Best BBQ in Beaufort, SC: Top 5 Barbecue Restaurants (2023)

Aerial View of Beaufort SC

When in Low Country, you’re guaranteed to find a plate of tasty food on just about any street corner. And Barbecue is an essential element of Southern tradition with a variety of techniques and approaches. A variety of ingredients, cooking utensils, types of meat, and sauces all come into play when it comes to BBQ.

Each region of the South puts its own spin on this traditional meal. You’ll notice different tangs and tastes, from the Carolinas to Texas, that make a region’s BBQ special. Beaufort is no exception to this rule. Here’s a list of the best BBQ in Beaufort, SC.

History of Beaufort

Sheldon Church in Beaufort SC
Sheldon Church Ruins in Beaufort, SC

If you are unfamiliar with the South, you may have never heard of Beaufort, SC. This small town is hidden on Port Royal Island between Savannah and Charleston.

Although it’s a small town, it’s got a big presence in Hollywood. Beaufort is the filming location for big-screen movies such as:

  • Forrest Gump
  • The Prince of Tides
  • The Big Chill

On top of providing the charming backdrop to a few films, Beaufort is also considered a “Birthplace of Barbecue” in the southeastern United States.

Top 5 BBQ Places in Beaufort, SC 

As the “Birthplace of BBQ,” Beaufort has an excellent reputation for its tangy, smokey plates of BBQ. Below is a list of the top 5 spots to sink your teeth into some delicious BBQ. Take a look for more details! 

1. Dukes Barbecue 

Dukes BBQ of Beaufort is easily one of the most popular BBQ restaurants in South Carolina. In fact, Dukes was recognized by Southern Living as one of the “Best BBQ Restaurants in the United States.”

Since 1946, the company has prided itself on being family-owned. Each of the 25 locations is owned and operated by part of the Duke family, with the exception of just three restaurants. 

This southern buffet-style establishment gives the feel of being at your grandmother’s house, packed with hospitable southern charm and friendly staff. You can serve yourself firsts, seconds, and even thirds of all the fan favorites. 

Locals and visitors love the pulled pork, hash, fried okra, and BBQ fried chicken. Don’t forget to finish it all off with homemade banana pudding! 

Location: 1509 Salem Rd, Beaufort, SC 29902

Duke’s Menu Here

2. Q on Bay

Q on Bay is another hot spot located in downtown Beaufort. It’s known for its relaxing atmosphere and mouthwatering, creative BBQ. All of the food is locally sourced, so you know you’re getting true Carolina BBQ! 

Owners, Jason and Chris, turned their passion for hosting friends and family at backyard barbecues into an award-winning business. 

Some of the favorites on Q’s menu are the pulled pork, brisket, ribs, smoked chicken, and especially the wings. Q on Bay’s wings are dry brined, smoked, rested, then fried to order. Variations of flavor include plain, buffalo, medium, hot, tiger, and white tiger. 

Location: 822 Bay St, Beaufort, SC 29902

Q’s on Bay Menu Here

3. KC Mike’s Smokin’

KC Mike’s Smokin’ brings a little Kansas City to the Lowcountry. KC Mike’s claim to fame is their Brunswick Stew. For the northerners out there, this is a traditional Southern side dish originally made of squirrels, onions, bacon, and a mix of other ingredients.

KC Mike makes his with smoked pork butt, smoked beef brisket, smoked chicken breast, vegetables, and seasonings all within a tomato base.

In addition to the Brunswick Stew, KC Mike’s regulars love the barbecue as well as the extra non-BBQ items like:

  • the wild American Shrimp PoBoy
  • Nancy Dog
  • and Fish and Chips

Location: 2001 Boundary Street, Beaufort, SC 29902

KC Mike’s Smokin’ Menu

4. Roadhouse Ribs 

Roadhouse Ribs claims to be “The Best Barbecue in Beaufort County.” But what gives them the confidence to make this statement?

Fans rave about their saucy, handcrafted BBQ plates. Roadhouse’s meats are dry rubbed with brown sugar and slow-smoked in an oak and pecan wood-filled smoker that is custom designed to create an amazing flavor for your taste buds to enjoy.

A unique feature of Roadhouse Ribs is the fact that they bring BBQ styles from all regions of the South to one spot to create the perfect place to enjoy the classic southern fare. You’ll find:

  • South Carolina’s mustard base
  • Texas’s sweet style
  • and Tennessee’s famous dry rub

Location: 7 Toppers Lane, Beaufort, SC 29906

Roadhouse Ribs’ Menu

5. The Smokehouse at Paris Avenue 

The Smokehouse is a cozy, local favorite. Although not technically in Beaufort, it’s worth a short drive down Bay Street to Port Royal.

Head Chef, Jason has been in the business for over 20 years and prepared meals for royalty, politicians, entertainers, and even famous sports figures! 

The pulled pork and brisket sandwiches are among some of the menu’s top items. These two will have you in hog heaven! The Smokehouse also offers specialty dishes, platters, seafood, and desserts. 

Location: 914 Paris Ave, Port Royal, SC 29935

The Smokehouse at Paris Avenue Menu


Barbecue is a Southern tradition that dates back generations. The smokey, tangy flavors paired with hearty sides are the definition of southern comfort food. Beaufort is known to be the “Birthplace of BBQ,” so you know you’re in for something special when you walk into a restaurant in this small town in South Carolina.

Each restaurant on our list has its own creative barbecue style, so you might need to try them all to decide on your favorite. Variations of meat, sauces, and seasonings will create a completely different meal. Some of our favorites are Dukes, Roadhouse Ribs, and Q on Bay. 

Looking for some more fun in South Carolina? Take a drive over to coastal paradise, Johns Island, or the exciting waterparks in Myrtle Beach to take in all that Lowcountry has to offer!

And if you’re interested, I recommend trying to barbecue at home. It’s a great (and efficient) way to host friends for tailgates, parties, and events during college football season.

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