BBQ Restaurants in Pinole

Select Local Merchants

After walking under the turquoise awning and past the brick façade of Abby's Grill, diners can dig into grilled seafood and pork marinated in the restaurant's secret sauce. The polished surfaces of wood tables gleam in the light streaming through the eatery's tall windows, which provide opportunities to watch passersby or attempt to intimidate parking meters with icy glares.

2320 San Pablo Ave
Pinole,
CA
US

Spiced up by the saucy skills of chef Howie “Bulldog” Kleinberg, who was on Top Chef Miami, Bulldog Barbecue's menu features no-frills, North Carolina–style barbecue. Hearty options—such as the popular beef brisket ($18), shrimp and grits ($18), and baby back ribs ($15–$23), all of which come with Carolina slaw, cornbread, and your choice of side—satisfy stomachs with unmatched sass. Non-carnivores can focus on the selection of fresh salads or a smoked portobello burger with caramelized onions and balsamic mayo ($9). Unlike most restaurants 500 miles beneath the earth's surface, Bulldog Barbecue provides drink items, allowing guests to fight off dehydration with made-to-order lemonade ($2); a root-beer float ($4); or a choice of red wines, white wines, or bubblies.

601 Main St
Martinez,
CA
US

The cooks at Smokey J's prep handmade, slow-smoked barbecue dishes, making their own sauces and sausages in-house. They rub meats with brown sugar and a secret house spice rub. Pulled pork and brisket are slow-smoked for 12 hours in a medley of maple, mesquite, and whiskey barrel wood chips, and collard greens and baked beans simmer in a chicken and pork broth. Zesty spices and sauces augment many of the meats, such as the piquant North Carolina sauce and the house dry rub.

3015 Shattuck Ave
Berkeley,
CA
US

Big Jim’s BBQ entrances diners with a menu of tempting contemporary and barbecue cuisine arranged by chef Jim Modesitt. Like the annual westward migration of wood-smoking grills, the sauce-slathered bill of fare unites gourmet California treats with rustic southern cooking traditions, pairing juicy pulled pork, chicken, ribs, and brisket with hearty risottos, traditional cornbreads and beans, assorted cheeses, and crostinis. As clients sup on the tasty bounty or enroll in courses to learn the dark arts of cookcraft from the kitchen’s professional chefs and caterers, rich flavors and aromas lavish the nose and palate with a sensory celebration of fine food.

454 Las Gallinas Ave
San Rafael,
CA
US

The executive chef at Back Forty Texas BBQ Roadhouse and Saloon scripts a menu of authentic Texas recipes that pile plates high with tender meats and down-home sides. As diners stroll into the bright red roadhouse, noses sniff out smoky tendrils emerging from custom Southern Pride cookers where pork ribs, beef brisket, and barbecue chicken turn slowly for 14 hours, much like exceptionally sleepy astronauts.

100 Coggins Dr
Pleasant Hill,
CA
US

Cuisine Type: Barbeque
Most popular offering: Smoked brisket
Reservations: Not offered
Kid-friendly: Yes
Delivery / Take-out Available: Yes
Alcohol: Beer and wine only
Number of Tables: 11–25
Outdoor Seating: No
Established: 2012
Parking: Parking lot
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Pro Tip: We are a counter-service restaurant

Q&A with Dan Frengs, Pit Master

In your own words, how would you describe your menu?
Our menu is simple, and its focus is on on the meat. We also have an amazing draft beer selection and are constantly rotating our taps, so we keep an eye out for variety and seasonality. We also select beers we feel pair well with our food. We make our sides and sauces from scratch, as well, and always use fresh ingredients in everything we make.

What made you want to work with food? When did you first develop that passion?
My passion began when I first started eating barbecue around the United States. I developed an awareness of how barbecue is done regionally throughout the country, and that inspired me to do my own backyard cooking—and eventually, to open my own restaurant.

1941 Oak Park Blvd
Pleasant Hill,
CA
US