Best barbecue restaurants, meats, dishes in Northeast Ohio: Guide to content from Cleveland’s Best BBQ contest

September 13, 2018

Best barbecue restaurants, meats, dishes in Northeast Ohio: Guide to content from Cleveland’s Best BBQ contest

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- From the tastiest smoked meats to the best side dishes, everything you need to know to find the best barbecue in Northeast Ohio is listed below.

Thanks to the month-long Cleveland’s Best Barbecue contest, there is a ton of reviews, photos, videos and more spotlighting the Top 20 BBQ restaurants as determined by cleveland.com readers. While Ol’Chefski’s BBQ in Aurora took home the title, there is no shortage of fantastic barbecue throughout our seven-county coverage area. 

Whether you live on the east side, west side or somewhere in between, you are bound to find some suggestions below that may very well turn into your new go-to favorite BBQ joint.

Congratulations to the restaurants that made it into the Top 20 (listed in alphabetical order). Click the names to see more about our visit, including taste test reviews, photos and video.

Barabicu Smokehouse, ParmaBig B’s Bar-B-Que, LyndhurstBlazin Bills, BurtonBurnside Barbecue, KentButcher’s Pantry, SolonButch’s Saloon, North RoyaltonLager Heads Smokehouse, MedinaLandmark, ClevelandMabel’s BBQ, ClevelandMaple City Taps & Eatery, ChardonOak and Embers Tavern, Chesterland and HudsonOhio City BBQ, ClevelandOl’Chefski’s BBQ, AuroraOpen Pitt Barbeque Carryout, ClevelandSamosky’s Homestyle Pizzeria, Valley CitySides to Go! BBQ, MacedoniaSmokin’ Q’s BBQ, MayfieldThe Morehouse, WilloughbyThe Proper Pig Smokehouse, LakewoodWoodstock BBQ, Lakewood

Awards for Best Ribs, BBQ Sauces, Sides, and more

Not only did we sample lots of delicious smoked meats on the journey by visiting each of the Top 20 finalists, we also tasted more than 100 sides, lots of desserts, and more.

We rated everything we tasted and spotlighted the Best of the Best in several categories. Here are our superlative winners. 

The 13 best ribs we ate

The 11 best pulled pork

The 8 best brisket

The 12 best poultry dishes

The 17 best BBQ sauces

The 20 best side dishes from the 101 we tasted

The 18 most unique -- and delicious -- dishes

The 6 best desserts

Also, reporter Brenda Cain went out to eat with a local certified BBQ judge to see what makes barbecue perfect.

Be sure to check back for future contests at cleveland.com/best

Update hourly