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What Louisville, Kentucky probably brings to mind first is big hats, fast horses, and mint juleps, but while you’re there for the Derby, you’ll probably get hungry – and then you’ll discover that at its heart, Louisville is great for foodies. Barbecue has always been a big part of Kentucky’s local culture, and here are our picks for the 10 best places to get it in the state’s largest city.
Located right on the mighty Ohio River, River Road BBQ embraces the true spirit of the city. As soon as you open your car door, the smell of smoked meat drifting out from the smoker will embrace your senses and pull you in. They are most famous for their brisket, which is tender and flavorful. The most popular sides are the coleslaw, baked beans, and especially the potato salad, but you really can’t go wrong. This is a no-frills sort of a place and the amount of seating inside is limited, but once you taste the food, you’ll see that they’ve spent their energy on perfecting that.
River Road BBQ, 3017 River Rd, Louisville, KY, USA, +1 502 592 7065
Ditto’s isn’t your typical barbecue joint, but that doesn’t mean that their food is any less delicious. Barbecue is just one of the styles of cuisine that influences their menu, so you’ll find the southern dishes you know and love with completely new and exciting twists. Assuming you’re coming for some meat, their burgers really show off their grilling skills and creativity, but their beef and pork chops are also excellent. Other barbecue-themed options include sweet potato fries, Buffalo wings, and some classic sides, like the loaded baked potato and the mac and cheese. When you can’t quite decide whether you want some ‘cue or not, this is the place to come.
Ditto’s Grill, 1114 Bardstown Rd, Louisville, KY, USA, +1 502 581 9129
You’ll feel like you’re walking into a fire station when you walk into FDKY – which is exactly what the owners of this feisty barbecue joint want. They’ve got their own particular flavor, which comes from their three unique sauces that you’ll find on every table – KY Sweet (sweet, tomato-based), KY Rain (tangy, vinegar-based), and Chicago Fire (spicy). They’re especially well known for their award-winning pulled pork and their spicy sausages, which are really not for the faint of heart. Another very popular option is their weekly Fryday Fish, but come early – the fish won’t last forever.
FDKY, 9606 Taylorsville Rd, Louisville, KY, USA, +1 502 785 4273