Best Barbecues

Mighty meaty options for a no-fuss, no-clean-up meal.
Baker's Ribs' chopped pork sandwich

Hey, carnivores, do you crave the slow-roasted goodness of baby back ribs or brisket, yet find yourself short on the time it takes for all that preparation – the seasoning, the smoking, the braising or grilling?  These local restaurants are more than willing to stand in when you need a night out of the kitchen but still have mouths to feed.

Chopped Pork

Baker's Ribs

Things don’t change much at Baker’s Ribs. In fact, the same menu has been running since this popular rib joint opened up 16 years ago. Customers just can’t seem to get enough of the chopped pork – pork shoulder that’s been wood-smoked for 12 – 16 hours until it’s fall-apart tender, then chopped up and made into sandwiches, served a la carte ($5.79), or as a pork plate ($10.95) with a half pound of pork, Texas toast and two sides, like the popular potato salad, baked beans or dirty rice. When sold by the pound ($14.99/lb), it’s a takeaway treat that works well for backyard gatherings and summer parties. The restaurant also makes its own barbecue sauce, a tangy-sweet sauce with medium heat. 8019 Glen Ln., Eden Prairie; 952.942.5337

Longhorn Sandwich

Crumb Gourmet Deli

If you roast your own beef in house, like they do at Crumb Gourmet Deli, you’re already off to a good start as far as making a killer roast beef sandwich. When you order a longhorn sandwich ($6.95), they take that sliced roast beef and place it in a marinade of house-made, smoky barbecue sauce to warm it up. The sandwich is served with melted cheddar cheese on a toasted French roll. The obvious choice of sides is the coleslaw, also made from scratch, balanced in flavor by the combination of mayonnaise, vinegar and a little sour cream. Other options for sides include fruit, chips, homemade coleslaw or a homemade Italian pasta salad made with tomatoes, feta and herbs. The menu is also available for catering, with free delivery in Eden Prairie. Not surprisingly, sandwiches like the dip, the Philly and longhorn, all playing up that homemade roast beef, are the biggest sellers here.  7910 Mitchell Rd., Eden Prairie; 952.934.1717

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Homemade Pizza Co.

Swap out the tomato sauce for barbecue sauce on a pizza, and you get an inspired take on a classic American favorite. At Homemade Pizza Co., the barbecue chicken pizza ($10.75 - $17.95) is made with an olive oil base, topped with cheese, an all-natural barbecue sauce, barbecued chicken, red onion and fresh cut cilantro. It’s one of the company’s staples, so pick one up for yourself and pop it in the oven for an easy weeknight meal. Look for summer specials like salads and featured seasonal pizzas. 10165 Hennepin Town Rd., Eden Prairie; 952.942.6000

Smoke Pit Platter

Jake’s City Grille

If you’re stumped about whether to order the beef brisket or pork spareribs from the barbecue menu at Jake’s City Grille, go for the smoke pit platter ($23.95) and get the best of both, plus herb-roasted chicken to boot. Items from the pit are smoked with mesquite wood in the restaurant’s own smoker. The brisket and ribs are brushed with a house made barbecue sauce and the ribs are finished on the grill. All are served with your choice of gouda au gratins, fries, garlic mashed potatoes or roasted seasonal vegetables, and come with coleslaw and cornbread. Jake’s famous sweet-and-spicy wings also afford a taste of the grill and are likely to inspire your loyalty, served with celery and blue cheese dressing. 12365 Singletree Ln., Eden Prairie; 952.930.3742

BBQ Ribs

Victoria House

We’d all just about give an eye tooth for fall-off-the-bone ribs. For chef Nick Leffler, the secret to getting the BBQ ribs at Victoria House just that tender is keeping the temperature low enough and making sure there’s plenty of liquid when braising the baby back pork ribs. After several hours of cooking, they are seasoned with a little bit of Cajun spice and served with a classic homemade barbecue sauce. Entrees come with soup or salad and a choice of sides like au gratin potatoes or French fries. Order them by the half rack ($17.99), full rack ($23.99) or rack and a half ($31.99). That same homemade barbecue sauce delivers a nice tang to the barbecued chicken wings and the barbecue burger with sliced ham, Swiss cheese and fried onions. 1715 Steiger Lake Ln., Victoria; 952.443.2858

BBQ, Bacon & Cheese Burger

Smashburger

If you’re hopelessly hooked on those Smashburgers, you’re going to love the BBQ, bacon and cheese burger ($4.99 - $6.99). It’s adorned with toppings – KC Masterpiece brand barbecue sauce, applewood smoked bacon, haystack onions and choice of cheese (cheddar is the predominant choice among customers) – and served on an egg bun. If you’re vegetarian but looking for a barbecue-inspired taste, you can also order the black bean burger with this topping combination (minus the bacon, of course!). 8045 Flying Cloud Dr., Eden Prairie; 952.943.9010

Buffalo Chicken Melt

Roly Poly

Are you bored stiff with your workday lunches? There’s a way to spice up your midday meal at Roly Poly. Try the Buffalo chicken melt, made with sliced chicken breast, red hot wing sauce, tomato, mushrooms, onion and a side of ranch dressing ($3.95/6 inch, $6.25/12 inch). Slim it down with the Buffalo Slim, a more health-conscious version made with a whole-wheat tortilla instead of white, a reduced fat cheddar cheese and fat free ranch. Both sandwiches are heated on a double-sided grill to melt the cheese. Cool it down with a side of potato chip pasta salad or a fresh green salad. The menu is also available for catering and boxed lunches. 7733 Flying Cloud Dr., Eden Prairie; 952.224.3604