May is National Barbecue Month. In honor of this warm-weather favorite, enjoy cold drinks, classic sides like coleslaw and mac and cheese and, of course, some smoked meats. Here are your top spots to visit in Philadelphia for the barbecue standard: pulled pork.
900 South St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
Percy Street has a reputation for being friendly — though a bit noisy — and is a great place for groups and Texas-style barbecue, which is wood smoked in authentic barbecue pits. A new menu was recently rolled out by Chef Erin O’Shea that strays a bit from the traditional, but the favorites are still there. O’Shea is finally getting the chance to show all that she can do. At $10, the pulled pork sandwich is a solid choice and comes topped with a unique slaw of red cabbage, apple and sesame. Sides include options like German potato salad, collard greens and homemade sauerkraut. For the full deal, choose the combo: For $21, you have your choice of meat, one side and one appetizer. The jalapeno skillet cornbread and lamb ribs come highly recommended, too. Wash it all down with a swig from the fine selection of whiskey and bourbon, locally made root beer or one (or a few) of the 110-plus craft can beers available.
8400 Germantown Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19118
Beer lovers will find that the brews alone make Iron Hill worth the trip. With an extensive collection of fine handcrafted suds, some of which are brewed in the restaurant, it can be hard to make a choice. Order a flight to try a few. In addition to the brews, this family-friendly spot serves comfortable American cuisine with creative twists such as macaroni and cheese made with chicken, butternut squash, ham, onion and sage. If barbecue is what you had in mind, order the hickory-smoked pulled pork that’s served in a Memphis-style barbecue sauce on a toasted bun with mixed greens or French fries, coleslaw and a pickle for $10.95. Substitute Iron Hill’s famous hand-cut sweet potato fries for an additional $2.75.
118 S. 20th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Village Whiskey brings the spirit of a speakeasy to Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Square with its dim lighting, black and white tiled floors, antique mirrors and pewter bar. As the name suggests, whiskey is a large focus of the establishment, which has over 80 varieties of whiskey, rye, scotch and bourbon available. But with Chef Jose Garces behind Village Whiskey, the food is certainly worth enjoying along with your drinks. In addition to your usual bar fare, choose from snacks like spicy popcorn shrimp, herb-roasted oysters and even a small raw bar. For something more substantial, order the pulled pork shoulder sandwich with whiskey barbecue sauce, coleslaw and a fried pickle for $12.
Related: Top Burger Joints in Philadelphia
7500 State Road
Philadelphia, PA 19136
Some people might mistake the pinkness of the meat served at Sweet Lucy’s as a sign of being undercooked, but the distinctive color, flavor and aroma is actually the result of cooking with wood in a closed pit. All of the meats served at Sweet Lucy’s are cooked low and slow for an authentic, hickory-smoked flavor. Try the pulled pork as a sandwich with two sides for $7.25, as a platter with three sides for $10.50 or order just the meat for $10.95 per pound. Sides like baked beans, macaroni and cheese, spicy collard greens or cucumber-tomato salad are the perfect complement to your meal. If you hate making choices, come in on a Monday night for the all-you-can-eat buffet from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Adults eat for $19.95, kids ages 5-10 are half price and kids under 5 are free. Try a little of everything, including pork, beef brisket, smoked turkey, mashed potatoes, corn bread, homemade desserts and more. Sweet Lucy’s is a BYOB, so don’t forget your favorite bottle when visiting.
1208 Frankford Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19125
In the fall of 2012, restaurateurs Joe Carrol and Stephen Starr joined forces to bring the success of Carroll’s Brooklyn barbecue joint by the same name to the Fishtown area of Philadelphia. German for “fat pig,” Fette Sau serves dry-rubbed meats sourced from local farms where the animals are raised without the use of hormones, antibiotics or steroids. And this is not a traditional sit-down restaurant; food is ordered at a counter cafeteria style and then can be taken home or enjoyed at long picnic tables or booths available on a first-come, first-serve basis. While the menu changes daily with a selection of meats to be purchased by the pound, the Berkshire pulled pork ($16 per pound) has emerged as a favorite for many. Simple sides like German potato salad, burnt-end baked beans and sour pickles round out the meal. Fette Sau is located right beside Stephen Starr’s popular biergarten Frankford Hall, but you don’t have to wait until after dinner to start drinking. The Fette Sau drink list boasts nine craft beers on tap, a cider, five wines and what has been called the best North American whiskey list in Philadelphia.