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South Arkadelphia Ashdown Dumas El Dorado Gurdon Hope Hot Springs Magnolia Marianna Marion McGehee Nashville Rison Texarkana Warren West Memphis
South Food 0

Great Barbecue in South Arkansas


Our Arkansas barbecue expedition winds its way through the southern part of the state, where the barbecue tradition is as rich and flavorful as the food. Here, you’ll find some of the best barbecue restaurants in the region, each with its unique take on the classic Southern dish.

One main thing South Arkansas visitors will notice about these restaurants is that many are in old buildings that show the wear of decades, nearly a century for some, of smoking and serving meats. Barbecued goat meat started the barbecue tradition in these parts and attracted tourists to travel lodges, motorcoach resorts, and sacred springs.

You will soon learn why your mama said not to judge a book by its cover. Instead, notice how full the parking lot appears! Grab a napkin and get ready to enjoy a feast!

Jones BBQ | Marianna

  • Specialty: Pulled pork sandwich, served between two slices of white bread with vinegar sauce
  • What sets them apart: They have been the OG of mouthwatering barbecue since 1972. In 2012, the restaurant earned a James Beard award for being a true American classic.
  • Facebook | Yelp | Trip Advisor

Kibbs Bar-B-Que | Stuttgart, Pine Bluff, North Little Rock

  • Specialty: sliced beef sandwich and barbecue bologna
  • What sets them apart: Simplicity is the key; you order at a window, wait in your car and then devour! It’s the perfect meal after a day of duck hunting and always worth the drive!
  • Facebook | Yelp | Trip Advisor

Naaman’s BBQ | Texarkana

  • Specialty: cheesy corn and mac and cheese (don’t be scared of the catfish or salmon!)
  • What sets them apart: Homegrown flavors grew this food truck from a roadside stop in Ashdown to a full brick-and-mortar in Texarkana with elevated dining experiences and multiple locations in Southwest Arkansas. Make sure to save room for that chocolate whiskey cake.
  • Website | Facebook | Instagram | Yelp | Trip Advisor

McClard’s Bar-B-Q Restaurant | Hot Springs National Park

  • Specialty: the sauce, tamale platter, ribs
  • What sets them apart: An old Arkansas tradition fit for gangsters and jockeys, these bites are four generations old and an integral part of vacation traditions. You always get what you’ve come to expect in a perfect bite of barbecue.
  • Website | Facebook | Yelp | Trip Advisor

Allen’s BBQ | Arkadelphia and Gurdon

  • Specialty: loaded potato
  • What sets them apart: This business has grown from a food trailer to a full-scale eat-in restaurant over the last 20 years. Word-of-mouth favoritism and steady growth keep them bringing the best bites of smoked meats.
  • Facebook | Yelp | Trip Advisor

Robertson Smokehouse | Warren

  • Specialty: brisket
  • What sets them apart: Nothing fancy here, just sticking to the basics of smoking and serving meats the way they were to be, and the results are perfection every time.
  • Facebook | Yelp | Trip Advisor

Stubbys’ BBQ | Hot Springs

  • Specialty: beef ribs and supreme potato
  • What sets them apart: Mastering the art of Southern hospitality, these perfected flavors since 1952 please critics, bloggers, locals and travelers. Owner Chris is an intuitive pitmaster, preparing everything in the open rotisserie pit in the most eclectic restaurant environment.
  • Website | FacebookYelp | Trip Advisor

Backyard Bar-B-Q | Magnolia

  • Specialty: ribs and rings
  • What sets them apart: Just nostalgic, dependable barbecue that Magnolia natives grew up with and return to again and again. The beans are loaded with meat, and this is the kind of place you must leave room for dessert.
  • Facebook | Yelp | Trip Advisor

Big Gilley’s Smokehouse | Ashdown

  • Specialty: ribs and Fruity Pebble cheesecake
  • What sets them apart: It’s just everyday approachable barbecue. Sit under the shed top or grab a plate to go, but Gilley’s big personality carries over to his food, where large portions and over-the-top desserts drive the menu!
  • Facebook | Instagram | Yelp | Trip Advisor

JJ’s BBQ | El Dorado

  • Specialty: spicy sauce and Friday night Ribeye
  • What sets them apart: This is where the locals dine because they use original recipes and make everything in-house daily. There’s always something to tickle your lips and palate!
  • Website | Facebook | Yelp | Trip Advisor

Hoots BBQ | McGhee

  • Specialty: ribs and made-from-scratch desserts
  • What sets them apart: Here, the Powells fulfilled a retirement dream of owning a restaurant, with no meat-smoking experience, after living three years in a motorcoach. But they dreamed and developed, and now their menu flavors are unlike any other location. It’s worth the drive, but if you head there for dinner, call ahead for reservations and go ahead and request your ribs!
  • Facebook | Yelp | Trip Advisor

Big Jake’s BBQ | Hope, Ashdown, Texarkana

  • Specialty: sampler platter
  • What sets them apart: Owner Matthew Palmer started perfecting his flavors with family in East Texas at 16. He opened his first store at 21 and expanded across the Ark-La-Tex to 5 brick and mortar locations, revamping abandoned real estate. Their consistency brings the same experience at each stop.
  • Facebook | Yelp | Trip Advisor

These are just a few of the many great barbecue restaurants in South Arkansas; they are always worth the drive and a reason to redirect your business travel or trip to family vacation adventures.

Let us know if we missed one of your favorite spots!

Other barbecue restaurants in South Arkansas:

You may also be interested in these other articles about Arkansas Barbecue.

Images used with permission from the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism unless otherwise noted.

Meet the

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Keisha (Pittman) McKinney lives in Northwest Arkansas with her chicken man and break-dancing son. Keisha is passionate about connecting people and building community, seeking solutions to the everyday big and small things, and encouraging others through the mundane, hard, and typical that life often brings. She put her communications background to work as a former Non-profit Executive Director, college recruiter and fundraiser, small business trainer, and Digital Media Director at a large church in Northwest Arkansas. Now, she is using those experiences through McKinney Media Solutions and her blog @bigpittstop, which includes daily adventures, cooking escapades, #bigsisterchats, the social justice cases on her heart, and all that she is learning as a #boymom! Keisha loves to feed birds, read the stack on her nightstand, do dollar store crafts, cook recipes from her Pinterest boards, and chase everyday adventures on her Arkansas bucket list.

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