There is no shortage of white-napkin eateries and bottle-service clubs in Sin City, but sometimes you want to swap those options for a wet-nap and cold brew.
While it’s a little north of traditional smoked meat territory, Las Vegas has managed to bring Texas- and Tennessee-style BBQ to a few select restaurants.When you aren’t in the mood to don a tie or high heels, swing by one of these places for a hands-on dining experience.
A favorite of Trip Advisor reviewers and locals alike, John Mull’s Road Kill Grill has been serving piles of meat and tempting sides for over 50 years. This butcher and eatery rolled into one makes sure you are getting the freshest cuts available before your meal is soaked in spices and marinades made from scratch. Technically, this isn’t a restaurant and all food is “to go,” but there are plenty of picnic tables on the patio where people tend to hang out and eat.
If your meal was too good to eat just once, the meat market offers beef, pork, chicken, turkey, sausage, lunch meats, smoked meats, goat, fish, cheese, and even treats for your carnivorous pets to take home.
Not only will you be getting a huge helping of delicious BBQ, you’ll be getting it on a budget! The biggest plate – a three-meat combo – is just $16.65 and you can get a brisket dinner for $12. Classic sides like potato salad, baked beans, and mac-and-cheese are all under $3.
Location: 3730 Thom Blvd., Las Vegas.
If there is such a thing as a “classic” BBQ restaurant, Rollin Smoke is it. From the owner’s Arkansas roots to a menu full of smoked meats and fruit cobblers, your stomach is sure to be satisfied. An address close to the strip (and another on Highland Drive) can verify the success of this cafeteria-style BBQ restaurant. It’s not all brisket and ribs; you can also get southern dishes like catfish pie. The smoked meatloaf – served on top of loaded mash with “‘MaMa’s’ Sweet D-Licious Sauce” and fried onion rings – was featured on the Travel Channel.
Upstairs from the meat-slinging, face-stuffing bottom floor is a full bar with an open-air patio overlooking the the Strip. Here you’ll find a selection of local beers, including the Rollin Smoke Amber Ale. Rick Harrison, best known from his time on Pawn Stars, is a partner in the business and will often stop by to bartend or sign merchandise.
Locations: 725 S Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas; 3185 Highland Dr, Las Vegas.
Inside the Ellis Island Casino and Brewery hides a local favorite that claims to “set the standard for what BBQ should be.” Apparently, it is doing a pretty good job; Trip Advisor reviewers claim the BBQ was “the best [they] have found anywhere in the world.” The menu here is brief – your only options are ribs and chicken – but you may just get the best version of those two things that Las Vegas has to offer.
You must be 21 years old to dine in the restaurant, but it’s hardly an inconvenience as the house-made brews are one of Ellis’ best features. Light, amber, weiss, IPA, stouts and non-alcoholic root beers are available all year, with seasonal options like hard root beer, hard lemonade, Oktoberfest, winter spiced ale, and red Irish ale popping up when the weather calls for them.
Like other options on this list, the Ellis Island BBQ is great value – full racks of baby back ribs are $17 and all entrees come with baked beans, corn on the cob, coleslaw, and garlic bread.
Location: 4178 Koval Lane, Las Vegas.
Mike Mills isn’t in the official Barbecue Hall of Fame for nothing. He’ been named World Champion at the “Memphis in May” BBQ contest three times, and now he’s brought his talents to two Las Vegas locations.
The secret to his success? All the meat is slowly cooked with applewood, which brings a sweetness not always readily available in this style of cuisine. The appetizers also set this restaurant apart: southern fried dill pickles (featured in the New York Times), made-to-order pork rinds, and potato skins stuffed with barbecued pork make this meal a little different than others available in the area.
Be sure to try a “down-home dessert” if you have room – banana pudding, strawberry shortcake and pecan pie are ideal southern treats that will send you off with a bang.
Locations: 4379 N. Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas; 2250 E Warm Springs Rd., Las Vegas.
Featured photo credit: Rollin Smoke Barbeque.
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