Napa Valley’s Best BBQ Joints

Yeah, summer usually gets all the glory when it comes to barbecue, but all that savory deliciousness is too good not to spread over the rest of the year, right? And fall is the perfect time to enjoy some juicy ribs, chicken, or tri-tip, especially with a glass of new-release Cabernet or Merlot in your hand. Plus, barbecue joints are usually super family-friendly, so are excellent choices for lunch or dinner with the whole brood. Here are some of our local favorites:

Bounty Hunter – If you intend to wash your meal down with an adult beverage, head straight to this spot in downtown Napa, which offers 40 wines by the glass, 400 wines by the bottle, Guinness on tap, artisanal beers, and rare spirits. Their signature dish is the Beer Can Chicken, but don’t hesitate to try the Smokin’ St. Louis Cut Ribs or the Smokin’ BBQ Platter.

The Q – Located in the easily accessible Bel Aire Shopping Center, this place is a great venue for kids. They have an excellent range of sides and sandwiches, but we’d steer you directly to the cherry-wood-smoked BBQ like the baby back ribs, beef brisket, or combo plate.

Red Rock Café & Back Door BBQ – Since this no-frills spot has been in business for 35 years, it has pretty much perfected its sauce and its ribs, chicken, and tri-tip dishes. Plus some great sides like mac & cheese, baked beans, slaw, and corn muffins.

Addendum – Can’t decide between going to the French Laundry or ordering some barbecue? I hate it when that happens. Lucky for you there’s Addendum, Thomas Keller’s “footnote” to his family-style Ad Hoc restaurant. Boxed lunches are served to-go from Thursday through Saturday, and if you place your order online you can skip the line. For $16.50, you have a choice of either the buttermilk fried chicken, barbeque pork ribs, or pulled pork sandwich, each with two sides.

Smokey’s & The Oyster Guy – One of Napa’s best-loved food trucks, located at 386 Soscol Avenue. In addition to the usual BBQ favorites, they offer a mean grilled shrimp sandwich, BBQ tacos, and BBQ oysters.

Buster’s – An up valley favorite, Buster’s is located on Foothill Blvd., right at the entrance to Calistoga. The rustic outdoor seating, with ribs on the wood-fired grill just over there, will put you in the mood for this classic, sweet Southern-style barbecue. No wine or beer served, but the meat is so good you may forget about that. Buster’s is routinely voted “best barbecue” in the North Bay, and is promising to add oysters to its menu soon.

Photo credit: Lisa Diederich Photography

Kirsten Mickelwait is a St. Helena-based writer who has lived and raised her family in the Napa Valley for nearly 20 years.

2 Comments

  • Reply September 22, 2015

    Susan Hamilton

    Checkout The Shed – Best BBQ EVER! Just opened at Stanley Lane Pumpkin Patch – all Napa locals know the way!

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