May is National Barbecue month, making now the perfect time to take a break from the kitchen and leave the cooking to the pros. When you’re in the mood for slow-smoked, fall-off-the-bone tender meats and savory home-style sides, you’ll find there’s no shortage of great local restaurants ready to satisfy your craving.
If you needed an excuse to explore some of the best BBQ in the Bradenton area, this is it! The weekend is coming, so gather up your family and friends and make plans to visit some of these popular spots for a smokey, mouthwatering meal you won’t soon forget.
Mission BBQ: 4501 14th St W, Bradenton, FL 34207
Ask a handful of locals about their favorite Bradenton BBQ, and you’re more likely than not to hear the words “Mission BBQ.” This casual barbecue chain is fairly new to Bradenton, but it didn’t waste any time making its mark. You might feel hesitant about visiting a chain for your barbeque experience, but at Mission, you definitely won’t be disappointed.
The three-meat sampler is a great choice since it gives you the opportunity to mix and match their brisket, pulled pork, pulled chicken, turkey, or jalapeno cheese sausage. Want something a bit different? Choose the “moist & mild” salmon or a rack of ribs.
As soon as you step into Mission BBQ, you’re surrounded by memorabilia honoring first responders and soldiers. You can feel great about supporting this restaurant — they’re super committed to giving back to those who serve our country by supporting many important organizations including USO, Wreaths Across America, National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and local police organizations.
Pigout BBQ And Southern Soul Food: 5718 Manatee Ave W, Bradenton, FL 34209
Most visitors to Pigout BBQ and Southern Soul Food are attracted by the amazing smells drifting out from the giant smokers in front of the restaurant. Once you come inside, you’ll quickly see what all the fuss is about. According to locals, some of the best menu items include the “pig mac” sandwich, rack of ribs, fried okra, cheese grits, and collard greens. They offer both Tangy Carolina and Sweet BBQ sauce, appealing to all kinds of barbeque connoisseurs.
This small, casual Bradenton BBQ restaurant has only been open for about a year, but they’ve already established a loyal following. They serve beer and wine and offer outdoor seating. Check out their Facebook events page to learn more about their weekly specials like Pig Mac Monday, Tenderloin Tuesday, Wednesday Fish Fry, and Taco Thursday.
Hickory Hollow: 4705 US-301, Ellenton, FL 34222
Although not technically in Bradenton, you can’t create a list of the best local BBQ joints without giving a shout-out to Hickory Hollow. This family-run restaurant has been serving up awesome BBQ and seafood since 1984.
Although they do serve traditional-style BBQ with a tomato-based sauce, their true specialty is East-Carolina style BBQ. This style of cooking meat involves marinating it in sweet vinegar and special seasonings, then smoking it over hickory. Their extensive menu includes ribs, chicken, prime rib, and grilled and fried seafood including soft shell crabs, fish, shrimp, and scallops.
Visitors can’t stop raving about the baby back ribs, and the crab cakes might possibly be the best in Florida! They also offer over 20 different home-style veggies and sides every day and an unexpectedly large selection of craft beers and wine.
The restaurant itself will take you back in time with a laid-back old-school vibe. They only accept cash, so make sure you’re prepared!
Mr. Bones BBQ: 3007 Gulf Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217
For barbeque that thinks outside the box and caters to the whole family, you can’t go wrong with Mr. Bones BBQ. A staple on Holmes Beach since 1992, this eclectic restaurant puts a truly unique twist on everything they do. They’re famous for their barbeque ribs, pork, and chicken which are dusted with Mr. Bones Dry Rub and come with your choice of five homemade sauces: BBQ, Hot BBQ, Honey Glaze, Mongolian, and Mandarin.
Offering one of the area’s most diverse menus, Mr. Bones also serves up Southern food like Jambalaya and Crawfish Gumbo as well as Greek, Indian, and Tex-Mex menu items. Have a vegetarian or vegan in your group? No problem! They have an excellent vegetarian and vegan menu as well. In fact, Mr. Bones is known as one of the island’s best vegan restaurants!
The awesome food is complemented by the unique and quirky atmosphere. Here you’ll find a huge selection of craft beers — which you’ll grab yourself out of an ice-filled coffin — and walls adorned with voodoo masks and other cool decor. Mr. Bones is a popular choice among both visitors and locals, and every visit promises to be a memorable one.
SmoqeHouse: 1701 Gulf Drive Bradenton Beach, FL 34217
Located right across the street from the beach, Smoqehouse offers their unique take on barbecue, which they refer to as “BBQ fusion.” Considering the amazing location, the prices are astoundingly low!
Everything at Smoqehouse is made from scratch, including the hand-cut fries and chips. They also incorporate an element of smoke into all of their ingredients. All of the cheese is smoked in-house, and they smoke the fruit used to make the vinaigrette dressing. They even smoke the vegetarian sandwich!
Visitors rave about the restaurant’s pulled pork sandwich, Cuban sandwich, brisket burger, and Korean beef. You also definitely won’t want to miss out on the Poutine and the loaded chips. If you want to celebrate National Barbecue Month with something fresh and different, Smoqehouse is the place to do it!