What Are The Best Las Vegas BBQ Barbeque Restaurants Near The Strip, Fremont Downtown?

We are currently in Las Vegas, the most beautiful city, for our first time and absolutely loving it! We are wanting to go out for proper BBQ food, and looking for recommendations as trying to search the internet for recommendations is overwhelming.

Rebecca H.


I understand the frustration of trying to find a good BBQ restaurant in Las Vegas, and one that is close to where visitors are.

Here are my top picks that are either walking distance from tourism visitor areas, or a very short/cheap Uber ride. If you are new to Uber, we’ll post our code for your first ride (up to $20) for free the first time you download and use their app (which is a super easy and fun way to get anywhere in Las Vegas):

Big Earn’s BBQ (Fremont East in Container Park) – Ribs, great brisket and pulled pork, and a nice variety of side dishes (plus cold beer). From the Fremont Street Experience (where most of the downtown hotels are), walk east until you see the big launch “slot machine” for Slotzilla. Walk two more blocks, and you can’t miss Container Park — a fun locals hangout with restaurants, bars, and fun stores — on your right. 707 E. Fremont Street, Las Vegas, NV 89101

Benny’s Smokin’ BBQ & Brews – Located inside Binion’s Hotel Casino downtown, the prices are right but the selections are limited. Chicken or ribs (or both). You can sit at a table, or at the full bar (with video poker). 128 Fremont St, Las Vegas, NV 89101

Rick’s Rollin Smoke BBQ & Tavern – If you are a Pawn Stars fan, this is your spot. Prices aren’t the cheapest, but portion sizes are nice and the menu has some serious variety. Just a really cool atmosphere all around, and having a full bar doesn’t hurt!

From where Fremont Street crosses The Strip, you’ll be hiking a little more than 1/2 a mile south on Las Vegas Blvd. It isn’t the most exciting walk in the world. You may want to just hop an Uber. 725 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89101

pawn stars rick harrison rollin smoke bbqPhoto courtesy of Rick’s Rollin’ Smoke BBQ and Tavern

Rollin’ Smoke Barbeque – These are the people who run Rick’s Rollin Smoke. Their no-frills (and no booze) location just behind the Fashion Show Mall is a mile from The Strip and should only be visited if you want to do take-out (for back to your room) and you are farther north on The Strip, to where the other options are farther away than you wish to travel. 3185 Highland Dr, Las Vegas, NV 89109

Ellis Island Hotel Casino (Near Las Vegas Strip) – Ellis Island BBQ is a favorite of both locals and visitors. Prices are super-reasonable, and each entree is service with their own home-brewed root beer, corn on the cob, garlic bread, and coleslaw. Or you can order one of the many beers brewed on the Ellis Island property. Like Binion’s, this is a chicken or ribs (or both) barbeque place. That’s it.

This hidden gem pretty much sits right behind Bally’s Hotel Casino. Walk east on Flamingo. Past the end of Bally’s, you’ll be approaching Koval Lane. Turn right (south) on Koval and you can’t miss it! 4178 Koval Ln, Las Vegas, NV 89109

Take and Uber and your first ride in Las Vegas (or any Uber city) is free (up to $20). Use our code UberAV

Ted Newkirk
Founder/Managing Editor
Access Vegas

Should I Visit Las Vegas In December Before Christmas?

Hi Ted,

Long time fan and reader of your newsletter. Love it! I’m thinking of coming to Las Vegas in December the week before Christmas but I’m flexible. When would you suggest? I always stay at Palazzo. Look forward to hearing from you.

Gary Pisani

Note: Gary is a long time member/subscriber to our Access Vegas Premium Insider Advantage. For about the price of a cup of coffee each month, Gary gets our Super Secret Deals list (hundreds of unpublished Las Vegas food and drink specials), our regular newsletter full of Las Vegas savings tips and tricks, plus our guarantee do do our very best to answer his Las Vegas questions. Be a smarter Las Vegas visitor next time. Join Today: Access Vegas Premium Insider Advantage

bellagio las vegas conservatory christmas
Bellagio Las Vegas Christmas Gardens Display.

