With summer in full swing here in Richmond, the usual sunny day fragrances are drifting around the city. But while the scent of cut grass or sweet flowers is always welcome, it’s the inviting aromas of sizzling barbecues that can transform any neighbourhood stroll into a stomach-rumbling dinner call.
But you don’t have to crank up your own backyard grill if you’re suddenly hungry. Richmond has a jam-packed buffet of barbecue-serving restaurants to satisfy your appetite—and many of them take an intriguing international approach to grilling. Read on for some of our favorite barbecue joints to dive into.
Carnivorous fans of Kansas City-style barbecue have been flocking to Steveston’s Hog Shack for years—especially if they haven’t eaten all day. Friendly, welcoming and with a casual, pub-style ambiance, the menu—which also includes pasta, tacos and burgers—is dominated by velvet-soft, slow-cooked cuts expertly and deliciously prepared in their own smoker. You’ll find everything from succulent beef brisket to irresistible St. Louis-style pork ribs here, alongside a carefully-curated array of great BC craft beers to wash it all down.
Hot dish: Try the Elusive Burnt Ends platter: double-smoked brisket ends with a rich, smoky finish. It’s perfect with a side of yam fries.
Johnny's Jurassic Platter (for two) at Hog Shack Cook House. | Photo: Hog Shack Cook House
One of Richmond’s most celebrated Chinese barbecue spots, HK B.B.Q. Master has won plenty of awards and accolades over the years. But this small, unassuming, fancy-free restaurant never rests on its well-earned laurels, ensuring top-notch ingredients and tender, slow-cooked meat is always available for its legions of local fans. They drop by for melt-in-the-mouth dishes ranging from juicy duck to crispy-skinned roast pork. But it’s the shiny, honey-glazed barbecue pork that often keeps them coming back for more. Arrive early for a better chance at snagging one of the few tables here (or grab some takeout instead), and bring cash.
Hot dish: Go for the Two Kinds of B.B.Q. menu option—and make sure you include the duck.
Parker Place Meat & B.B.Q.
Whatever time of day you find yourself at Parker Place Mall, you’ll likely spot a queue outside what looks like just another modest Chinese barbecue takeout and butcher shop. But peer into the steam-streaked glass cabinet fronting the store and you’ll see why in-the-know locals are lining-up: the veteran, cleaver-wielding staffers here know exactly how to prepare tender, crisp-skinned roast pork and sweet, honey-glazed barbecued pork (and more). Arrive outside mealtimes to avoid the longest queues and keep in mind that this is a cash-only business.
Hot dish: It has to be the delicious barbecued pork—some of the best you'll find in Richmond.
SURA Korean BBQ
If you were thinking that the Chinese approach has a lock-hold on Asian barbecue styles in Richmond, try this sleek, sociable Korean alternative tucked into Aberdeen Centre mall. Another multiple award-winner, the idea here is to order the ready-cut meat—from pork to beef tongue to short ribs—and then cook it yourself at your table on the grill provided. The trick is to not crowd the grill with too much (it hampers the cooking) and be sure to add some tasty side dishes to keep things interesting—try the kimchi pancakes.
Hot dish: Choose one of the good-value set course lunch specials here and you’ll get to try a wide variety of small dishes.
Barbecue dishes at your own table at SURA Korean BBQ. | Photo: SURA Korean BBQ
Happy Tree House BBQ
One of the many tempting dining options on Alexandra Road—aka Food Street—reserve ahead for a chunky wooden table at this joint and dive right into their delicious array of charcoal-grilled meat skewers, a classic Northern Chinese comfort food. Starting with tender, fresh-grilled beef, lamb and chicken options, you’ll also find more adventurous (and often chewier) varieties such as chicken gizzards and pork intestines. Add some ice-cold beer and catch up on Chinese pop music on the wall-mounted TV screens for the full cultural immersion.
Hot dish: The tender lamb skewers are a must here.
Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ
Near the intersection of Alderbridge Way and No.3 Road in the heart of Richmond, snag a booth at this Japanese joint and get ready to grill your own meal at your table. There’s a tempting array of prix-fixe barbecue courses to consider (for 2 - 10 people) and each includes a well-rounded array of options, from starters to barbecue meats to dessert. Among the multiple meat options you’ll find filet mignon, chicken thighs, chuck ribs, and much more. Give yourself plenty of time to enjoy dinner here—it’s meant to be slow and sociable—or drop by for a fast, good-value lunch.
Hot dish: If you want to sample this place before committing to dinner, check out their Monday to Friday (2pm to 5pm) Super Happy Hour, with an array of tasty dishes priced at $5 and under.