Jimmy Jack's Rib Shack

Iowa's Best BBQ: Jimmy Jack's Rib Shack, Iowa City
Photo Courtesy Jimmy Jack's Facebook

The place to go in Iowa City for great barbecue, Jimmy Jack's Rib Shack gets rave reviews for tender, smoky ribs and crispy fries. Housed inside a unique red barn, the fun and funky atmosphere is as memorable as the food.

Smokey D's BBQ

Iowa's Best BBQ: Smokey D's, Des Moines
Photo Courtesy Smokey D's Facebook

Stop in at Smokey D's in Des Moines and stare in awe at the wall full of well-deserved awards, like The American Royal World Series of BBQ 2016. Smokey D's is fresh, fast and finger-licking good. Try their winning brisket or the creamy macaroni and cheese for a satisfying lunch or dinner. It's hard to miss Smokey D's with three locations in the Des Moines area.

Old Armory BBQ

Iowa's Best BBQ: Old Armory BBQ, Decorah
Photo Courtesy Old Armory BBQ Facebook

Smoked meatloaf isn't something BBQ aficionados would normally think of. But ask the locals about this unique dish at Old Armory BBQ in Decorah, and they’ll tell you they swear by it. This joint is also known for great green beans, the sweetest sweet potato fries and friendly customer service. Appreciate the rustic decor of tin and rich wood trim adorning the inside of the restaurant.

Jethro's BBQ  n' LakeHouse

Iowa's Best BBQ: Jethro's BBQ n' Lakehouse, Ankeny

Large portions, hearty sides and heavenly smoked meats are bound to make you loosen your belt at Jethro's BBQ n' Lakehouse in Ankeny. (Several other locations exist around the greater Des Moines metro.) Try the pulled pork and the onion rings for a belly-busting dining experience. If you're up for an adventure, take on the Emmenecker Challenge. It dares a single diner to consume a sandwich made of a pork tenderloin, buffalo chicken tenders, fried cheese curds, white cheddar sauce, Texas brisket, Applewood smoked bacon, a cheeseburger a spicy pickle and a pound of waffle fries – all within 15 minutes.

Bett & Bev's BBQ

Iowa's Best BBQ: Bett & Bev's, Jefferson

Ever heard of frip pie? Homemade chips layered with pulled pork and baked beans and topped with the creamiest coleslaw is what the locals affectionately call “frip pie” from Bett & Bev's BBQ in Jefferson. Not into mixing your food? Have the hot beef instead. You won't miss out on great barbecue here.

Hickory Park

Iowa's Best BBQ: Hickory Park, Ames

Make room for chicken. Dine on a whole one, smoked of course, at Hickory Park in Ames. Popular among locals and visitors alike, Hickory Park is the site of time-honored family dining traditions. Save room for one of their tantalizing ice cream options, like a S’more Sundae or an Old Fashioned Parfait.

Twisted Tail

Iowa's Best BBQ: Twisted Tail, Beebeetown
Photo Courtesy Twisted Tail Facebook

A perfect stop after a drive in Iowa's remarkable Loess Hills, Twisted Tail in Beebeetown will satisfy that rumbling in your belly with spectacular ribs and a friendly atmosphere. Their sweet potato fries are no average potato. Have an order of these along with the ribs for the perfect meal.

Crazy Bob's BBQ

Iowa's Best BBQ: Crazy Bob's, Hartley
Photo Courtesy Crazy Bob's Facebook

Antique signs grace the walls of Crazy Bob's in Hartley where you'll find food such as green chili cornbread and brisket nachos. Make the trip see what all the buzz is about, and have the brownie sundae for dessert. It's the perfect ending to a scrumptious meal.

Flatted Fifth Blues & BBQ

Iowa's Best BBQ: Flatted Fifth Blues & BBQ, Bellevue
Photo Courtesy Flatted Fifth Blues & BBQ Facebook

Located in a historic grist mill, Flatted Fifth Blues & BBQ offers a palate-pleasing menu with a unique Southern flair. Bellevue locals rave about the restaurant's smoked brisket, gumbo and bread pudding. If you visit on a weekend, enjoy live blues music while you savor a taste of the South along the Mississippi River.