The mouth-watering debate for the Best Barbeque in Omaha continues on. The smoky, sauce-stained locations around the Omaha metro area included food trucks, parking lot smokers, caterers and restaurants. It’s been a chance to meet pitmasters who believe they were sent by God to smoke brisket.
Behind the scenes we are Barbeque connoisseurs, ranging in age from 23 to 52, who rolled up our sleeves, grabbed a fistful of napkins, untightened our belts and dived in. We’ve visited hundreds of BBQ restaurants around the country where we met bigger-than-life personalities and heard the best pitmasters’ stories. In awe while meeting BBQ legends, we also discovered new kids who hungered to steal the spotlight. We found pitmasters who were creating wealth beyond measure and others struggling to pay the light bill. We toasted retirees who started for fun and commiserated with others who were straining to provide for their families.
We finally decided to scratch out a list of the best Barbeque in the Omaha metro. Nothing fancy here. Just a fastball down the middle. Back of the napkin kind of list. We don’t necessarily agree or even have the same tastes. However, we do concur that the best BBQ experiences sometimes have little to do with the BBQ itself. With BBQ discernment powers and a detective’s nose, we examined the mystiques, myths or legendary stories of the classic BBQ joints. The BBQ experience has everything to do with the pitmaster and his place’s origins. We interviewed world champions and county fair winners. We’ve chatted with James Beard Award winners, reality-show celebrities and representatives of BBQ’s biggest names.
But today we turn our focus to the Omaha Barbeque scene and we hashed out the best place to eat barbeque in the Omaha metro area. We have personally reviewed each of the restaurants or food trucks on this list.
Our work is never really done, so we’ll will continue to keep a watchful eye on restaurant closings & openings.
Without Further Ado here is our current list:
Best Barbeque in Omaha
1. Smokin’ Barrel (Recently opened a retail venue after a strong Food Truck run.)
2. Tattoo Bob’s (Food truck on Cass street. These guys know what they’re doing.)
3. Tired Texan (The Haystack is the BEST appetizer at a BBQ joint in Omaha.)
4. Oklahoma Joe’s (Much improved experience over the Lincoln location.)
5. We’ll Smoke U (Above average experience and cool environment in Gretna.)
6. Hartland BBQ (Quality of meat is exceptional.)
7. Swine Dining (You’ll never be disappointed.)
8. Hog Wild (You aren’t winning awards with their retail Q but it’s a solid experience.)
9. Boxer BBQ (Not what it used to be but with new ownership we’re staying positive.)
10. Papio Pit BBQ (A few kinks to work out in their first year but the experience is improving.)
* Fat Shack closed in early May of 2019 and would have earned a spot at the top of our list.
Best Barbeque in Lincoln
1. Phat Jack’s BBQ
2. Mulberry BBQ & Catering by Single Barrel
3. Lippy’s BBQ in Malcom
Of particular note around the country:
Lillie’s Q, Destin, Florida: The crusty, retired military officer is famous for his brashness, bravado and love for his country.
Dot’s BBQ, Jackson, Mississippi: Dorothy lost her job and opened this to provide for her family. Best smoked pork we’ve ever tasted. Anywhere. BBQ enthusiasts from Memphis travel south to get her pork and that’s saying something.
Joe and Mike, Kansas City – owners of SLAPS BBQ in KC – Young guys, celebrity status, absolutely killing it and having a ball!
Perk’s BBQ, Omaha: Mr. Perk knows had things. BBQ and God. We visited Mr. Perk so many times that our children started to believe he was their grandfather! He’s a kind soul who rarely spoke. But, when he did, he had something important to say. Mr. Perk, who lived in Omaha, passed away in 2017. We miss him dearly.
Jones BBQ in Arkansas: Kevin Arnold opened the newest location for this legendary BBQ joint that has recipes that date to 150 years. The original store opened in 1910. They won the James Beard Award. It’s the state’s oldest restaurant.
Franklin Barbeque in Austin: Plan on arriving by 5:00 am if you want to be served noon. Enough said?
We will be releasing our TOP Barbeque restaurants in Kansas City in June.