7 BBQ Pit Stops in Pittsburgh

Ah, that blissful time of year has returned—the season where the air carries the promise of warm evenings, outdoor gatherings, and the tantalizing aroma of BBQ drifting on the summer breeze.

And in Pittsburgh, it’s not just any barbecue scene—it’s a vibrant melting pot of flavors, from Brazilian Churrasco to Japanese Yakiniku, offering a feast for the senses. Join us as we explore the Pittsburgh’s top BBQ pit stops, uncovering secret sauces and seeking the perfect char. Bring your appetite, dive into the flavors, and maybe bring some stretchy pants, just in case…

Off the Rails Barbeque and Drafthouse

549 Allegheny River Blvd, Verona

Ken Shields, once a tech whiz turned barbecue aficionado, made a bold move when he opened Off the Rails Barbeque in Verona, PA. And it’s been a flavor-packed journey ever since. At Off the Rails, it’s all about the brisket. Think slow-smoked Texas-style goodness, sliced or chopped, piled high on Breadworks buns, or loaded onto fries with all the fixings. Not a brisket fan? No worries—tender pulled chicken, marinated and smoked to juicy perfection, is also on the menu for those seeking a poultry fix. Craft beer and live music round out the experience, making it feel like a backyard cookout, but with way more flavor and way less cleanup.


4115 Butler St, Pittsburgh

Smoke started with a simple idea—a craving, really—for smoked meat on a tortilla. Jeff Petruso, the brains behind the operation, tinkered with the concept until it felt just right. This Lawrenceville spot is all about reimagining familiar barbecue classics in taco form. Brisket, pulled pork, and mac and cheese—all the usual trappings—are snugly wrapped up in a tortilla. It’s an unexpected fusion of flavors that adds a new dimension to traditional barbecue. Take the Brisket Taco, for example—slow-smoked to perfection and paired with sautéed hot chiles and onions. What’s the secret sauce? Well, besides the actual sauces (a whole variety, by the way), everything’s made in-house, from the tortillas to the smoked meats.

Fat Head’s Saloon

1805 E Carson St, Pittsburgh

Come for the beer, stay for the smoked-meat sandwiches. Fat Head’s boasts a lineup of brews that have garnered a loyal following in the craft beer scene. But it’s not just about the beer—oh no. Fat Head’s has also carved out a cult following for its legendary Headwiches. With three homemade rubs and hardwood smoking of meats, these sandwiches marry the best of barbecue with the convenience of handheld fare. Try The Hurley, featuring house-smoked brisket, kickin’ bourbon BBQ sauce, and crispy onion strings. Or Mark’s Mighty Fine Bovine, a flavorful combination of house-smoked brisket, pastrami, Swiss cheese, spicy kraut, and garlic mayo.

Gaucho Parrilla Argentina

146 6th St, Pittsburgh

Gaucho’s story began in 2012, a dream realized by Chef Proprietor Anthony Falcon. What sets them apart? A hot and fast barbecue process, a departure from the slow and sweet norm. A defining moment for the restaurant was when none other than Pope Francis put them on the map. Celebrity customers aside, the food offers a complete flavor explosion. Their Parrillada Mixta is a meat lover’s dream, with steak, chicken, and chorizo sizzling on a platter. For seafood lovers, there’s the Paella Del Gaucho— calamari, shrimp, fish, mussels, and sausage, all mingling in a rich Achiote seafood broth, with charred tomato and lemon. Vegetarians, don’t worry, the grilled vegetable platter is a celebration of seasonal bounty and a nod to sustainable and locally sourced fare.

Fogo de Chão

525 Smithfield St, Pittsburgh

Alright, gather ’round, meat lovers! Fogo de Chão isn’t just any old steakhouse – it’s a carnivore’s paradise, Brazilian style. Imagine this: endless cuts of juicy, flame-roasted meat, sliced right at your table by suave gaucho chefs. If you want to go all out, try their signature Churrasco Experience, featuring Picanha (signature sirloin), Filet Mignon, Ribeye, Brazilian sirloin, and lamb, all carved to perfection. Beyond the meat, traditional Brazilian sides like warm cheese bread and caramelized bananas add that extra touch of authenticity. Feeling a bit fancy? Indulge in their premium picks like Dry-Aged Tomahawk or decadent Wagyu beef. Wash it all down with a caipirinha or two, and you’ve got yourself a party worth celebrating.

Walter’s BBQ Southern Kitchen

4501 Butler St, Pittsburgh

Walter’s offers a primo patio situation, perfect for soaking up the sun while you chow down on some BBQ and drink bottomless mimosas. From juicy brisket to fall-off-the-bone ribs to pulled-pork sandwiches, there are plenty of smoked options to choose from. And if you’re not in the mood for BBQ (although we can’t imagine why), they’ve got Southern staples like fried chicken and waffles. But it’s not just about the food (although let’s be real, that’s a big part of it). There are games galore to make it a leisurely, summer hangout. Cornhole or giant Jenga showdown, anyone?


4305 Main St, Pittsburgh

At COBRA, it’s all about grillin’ and chillin’. This Japanese BBQ spot flips the script on traditional Yakiniku, offering a modern twist with smokeless grilling and inventive plates. Their Yakiniku room sets the stage for a memorable dining affair, with ten private tables equipped with bespoke smokeless grills for that interactive, family-style experience. Dive into a selection of precisely butchered American Prime Beef, American Wagyu Beef, and rare Japanese A5 Beef, complemented by Kurobuta Pork, seafood, and local produce. For sides to go, try their Charred Broccolini with yuzu-shallot confit or the Grilled Bok Choy with sweet red miso glaze and sesame. After dinner, transition to the bar or a private karaoke room to make a fun night out of it.

Story by Aakanksha Agarwal / Photo Courtesy of COBRA

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