For all those who left their southern BBQ home for broader horizons, I feel your pain of locating the best places to get a taste of home. While attending college in central Ohio, I have been able to narrow down the five best places to take a mental food trip back home to southern BBQ.
Located 10 minutes outside of Columbus, this modern take on BBQ is definitely worth the trip. Not only does this BBQ joint have your typical BBQ options, they offer 500-calorie-and-under meals as well as salads. No matter what you're in the mood for, City Barbecue has you covered. (P.S. They have sweet tea, too! Super rare in Ohio and definitely appreciated.)
Location: 1195 W Church St, Newark, OH 4305
The small BBQ joint seems right at home next to the big city of Columbus. Their ribs, beef brisket, and cheesy potatoes will make anyone a fan of slow cooked BBQ. Located minutes away from Ohio States' campus, this is the perfect place for a pregame meal.
Location: 580 W. Coshoctan Street, Johnston, Ohio 4303
Ray's isn't actually a stand-alone restauran—it's a food truck. It sets up shop right in the city of Columbus. For a small food truck, it not only makes awesome BBQ, but it also has caught the attention of the Big Ten Network, when it was featured on their segment, "Campus Eats," as a feature for Ohio States' game day.
They are most famous for their ribs cooked right on site, but also dabble in creative BBQ options as well. For example, the Meat Corn. All in all, Ray Ray's is a must on game days.
Location: 2619 N High St, Columbus, OH 432
Boondocks takes the cake on the most authentic-looking BBQ joint on the list. Don't let this small, tin roof restaurant fool you into not stopping for a bite to eat. The ribs and pulled pork sandwich are well worth your while. Boondocks is also known for their variety in meal style options including: Tex-Mex and cajun! All in all, you can't go wrong when you stop at Boondocks.
Location: 4651 OH-60, McConnelsville, OH 4375
Moe's is located in Granville, Ohio, just down the hill from Denison University. Originating from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, owners Ben Gilbert, Mike Fernandez, and Jeff Kennedy took their cooking to Colorado where they were able to refine their southern cooking skills and their version of southern BBQ.
Their Alabama-style BBQ is a combination of family recipes and years of focusing on what really makes good southern BBQ. Any and everything is a home run at Moe's.
Location: 128 E Broadway, Granville, OH 4302Food is comfort, and no one does comfort food like the south. Southern -tyle BBQ is one of the ways that I've found to connect back to my southern roots while going to school in Ohio. And for the record, Ohio has some damn good BBQ.