Hi Gary,

Thanks for your longtime support! Great question. If you are flexible, the week before Christmas in Las Vegas can be one of the best times of the year to visit. Once the National Finals Rodeo leaves town (Dec. 7-16, 2017) and Christmas Eve, Las Vegas is the slowest you’ll see it all year. Here are the rest of the pros and cons:


– You’ll find some of the lowest room rates for Las Vegas hotels of the year. You can stay at the place you usually enjoy generally at a bit of a discount. Of this is a good time to shop around and maybe up your level of accommodations simply because the price will often be right.

– Elbow room. Everything (except the Las Vegas shows, which will be in the cons section) is still open. Just without such long lines or long waits. I’m not suggesting you’ll have Las Vegas completely to yourself. However, if you are used to being here during peak times, you’ll notice the difference.

– No scorching heat. This is a great time of year to finally take that Hoover Dam Las Vegas tour, drive the Lake Mead loop (Lakeshore Road), get out to Red Rock Canyon, or even up to the Valley Of Fire. Plus, car rentals should be cheaper to reflect the lack of demand.


– Much of the Las Vegas entertainment will be on Christmas vacation. Very few (if any) big concerts or headliners. Many of the shows will be closed. If major maintenance needs to be done to things like the Bellagio Fountains, this is when they will do it.

– It gets cold and dark EARLY. The sun is gone by 4:30 PM and while the average high is in the 50’s, temps plummet once it gets dark. Overnight lows around (or even below) freezing aren’t uncommon. Even if you stay at one of the few hotels which keep one of their pools heated all year, you probably won’t want to be using it.

Hope this helps!

Ted Newkirk
Founder/Managing Editor
Access Vegas

Las Vegas Taxi Took Me The Wrong Way To Airport, What To Do?

Just come back from Vegas yesterday after spending 10 days there. This was 5th time over the last few years.

Had an excellent time BUT was plagued by time share reps to the point where they was running after us ( husband and I). I tried everything from politely saying no to ignoring them . Nothing worked!!!!!! They were more of a nuisance than the sex card workers. Can you give advice please for when we come again.

We stayed at the Hilton Paradise Road. The taxi that took us back to the airport charged over 20 dollars and did not by any means go the quickest way.He turned onto the strip at Circus Circus and went the whole length of the strip!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Refused to tip him saying he had not chosen the quickest route. He then got very abusive. Can I ask for your advice about this 20 dollars, we usually pay 15 dollars.

Love Access Vegas!

Angela M.

Ted Responds:

Here’s the trick when dealing with the time share people: Tell them you are leaving town “tonight” (no matter how many days you have left). If you are leaving, you can’t go to a presentation and are of no use to them. Of, you can do what I do and say “I’m a local” because I sure don’t need a Las Vegas timeshare!

Having said that, yes… they can be pushy in this economy. And yes, it is irritating. And unfortunately they pay the hotels good money for those spots they occupy so nobody is going to do anything about it. (Short of a hotel getting hundreds of letters per day from angry patrons, which probably isn’t going to happen because no one realizes this relationship).

Another way to handle it is to do what I do with the pornslappers. (For you new readers, that isn’t a dirty sex term. It refers to the people who pass out business cards advertising “girls to you room”). I simply pretend they don’t exist. I don’t look at them, don’t listen to them, don’t make eye contact with them. It isn’t rude. They aren’t some friend from your city that you just happened to run into who wants to bend your ear. They want to distract you and waste your time. I simply don’t allow them to!

Yes, the taxi driver was screwing with you. The Hilton is on Paradise Road. Guess what… the airport is on Paradise Road! It is a 3.3 mile straight trip if you don’t detour. I’m going to give you some advice that I’ve had to start following myself as I’ve been screwed with on cab rides by people who don’t know I’m a local:

Get the cab company name and number every time you ride. Take two seconds to email/text it to yourself. Why? For a number of reasons.

