Detroit Black-Owned Spots to Feast on Good Barbecue

From burnt ends to brisket and beyond, these are your best favorite Black-owned spots for smoked meat in Detroit

Vicki’s Bar-B-Q

From burnt ends to brisket and beyond, these are our best favorite Black-owned spots for smoked meat in Detroit. You’ll notice that most of the barbecue restaurants are named after their owners. That’s because they put their foot in every stock of sauce, in every curated piece of meat and every serving. These are family-owned eateries with recipes that have been handed down for generations.

1. Bert’s Marketplace

Bert’s Marketplace

Bert Dearing Jr. opened this Eastern Market staple in 1987. Today the smells of smoked ribs (not to mention the sounds of karaoke) add to the lively scene on Saturdays on market day. Bert’s signature soul food can also be had throughout the week as well as a stand at Comerica Park. Bert’s Marketplace, 2727 Russell St., Detroit; 313-567-2030;

2. Joe Ann’s BBQ

Detroit is home to many family-owned barbecue joints, including this one that’s been in business for 70 years. In addition to the standby barbecued pork, beef, and chicken, there’s also shrimp, catfish, and whiting, as well as turkey wings and the turkey snack. Joe Ann’s BBQ, 3139 Jerome St., Detroit; 313-307-4950;

3. Nunn’s BBQ II

Wiley Nunn, a retiree from Chrysler after 32 years, opened Nunn’s Barbeque Restaurant to share his Southern-style barbeque in 1984. Sadly, 20 years later, a fire trapped Nunn in the restaurant, killing the patriarch of the business. His son, Al, reopened the business as Nunn’s BBQ II two years later, keeping his father’s original recipes and legacy alive. The ribs are cooked on a 10-foot charcoal grill before going into the smoker, resulting in Nunn’s signature flavor. In addition to rib tips, pulled pork, turkey ribs, and rotisserie chicken, there’s also pig’s feet, fish, and shrimp. Homemade desserts like peach cobbler, banana pudding, sweet potato pie, or pound cake round out the meal. Nunn’s BBQ II, 19196 Conant St., Detroit; 313-893-7210;

4. Parks Old-Style B-B-Q

Parks Old Style Bar-B-Q was founded in 1964 by Edward “Terry” Parks, a former postal worker, and Verna Parks, a Detroit Public Schools counselor. Today it’s run by a new generation of Parks grandchildren who have kept up the family legacy of ribs and chicken basted with its housemade vinegar-based sauces and then cooked low and slow in a pit over hardwood, fruit wood, and charcoal. Parks Old-Style B-B-Q, 7444 Beaubien St., Detroit; 313-873-7444;

5. Vicki’s Bar-B-Q

Before it was a beloved barbecue spot, Vicki’s was “Vicki’s Shrimp Hut” in the late ’50s. Owners Fairfield and Vicki Butler added pork spareribs to the menu in 1964 to differentiate itself from another shrimp hut, and Vicki’s Bar-B-Q was born. In 2013 Vicki’s was featured in Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown,” but it was deleted from the airing of the first Detroit episode. It was later included on a “Parts Unknown Revisited.” The Butlers’ son ran the businesses until late 2020. Today it’s run by longtime Detroit restaurateur and caterer Barry Winfree, who has carried on the tradition of Vicki’s signature charcoal grilled ribs and sauce. Vicki’s Bar-B-Q, 3845 W. Warren Ave., Detroit; 313-894-9906;

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