Lexington, Kentucky

The Carnivore

A two day experience of Lexington, KY's smoked meats and BBQ.

Tony's Restaurant

If you’re a fan of the smoked, the slow-roasted, the falling-off-the-bone and the sauce-drenched, look no further. Chefs around Lexington have found their culinary niche in the art of smoked meats and BBQ, a trend so popular it has shaped the menus of restaurants all over town that pride themselves in obtaining quality meats from local farms and preparing them using experimental and mouth-watering techniques.

First Day

Lexington Farmers’ Market

241 West Main Street
If you have any culinary experience involving the meats, you know that often what makes the difference between good and great is simply high-quality, fresh meats. If you want to take home just that, we recommend spending a Saturday perusing the Lexington Farmers’ Market for fresh-from-the-farm meats, eggs and produce. Even if you’re not cooking, the ambiance of a Farmers’ Market Saturday is an experience in and of itself. lexingtonfarmersmarket.com

Blue Door Smokehouse

226 Walton Avenue
If there’s one thing we can say about this place other than “wow,” it’s come hungry and come early. You can expect big-portion barbeque and mouthwatering meat options like beef brisket, pork, chicken, ribs and sausage with a multitude of sauces and sides to sample. Once Blue Door sells out of their daily stock, that’s it until tomorrow, so be sure to get there early enough to beat the lunch crowd. bluedoorsmokehouse.com

County Club

555 Jefferson Street
On the north side of Jefferson sits one of the pioneers in Lexington’s smoked meat explosion – a hip restaurant with industrial décor that has mastered the art of meat smoking. You can’t go wrong ordering the smoked meat of the day – which changes, well, daily – but some of their longstanding menu items include the Poutine and Grilled Cheese (both of which you can add meat to). countyclubrestaurant.com

Second Day

Willie’s Locally Known

286 Southland Drive
Expect ribs, po’ boys, collard greens, sweet potato wedges, fried green tomatoes and other dishes beloved by fans of Southern cooking at this locally-loved joint on Southland Drive. Bonus: You’ll find blues, honky-tonk, country or bluegrass almost every night of the week. willieslocallyknown.com

Lexington Diner

124 North Upper Street
Indulge in an inspiring menu of comforting favorites, including giant burgers made with KY Proud meats. Two of their original burgers have won Taste of the Bluegrass awards, including the “Jive” which features basil pesto, buffalo mozzarella and balsamic, and the “KY Bourbon Burger” which is topped with bourbon BBQ sauce, Applewood bacon, ghost pepper jack cheese and onion straws. Show up for breakfast and order anything that includes their mouthwatering Applewood-smoked bacon, like their Hot Brown overstuffed omelet or their Breakfast Brown. lexingtondiner.com

Joella’s Hot Chicken

226 Walton Avenue
Are you one of those people whose spice motto is “the hotter, the better”? We dare you to head to Joella’s Hot Chicken and find the highest level of spice you can handle, choosing from their uniquely-spiced sauces ranging from Southern (no heat) to Fire-In Da-Hole! (inferno). Joella’s also doesn’t mess around with their portions, so come hungry! joellashotchicken.com/lexington

Tony’s of Lexington

401 West Main Street
Tony’s is an exciting upscale addition to downtown’s “The Square” shopping center. Dedicated to delivering elevated hospitality and artful dishes, Tony’s aged and hand-cut USDA Prime steaks are seasoned with a proprietary paprika-based dust that adds both depth of flavor and creates a char that seals in juices. An ultra fresh selection of seafood dishes, including an exceptional take on shrimp and grits fills out the menu. Even the sides are of top quality, including the popular bourbon whipped sweet potatoes. tonysoflexington.com


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The Carnivore

The meat lover’s guide to the meatiest spots in Lexington.