Smokin’ Hot: 17 Top Barbecue Joints in Rhode Island

Our guide to the Ocean State's sweet and sticky barbecue scene.

Product photography by Meaghan Susi.

1. The Backyard Food Company
After getting its start at Hope and Main, the Backyard Food Company has grown exponentially, offering so many jarred products it’s safe to call owners Matt McClelland and Louby Sukkar the condiment kings of Rhode Island. With salsa, red pepper relish, pickles and tomato jam topping the list, you’d better make some space in the pantry.

2. Palm’s Mojo Sauces
Not quite a dipping sauce, barbecue sauce or salad dressing, the Mojo line produced by Palm’s Locally Made feels like a good old-fashioned throwback. Take your pick between Smoky Love Sauce, featuring smoked onions, or Honey Heat Sauce to glaze all proteins.

SourceFire Hot Sauce

SourceFire hot sauce can be added to any protein or dish to increase flavor and sweat-inducing heat. The sauces come in three versions, Sweet Release (medium heat habanero mango), The Grass is Greener (low heat cilantro-lemongrass) and Master Tater (high heat sweet potato).

3. Rhed’s Hot Sauce
Not only does the whole line taste amazing, but the art on the bottles is second to none. Feeling adventurous? Try out the Club Jalapeño sauce. Want something more traditional? Creator Deja Hart has you covered with the Original Hot Sauce.

4. No Joke Smoke BBQ
New England isn’t famous for its barbecue style or sauce, but No Joke Smoke is looking to change that. Four sauces, ranging from spicy to mild to sweet (the Pineapple Bomb is the bomb), will change the way you make barbecue.

5. Mesa Fresca Chimichurri Sauce
The perfect steak marinade calls out to barbecue enthusiasts all over the Ocean State. Make it spicy, keep it mild or be a true Rhode Islander with the red bell pepper relish.

6. Ocean State Pepper Company
With a wide variety of punny spices and rubs, you’re certain to find something for whatever you happen to be smoking or grilling. For beef, go with “Cow-abunga.” Chicken tonight? Try “Clucking Awesome.” Vegan? No worries: Try “Veg-geez Louise.”

7. Tito’s Salsa and More
Every Rhode Islander has walked into their local market — Dave’s in North Kingstown, Tom’s in Warren, Schroder’s in Riverside — and found the familiar, locally made salsa, chips and steak marinade. Grab a jar, some tortilla chips and a few steaks to complete
a homemade feast.

8. Chumley’s Natural Ketchup
Health nuts, rejoice! Chumley’s Natural Ketchup is made with no refined sugars or high fructose corn syrups, sweetened with natural maple syrup and made with 50 percent less sugar than the national leading brand. Try this over your fries instead of you-know-what!

9. Rich’s Sweet Heat
Sweet, spicy and savory or gluten-free, this Richmond-based barbecue sauce company has it all. Do you dare take the plunge and try the Superheated version? Find the three varieties of sauces at local markets or order online.

Fire Starters

Who needs the whole shebang when appetizers steal the spotlight.


The Mac and Cheese Egg Rolls at Bonetown BBQ are full of barbecue favorites. Photography by Angel Tucker.

Mac and Cheese Egg Rolls
Bonetown BBQ creates an Asian and American barbecue hybrid with its eggrolls stuffed with creamy mac and cheese, collard greens and pulled pork. It’s like a barbecue burrito with all the good stuff rolled up in one crispy bundle.

Brussels Salad
Rogue Island’s fried brussels sprouts are topped with pickled fennel, apple chutney and roasted shallot vinaigrette on top of spring mix. Add applewood smoked bacon or pork belly if you’re feeling more meat.

BBQ Mac and Cheese Croquettes
Binge BBQ’s golf ball-sized fritters (three to an order) are one-bite wonders stuffed and fried with smoked brisket, macaroni and cheese and barbecue sauce.

Cowboy Caviar
Smoke House’s vegetarian-friendly side includes black beans, corn, tomatoes, red onion, jalapeno, avocado, poblano, lime and EVOO served with tortilla chips. —J.C.