Bar-b-que is the quintessential American food. In recent years many great spots have popped up around Des Moines. When the craving hits, go to the following for the best bbq in and around Des Moines.
- Jethro’s -located in the Drake neighborhood and in various incarnations around town, Jethro’s offers huge portions on both the meat and the sides so you’ll struggle to finish your meal in one sitting. They were featured on Man Vs. Food and countless other shows for their famous Adam Emmenecker. The sauces come in honey bear bottles only further making this a fun spot for great food. For a full menu, go here.
- Uncle Wendell’s BBQ Catering and Bakery– located on Ingersoll Ave., the sliced brisket sandwich will take two hands to hold and may be too much of a mouthful for some to eat like a regular sandwich. The bread tastes homemade and is the perfect means to soak up the excellent bbq sauce and to hold all of the meat in your sandwich. Their website is here.
- Flying Mango- located on Hickman road, this is more of an upscale bbq place but their food isn’t too fussy. The red beans and rice tastes authentic as well as the Memphis style rib dinner. The cozy restaurant really emphasizes attentive service and making you feel like you’re at home. For more information, go here.
- Woody’s Smoke Shack- located on Cottage Grove, this smoke shack is in the middle of a residential area so keep your eyes open though your nose will probably be your best guide. Free cornbread when you first walk in is one of the many great things about this restaurant. The meat is perfectly smoked and seasoned. The sides like cheesy potatoes and creamed corn round out the meal. For more information, go here.
- Smokey D’s-located in multiple spots around Des Moines, the main one being next to the Harley Davidson store on NW 2nd Street, they have one countless awards for good reason. Their choices of sauces are all excellent and the pulled pork is my favorite. For a full menu, go here.
- Claxon’s Smokehouse and Grille-located in Altoona, the Des Moines Register voted their Baby Back Ribs one of the top 100 items in Iowa you need to eat before you die in 2006. The Monster Champ Pork loin is smoked with hickory and even won an award in 2002 at the World Pork expo. For a full menu, go here.
- Bandana’s BBQ- located in Ankeny, Bandana’s cooks their meat sauce-less and you can really taste the difference in how the meat has a distinct hickory taste to it. The 2 meat combo meal is my go-to meal since it offers the most food for your buck with 2 meats and 2 sides and a piece of garlic bread. Try the donut holes if you’re still hungry, you’ll get your fair fix any time of the year with these. For a full menu, go here.
- Kue’d- located in Waukee, this is a fairly new restaurant but their food tastes like they’ve been in the business for years. I got the Brisket Ends combo and it actually came with Brisket ends instead of brisket cut into cubes like some establishes like to do. The apple salad is delightful with blue cheese and slices of apple. Their website is here.
- Cactus Bob’s- located in Johnston, the saucy Pig is my favorite basket with pulled pork smothered in a sweet and smokey sauce. The Longhorn basket is also worth trying with Texas Style smoked brisket. Try the jalapeno fried cheese is a great appetizer if you’re wanting something spicy before your meal. Their website is here
- Moo’s BBQ & Blues- located in Newton, this is the further spot to drive so it didn’t rank higher on the list but they are worth going to Newton for. They are very reasonably priced. The meat is tender in the Taj MOOhal and the bacon aioli it’s served with is an excellent sauce that I wish they’d put on more of the sandwiches. Their full menu is here
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