Where to Eat When You Can't Grill

Barbecue, burgers and dogs: 6 Boston restaurants fire up tasty, all-American summer food

'Tis the season to break out the grill, but travelers in summer mode need to search out kitchens that do the grilling for them. Fortunately for travelers to Boston, there’s no shortage of barbecue, burger and dog joints in this town.

BBQ Bests

Jonesing for barbecue? Stop by Sweet Cheeks Q. Before she opened her barbecue palace down the street from Fenway Park, chef Tiffani Faison (she was a finalist on the first season of Bravo’s Top Chef) ate her way through the American South looking for inspiration. Faison recreates her travels with dishes like Berkshire pork belly, pulled chicken, fried okra and freshly baked, flaky biscuits that you slather with honey butter.
1381 Boylston St., Boston, 617.266.1300

You’ll need GPS (or a savvy cabbie) to find M&M Ribs but the trek will be worth it. This food truck-cum-smoker, parked in a vacant lot on the corner of Hampden and Kemble streets in Roxbury, serves some of the best ribs, pulled pork and brisket north of the Mason-Dixon line. Save room for sweet potato pie and check their Twitter account for food truck festival appearances.
91 Hampden St., Boston, 617.306.0788

Redbones in Davis Square, Somerville has been dishing up barbecue since 1987. Choose between Memphis, Texas, St. Louis and Arkansas style ribs or try the barbecue hash, jerk beef or homemade daily sausage. Classic sides include collard greens, candied yams, dirty rice and mac and cheese. If you’re hankering for fried catfish and hush puppies, this is the place to go. 
55 Chester St., Somerville, 617.628.2200

bristol burger
The Bristol Burger (Courtesy The Bristol)

Burgers on Order

Burgers in Boston don’t get better than the Bristol Burger at the Four Seasons Hotel’s luxe The Bristol. House-ground chuck is hand-formed and chargrilled and served on a brioche bun with aged Vermont cheddar, lettuce, tomato and Bermuda onion. If you feel like it, skip the bun and order it wrapped in lettuce and/or accessorize with toppings like bacon, fried egg, avocado, balsamic onions and cherry pepper relish.
200 Boylston St., Boston, 617.351.2037

At R. F. O’Sullivan & Son, enjoy all the smoky goodness of a charcoal grilled hamburger with none of the headaches of grilling it yourself. This crowded Somerville roadhouse boasts over two dozen burgers—from the Feta n’ Cheddar to the crushed black pepper and blue cheese topped Black & Blue. O’Sullivan’s burger is a half a pound of sirloin and so large you have to compress it with your hands in order to get it into your mouth.
282 Beacon St., Somerville, 617.492.7773

Bow Wow!

There always seems to be a line at Simco’s, the Mattapan hot dog stand that’s been selling wieners since the 1930s. How do you know it’s summertime in Boston? When you’re wolfing down a grilled, all-beef dog, nestled in a pillowy roll with mustard and relish, while standing on the sidewalk under the place's iconic dachshund sign. And don't forget to order a vanilla frappe.
1509 Blue Hill Ave., Mattapan, 617.296.3800