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The Best (and Worst) BBQ at Walt Disney World

Credit: Jill Bivins/Disney/Disney Dining

I’m from North Carolina where we take our BBQ so seriously that we divide along sauce lines (Lexington style or Eastern Style). Every town in the state has at least 3 BBQ restaurants and a loyal fan base for each. When I say I love BBQ, I’m not kidding. This is why I was excited to take on Disney World BBQ. Could it measure up?

I took it upon myself to try every single BBQ restaurant at Walt Disney World. I wanted to know if anywhere could come close to what we have “back home.” What I’ve discovered surprised me. While I’m not trading my Lexington Style brown outside chopped tray anytime soon, Walt Disney World has some really great (and not-so-great) BBQ!

Regal Eagle Smokehouse 

Disney world bbq

Credit: Jill Bivins

I’ll start with an unpopular opinion: Regal Eagle Smoke House is a skip. This was disappointing because I really wanted to like it. The concept is really great. Despite my NC BBQ pride, we aren’t the only ones known for our delicious BBQ and this restaurant celebrates that. Located in the American Pavilion at EPCOT, the menu features BBQ styles from around the country.

Disney World bbq

Credit: Jill Bivins

I tried NC BBQ here knowing that I’d be hard to please. If they could impress me with NC style though, I’d know they really had something. The one thing you can’t do with pulled pork BBQ is let it dry out, which is exactly what happened here. The meat was dry and the sauce was overwhelmingly vinegary. That’s not just not good BBQ, it’s not good food.

The Kansas City Smoked Half-Chicken was a bit better but again the sauces were overwhelming. Everything we tried was either too sweet, too spicy, or too vinegary. There was no subtlety or amalgamation in the flavors.

Flame Tree BBQ

Disney World BBQ

Credit: Disney

I love Flame Tree. It’s not what I’m used to but it may just be the best quick bite at Animal Kingdom. Which is saying a lot because the Yak N Yeti Local Foods Cafe is excellent!

I’ll start by saying I’m a weirdo and love Disney’s turkey legs and Flame Tree is my go to spot for the controversial snack. Flame Tree is so much more than a turkey legs stand though. The best part? Even though the restaurant is quick service, it doesn’t taste ike quick service. From ribs to chicken, this BBQ joint has it all.

Disney World bbq

Credit: Jill Bivins

What it does not have is air-conditioned seating. At Animal Kingdom– that’s a big deal. Animal Kingdom has the fewest indoor attractions (i.e a/c) so Fame Tree is a skip for those with heat sensitivities or on super hot days. Otherwise, do not miss Flame Tree BBQ!

Roundup Rodeo BBQ

Roundup Rodeo BBQ

Credit: Disney

I want to like Roundup Rodeo. Hollywood Studios desperately needed another table service restaurant and I was so excited about this one. I can’t, however, recommend it. Not at its current pricing.

The theming is fantastic. If you don’t care about the food and have got money to burn (or a table service credit if you’re reading this after January 2024) then by all means, head to Toy Story Land’s newest restaurant. If food quality or cost factor into your decision at all, skip this one.

Roundup Rodeo bbq

Credit: Disney Dining

At $45 per adult and $25 per child this is not Disney World’s most expensive table service restaurant, it’s not going to break the bank. Considering you can get very similar good at quick service locations, though, it’s hard to justify the cost. Especially if you have any picky of eaters in your crowd. The restaurant is family style which means you don’t have a lot of choice and everyone pays the same price no matter how little they eat.

Cheddar biscuits

Credit: Disney Dining

The sides were great! The cheddar biscuits devine, but the meat was dry. So dry, in fact, that sauce didn’t even help it. If you’re going to a BBQ restaurant, the meat is the Star attraction. I can’t in good conscience recommend a BBQ joint that has subpar meat.

Whispering Canyon Cafe

Whispering Canyon

Credit: Disney Tips

Whispering Canyon Cafe is super fun. The atmosphere is fabulous and the food is delightful. I almost didn’t include it on the list, though, because it isn’t exclusively a BBQ restaurant. With entrees like Smoked Salmon and New York Strip it falls more into the “American” or “Western” category than BBQ. However, there’s enough BBQ that it earned a spot on my list.

I’ll be honest, Whispering Canyon isn’t my favorite, but it’s not bad either. I place it firmly in the “go once and see how you like it” category. This is definitely not an “I tried it so you don’t have to” situation. It’s also not a “Don’t miss this one” either. Go if you can and you won’t be disappointed.

Whispering canyon

Credit: Disney

I had “The Pig” all-you-care-to-enjoy skillet and found it to be quite good. For one price you get:  Braised Pork Belly, Maple-Chipotle Barbecued Pork Ribs, Slow-smoked Pulled Pork, Mustard-Barbecued ‘Piggy Wings’ (a Food and Wine Festival favorite),and Western-style Sausage. The meat was tender, juicy and flavorful. That’s really all you need from a BBQ restaurant. The sides were hearty and well seasoned. It’s good food, no doubt about it.

The price is nice too. It’s not MUCH cheaper than Round Up Rodeo, in fact once you factor in drinks and such it really isn’t cheaper at all. my skillet was $38 and drink was $4.24. I declined dessert here which is included at Round Up Rodeo. If I had gotten dessert it would’ve been more expensive. The quality here though is what makes the difference. The food is worthy of the price. It’s a great use of a table service credit too (again. If you’re reading this after January 2024). because it balances value for the credit and good food. Pro tip: ask for ketchup.

Polite Pig

Polite Pig

Credit: Jill Bivins

Here it is. My favorite BBQ restaurant in all of Walt Disney World. It’s no Honey Monk (if you’re from NC you’ll know what I mean) but it is amazing. This is the restaurant that opened my eyes to different styles of BBQ other than our NC Lexington style. Because of the Polite Pig, I now know the joys of Alabama White Sauce. The tangy peppery flavor has become a staple in my BBQ diet.

Disney World bbq

Credit: Jill Bivins

The price is nice, it’s about half what the table service restaurants cost and the food is better. Much better. My husband and I split the Butcher Board which includes Pork Shoulder, Smoked Chicken, Brisket and BBQ Cheddar Sausage with Slaw, House Pickles, two Cornbreads and a choice of two sides for $42. Also, you can get proper sweet tea here. Sweet tea is an absolute must with BBQ and finding it in the Parks is hit and miss (and even rarer to find it done properly).

The food is phenomenal. The smoky flavor isn’t overwhelming but definitely adds that down home BBQ flavor to the meat. The sides are perfect (get the mac and cheese, you won’t be sorry). My only “complaint” (if you can call it that) is that they don’t serve banana pudding which is a BBQ staple around these parts.

There you have it. One author’s opinion on the best (and worst) BBQ at Walt Disney World. Your mileage may vary of course but as a self-proclaimed BBQ connoisseur don’t think I’ve steered you wrong. Happy eating!

About Jill Bivins

Jill Bivins has been visiting Disney Parks since she was 2 years old and loves sharing her Disney adventures with the world. She likes to say Disney is in her blood and writing is in her bones — so any time she has the opportunity to combine these loves she is one happy camper! She has a deep abiding love for Epcot and as a die hard Star Wars fan has a serious love for Hollywood Studios as well. When she isn't exploring or writing about Disney Parks, Jill is homeschooling her 8 year old son, playing with her brand new baby son, or pretending to be a farmer on her family homestead (despite being unable to keep even a cactus alive). Find Jill on Instagram @minnieonmain.