bar-B-Q is a family-owned and operated barbecue joint that has been serving up heaping helpings of barbecue beef, pork ribs and hot links since 1965. Pair your meal with a side of their famous barbecue beans, which come slightly peppery with bits of onion and tender meat mixed in. Afterward, check out the newspaper articles, funny signs and autographed pictures of famous people who have also discovered this hidden gem of a restaurant tucked away on Highway 59 just south of Sallisaw.

Leo's Barbecue—Oklahoma City

Since being featured on the Food Network's popular TV show 'Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives' with Guy Fieri, Leo's Barbecue in Oklahoma City has been discovered by the masses, but that hasn't changed the top-notch quality and generous quantity of food that hungry diners have come to expect. Satisfy your appetite with Leo's Special, which comes with a sampling of ribs, thick-cut bologna, chopped beef and hot links paired with two sides. Save room for dessert - each meal at Leo's comes with a complimentary slice of their famous strawberry-banana cake.

Frisco Creek Barbeque—Hobart

Combining meats straight from the pit with soul food classics, Frisco Creek Barbeque is a Hobart staple for down-home eats. Come hungry to this humble eatery off Highway 9 and fill up on smoked brisket, ribs, turkey, burnt ends and other meats, along with sides like dirty rice, gumbo, potato salad and cornbread. A sweet treat should be a requirement at Frisco Creek, with irresistible selections like pecan cake, banana pudding and peach cobbler.

The Butcher BBQ Stand—Wellston

Plenty of places might lay claim to the title of best barbecue in central Oklahoma, but the Butcher BBQ Stand in Wellston has the accolades to back it up. This dining destination has been racking up awards and satisfied diners since it opened in 2015. After an impressive 30 years on the competitive barbecue circuit, the Butcher BBQ team opened its permanent dining location on Route 66 after bringing home more than 400 first-place ribbons, being named the 2012 World Food Champion in Las Vegas, and even appearing on the BBQ Pitmasters TV show. Enjoy all your barbecue favorites like pulled pork, tender smoked brisket and succulent, St. Louis-style ribs in an outdoor setting complete with a giant Jenga game set, a horseshoe set-up and live music performances.

John & Cooks Real Pit Bar-B-Cue—Lawton

Don't be fooled by the size of this southwestern Oklahoma barbecue joint. John & Cooks Real Pit Bar-B-Cue may be small on the outside, but the flavors found within are massive. Come feast on classics like ribs, brisket, pulled pork, hot links and more, smoked low and slow to perfection. Get your choice of 100% woodfire-smoked meat(s) piled high on a sandwich, on a plate with baked beans and coleslaw, or take it home by the pound. Save room, if you can, for one of John & Cooks irresistible desserts like their famous lemon cake or sweet potato pie to truly complete the experience. However you do it, you'll definitely be glad you made the trip to Lawton for this can't-miss barbecue hotspot that's been around for more than 90 years.

Texlahoma BBQ—Edmond

Find all the flavors of Texas Hill Country barbecue right in the heart of Oklahoma at the aptly named Texlahoma BBQ. This north Edmond establishment has made a name for itself with a mouthwatering selection of tender ribs, brisket, pulled pork and turkey, all smoked to perfection in an old-school pit with natural wood. Meats here come with Texlahoma's famous salt, pepper and garlic rub, and sides are made from scratch. Crispy, fried okra, creamy coleslaw and vegetarian nachos even draw vegans to Texlahoma BBQ. Make the trip and discover why this joint is a favorite for the most devoted barbecue fans.

Burn Co Barbecue—Jenks

Pull into the parking lot of Burn Co Barbecue and you'll know you're in for a treat from the amazing smoked meat smell in the air. This special BBQ joint carries the flavor of the flagship Burn Co Barbecue location in Tulsa to Jenks to serve traditional and unique barbecue dishes. Every item at Burn Co is cooked over hardwood charcoal in a Hasty Bake Charcoal Oven for amazing smoked flavor and everything on the menu is guaranteed to satisfy. Their most famous menu item is the Fatty, a mixture of bratwurst, hot links and smoked sausage encased in ground sausage and wrapped in bacon.

Oakhart Barbecue—Tulsa

Oakhart became a Tulsa favorite for Central Texas-style barbecue almost as soon as it opened in 2021. Locally lauded for its melt-in-your-mouth brisket, Oakhart Barbecue takes smoked meats to the next level with recipes perfected by co-owners and pit competition veterans Brian Hodges and Chris Emmons. From ribs and beef sausages to pulled pork on a house-made potato bun, taste the delectable simplicity of meats smoked with post oak and rubbed with salt and pepper. This Pearl District restaurant also serves up classic sides like pinto beans, cheese grits and coleslaw for a well-rounded dining experience.

For a complete list of Oklahoma's heavenly barbecue hotspots, along with special deals and events, click here.

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