The Best Barbecue in Both IL and MO Is in Metro St. Louis, Food & Wine Says


Big Baby Q's ribs. - MABEL SUEN
  • Big Baby Q's ribs.

The best barbecue in Missouri? We've got that here in St. Louis. The best barbecue in Illinois? We've got that too.

The metro area just won double kudos from Food & Wine, which compiled a list of the best barbecue in every state and twice crowned a St. Louis area restaurant a winner.

For Missouri, Big Baby Q and Smokehouse (11658 Dorsett Road, Maryland Heights; 314-801-8888) reigned supreme. And for Illinois, the No. 1 spot went to Belleville's beloved BEAST Craft BBQ (20 S Belt W, Belleville, Illinois; 618-257-9000).

In other words, whether you drive east or west out of downtown St. Louis, you'll hit one of the nation's very best barbecue spots in 30 minutes or less. How many other cities can say that?

(We'll answer our own question here: None.)

Of BEAST, Food & Wine notes, "How good is Beast Craft BBQ, here's how good— enough to get people to drive the half hour or more from St. Louis, a town not currently short on barbecue, to say the least. In fact, there are those that will tell you that David Sandusky's American wagyu-style brisket, not to mention his regular brisket (prime), and his high-quality pork, represents some of the best barbecue you can get in St. Louis right now. Period." Hey, we said it here first!

Not be outdone, here's what Food & Wine says about Big Baby Q: "Ben Welch, in tandem with his artist dad, smokes a great St. Louis-style rib, along with some of the better brisket in town. Only in existence since 2016, this is one in a healthy crop of popular new spots that have livened up the regional barbecue scene. Welch already has his sights set on new projects, recently testing the waters for another restaurant idea with a series of pop-ups — all the more reason to be here now."

The piece gives plenty of other St. Louis eateries a big shot-out, listing can't-miss specialties that include, in the words of the authors, snoot at Smoki O's, "smoked prime rib at The Wood Shack, smoked salami sandwiches at Adam's Smokehouse, turkey tips at the Gobble House in Creve Coeur, Memphis ribs at Pappy's, burnt ends and rib tips at Dixon's Smoke Company, and pretty much anything at Salt + Smoke. And no, nobody's forgetting about Kansas City, where you should cancel all your other plans, go directly to L.C.'s Bar-B-Q, and order the burnt ends."

(Doesn't it sound like the authors themselves kind of forgot about Kansas City? Or at least now consider it an afterthought in light of St. Louis' bounty?)

Still, as much as we're basking in the double honors, we can't help but look ahead to whenever Food & Wine next does this kind of list — because in the coming months, BEAST is opening a second location, this one in Missouri (five minutes from downtown, not 30).

And so next time, Illinois' best barbecue just might take on Missouri's best barbecue for the battle of St. Louis. How exciting will that be — for municipal bragging rights and for our bellies?

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