21 of the Best BBQ Sandwiches

By Hanna Raskin for Garden & Gun

From classic pulled pork in North Carolina to traditional Texas brisket to Kentucky mutton, here are twenty-one of the best barbecue sandwiches you’ll ever eat.

Photograph by Taylor Mathis

12 Bones Smoke House
Where: Asheville, North Carolina
What to order: Hogzilla (pictured above). This audacious sandwich is a mountain of pig: pliant sausage, thick strips of sugar-cured bacon, and shreds of exquisite smoked pork on a toasted sub roll.

Alamo BBQ
Where: Richmond, Virginia
What to order: Pulled Chicken Sandwich. Luscious pulled chicken—shuddering with just the right amount of smoke—and vinegary cabbage slaw, plunked on a lightly toasted bun.

Photograph by Peter Frank Edwards

Bunn’s Barbecue
Where: Windsor, North Carolina; 252-794-2274
What to order: Barbecue Sandwich on cornbread (pictured above). An unorthodox foundation for a sandwich of satiny pulled pork and shredded green cabbage, spritzed with a sheer sauce of vinegar and red pepper.

Bear’s Restaurant
Where: Covington, Louisiana; 985-892-2373
What to order: Barbecue Beef Po’boy. French bread is freighted with an unruly quantity of peppery slow-roasted beef, sliced as thin as butterfly wings then drenched with a tangy house-made sauce.

Photograph by Brian Woodcock

Heirloom Market
Where: Atlanta, Georgia
What to order: Spicy Korean Pork Sandwich (pictured above). Made with Berkshire hogs, the smoked pork is marinated in gochujang chile paste and served on a glazed potato bun with a wig of kimchi.

Bunyan’s Bar-B-Que
Where: Florence, Alabama; 256-766-3522
What to order: BBQ Sandwich. The spicy mustard slaw that Bunyan’s plops atop its white-sauced pulled pork sandwiches is so extraordinary that area home cooks compete to produce the best knock-of version.

SEE MORE: Recipe for Alabama’s White Sauce

Photograph by Peter Frank Edwards

Jackie Hite’s Bar-B-Que
Where: Batesburg-Leesville, South Carolina; 803-532-3354
What to order: Jackie Hite’s pork sandwich (pictured above) is a testament to South Carolina’s barbecue heritage, with coarse chunks of brined and smoked pork, bathed in a classic sauce of mustard and vinegar.

Craig’s Bar-B-Q
Where: Devalls Bluff, Arkansas; 501-998-2616
What to Order: Served on a squishy white bun with a hefty portion of creamy, cooling slaw, Craig’s sliced pork looks the part of a typical Memphis-style sandwich. But connoisseurs flock to this roadside cottage—furnished with vinyl chairs and peeling wallpaper printed with duck-hunting scenes—for the peppery barbecue sauce that comes in three advertised heat gradients, plus one “extra  hot” version for locals.

Photograph by Penny De Los Santos

Mustang Creek Bar-B-Q
Where: Louise, Texas; 979-648-2600
What to order: Bohemian Special (pictured above). Wedges of smoked sausage are piled atop fatty flaps of sliced brisket, served on a soft white hamburger bun and offset by the snap of raw onions and crimpled dill pickles.

Hickory Pig
Where: Gainesville, Georgia; 770-503-5235
What to order: Pulled Pork Sandwich. Impossibly tender pulled pork is served gently sauced and piled with pickles.

Photograph by Caroline Allison

Old Hickory Pitt Bar-B-Q
Where: Owensboro, Kentucky; 270-926-9000
What to order: Chopped Mutton Sandwich (pictured above). Smoke sheep shoulder is finely chopped and anointed with vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and allspice.

Meshack’s Bar-Be-Que Shack
Where: Garland, Texas; 214-227-4748
What to order: Sliced Beef Sandwich. Heaped with slices of pecan-smoke brisket, sporting a dusky crust and picture-perfect smoke ring.

Photograph by Caroline Allison

Papa Kayjoe’s BBQ
Where: Centerville, Tennessee; 931-729-2131
What to order: Hoecake Sandwich (pictured above). Cornmeal pancakes are cooked on the griddle for this shredded-Boston-butt sandwich. Pickles or slaw can be added, but the pure swine version is recommended.

Payne’s Bar-B-Que
Where: Memphis, Tennessee; 901-272-1523
What to order: Chopped Shoulder Sandwich. Pork shoulder chopped to order is topped with a mustard-based slaw that waltzes with pork’s smoke then wrapped in wax paper.

Photograph by Rob Culpepper

Petty’s BBQ
Where: Starkville, Mississippi; 662-324-2363
What to order: BBQ Grilled Cheese Sandwich (pictured above). Hickory-smoked pork is shoehorned with lettuce and American cheese between two slices of Texas toast and then grilled.

Where: Fort Worth, Texas
What to order: BBQ Bologna Sandwich. The droopy pork makes an ideal match for the stinging vinegar-based sauce.

Porky’s Bayside
Where: Marathon, Florida
What to order: Cuban Barbecue Pork Sandwich. Pulled pork that has been marinated in a chiles and citrus juices.

Photograph by Taylor Mathis

Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge
Where: Shelby, North Carolina; bridgesbbq.com
What to order: BBQ Sandwich (pictured above). Pork shoulder is chopped, slathered with a tomato-based vinegar sauce, and capped with red slaw.

Ridgewood Barbeque
Where: Bluff City, Tennessee; 423-538-7543
What to order: Pork Sandwich. Thinly sliced hickory-smoked ham is finished with a mahogany-hued sauce that harnesses the best of vinegar and ketchup traditions.

Photograph by Peter Frank Edwards

Wilber’s Barbecue
Where: Goldsboro, North Carolina
What to order: Big-Que Sandwich. The chopped whole-hog meat is varnished with a vinegar-based sauce and served with lacy slaw.

Southern Soul Barbecue
Where: St. Simon’s, Georgia
What to order: Pulled Pork Sandwich. The signature pork derives its profound flavors from fourteen hours spent luxuriating in oak smoke and a secret “soul seasoning.”

More from Garden & Gun:

Barbecue 101
Barbecue Road Trip
Guide to the Best Barbecue Sauces
How to Make Your Own BBQ Bitters
Secret South: Barbecue Pits