My Top 5 BBQ Joints in Unexpected Places

I count myself fortunate to be able to live the lifestyle that I do. Between our RV travels and my work travels, I’ve been able to see a large portion of this country. During those travels, I have made it my mission to eat as much BBQ as I can to uncover the hidden gems. Sure, I could have made a list of the top BBQ joints in Texas. However, that’s a list that many others have done already numerous times. What I strive to find are the BBQ joints in the most unexpected places. So without further delay, here is my top 5 list of BBQ joints in places where you’d least expect them:

Phat Matt’s BBQ — Oakland, CA

When I think of the SF Bay Area, BBQ is not the first thing that comes to mind. I’d daresay that it’s not even the second or third thing that comes to mind. I had the opportunity to eat at Phat Matt’s BBQ in Oakland, CA early in my travels, and it is totally worth the trip from wherever you are in the Bay Area! Matt and his wife Charlotte crank out delicious meats along with absolutely tasty side dishes. The one thing that makes Phat Matt’s unique from most (I’d daresay all) BBQ joints is that they use no salt in their seasonings. It totally blew my mind at first, but the smoke and other seasonings used in their meats more than make up for it!!

Phat Matt’s BBQ is located at 3415 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609.

The Polite Pig — Orlando, FL

BBQ at Disney?!?! Yeah I tried that in the past and was left woefully disappointed. But fast forward a few years from that day, and a new BBQ establishment is in places satisfying those who crave good BBQ. The Polite Pig opened at Disney Springs in April 2017 and has been cranking out delicious smoked meats ever since! Well worth adding to your dining destination list if you’re thinking about a stay at the Mouse House!

The Polite Pig is located at Disney Springs (1536 Buena Vista Blvd., Orlando, FL 32830) at the bottom of the escalators adjacent to the Lime Garage.

Mad Jack’s Mountaintop Barbecue — Cloudcroft, NM

This one came out of nowhere. My wife and I spent a month in Las Cruces, NM this past winter, and I was dead set on getting my green chile and New Mexican food fix enough to last the whole year (which I did, but I digress). A college buddy of mine suggested that I check out Mad Jack’s Mountaintop Barbecue in Cloudcroft, NM. And it was worth the 120-mile drive and hour wait in line to get to eat this Texas-style brisket, succulent smoked turkey, and flavorful Kreuz sausage!

Mad Jack’s Mountaintop Barbecue is located at

Blue’s BBQ — Billings, MT

Montana… my soon-to-be home. The land of the cattle, rolling prairie in the east, and mountain ranges in the west. And also home to Blue’s BBQ in Billings. It’s unassuming location in a gas station does not do it justice at all. They treat that pig, chicken, and cow just as it should be — smoked to mouth-watering perfection!

Blue’s BBQ is located at 523 Hilltop Rd., Billings, MT 59105.

Leon’s BBQ — Galveston, TX

I can hear some grumblings already about this choice. “Wayne, you’re 45 minutes from Houston and some amazing BBQ!” And I’d say you’re right. But when I think of Galveston, I think of fresh seafood and not BBQ. But Leon’s BBQ in Galveston has been an establishment in Galveston for over 25 years, slinging some righteous ‘cue. Get the brisket and thank me later…

Leon’s BBQ is located at

I know you all have some hidden gems out there. It’s your duty to share those top BBQ joints in unexpected places. Share them with the world (and with me) on here, because as my friend Danielle Bennett (who you may know as Diva Q) says: “Life is too short for bad BBQ!”

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Author: Big Wayner

Big Wayner is the mad brains behind Big Wayner's BBQ Blog. A full-time RVer, he enjoys sharing his passion for all things BBQ with anyone and everyone he meets.