  • If you leave your purse/wallet/bag or similar in the cab and you know the cab number, you can usually get it back quickly. Call the cab company, tell them the cab number, and the driver will head back your way (with the understanding that you need to pay for his time and miles). How do I know? My wallet rode off in a cab without me one time. It happens.
  • If the driver isn’t very nice to you, call the cab company and complain. Absolutely. If you have the cab company name and cab number, they know who the problem employee is. Cab drivers are a dime a dozen. The companies don’t want trouble. A rude driver might also do other things to hurt the company.
  • If you get long-hauled, you have a right to complain the the Taxicab Authority. They take complaints very seriously. If I remember correctly, three complaints and a driver loses his right to drive (I think for six months… it’s been a couple of years since I did this research). You can actually use this information in two ways:
    1. You can get out of the cab (wait until after he’s unloaded your luggage), tell the driver that he took the long way, and tell him you are calling the Taxi Authority. (Dial directory assistance if you need the number). They are screwed and they know it. If they start to put up a fuss, start to dial directory assistance on your phone and say “I’m calling them right now”. You’ll be surprised at how quickly they will decide that your ride was absolutely free (as long as you don’t make the call). They screwed with you… screw with them!
    2. If they are still abusive or argue, make the call and put in the complaint. Just remember… you do need to cab company name, cab number, and time of day to make this complaint. If you didn’t write it down (or text it to yourself) when you got in the cab, you’d better make note of it before he drives off.

In a perfect world, none of this should be necessary. And there are honest cab drivers out there. But the ones who aren’t should be held accountable.

One last tip: Don’t take too much of what a cabbie says to heart. They tend to be the worst conveyers of third-hand info out there. One cabbie was telling people that The Sahara was going to be blown up (not true). Another reader heard that The Stratosphere was closing (um, they just spent $20 million refurbishing the joint). Get your information from us instead!

CEO/Managing Editor

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Going To Las Vegas Alone – Do You Do It? Do You Feel Safe?

I have been going to Las Vegas for the past 11+ years and 9 times out of 10 I am by myself. I have never had any problems and actually end up enjoying myself. Like some previous post have noted, I stick with the main streets and don’t wander down the side streets especially after dark. If it gets late and I am not near enough to my hotel for an easy 5 minute walk I will then take a taxi back. But I have never had a problem.

Looking forward to my next trip there (hopefully soon)!

Johnnell from Chicago,IL

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Did All Of The Winter Rain Help Out With Lake Mead’s Water Levels?

Reading and seeing all the news about your heavy rains over the winter, I am interested in the water levels for Lake Mead.

Has the rains increased the water levels any?


Astor Kinney

Ted Responds:

Heavy, sustained rains like we had will generally bring it up a few inches (and did this time). Unfortunately a drop in the bucket for what it needs, but we’ll take all the help we can get. The rise isn’t so much from the rain we got here in the Las Vegas area as it was the runoff from the Virgin River. Those were the rains and floods that made national news, washing away homes in Littlefield, Arizona about 100 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

Contrary to popular opinion, the lake level isn’t low because of Las Vegas’ water use. Southern California uses over 14 times the amount of Colorado River (Lake Mead) as Nevada does. Arizona uses almost 10 times as much as Nevada does.

When they drew up the agreement to split the water, very few people were living in Nevada and the Las Vegas area had more than enough ground water. Hence, they thought that Nevada would never need to even tap their share of the Colorado River. Other states were allowed to use the excess which went unused by states with the rights to it (My understanding is that although Colorado has rights to half the river’s water, they don’t need it and thus don’t use it).

Then… Nevada started using ours. California was already over-drawn (taking more than their allotment, what other states didn’t use). Then the drought hit for the past decade. And Lake Mead’s water level is the lowest it has ever been since they started filling it.

Nevada continues to stay within our allotment. We continue to convert grass to desert landscaping and take other water conservation measures (and they are working). The Southern Nevada Water Authority has aquired significant water rights in Northern Nevada and we are prepared to spend $3 Billion on a pipeline to pipe that water down to Las Vegas.

Side Note: Resorts are actually an efficient use of water. Landscaping, pools, and water features are enjoyed by many tens of thousands guests and visitors each day. For example, the amount of water to fill the Bellagio lake is the equivalent of what just a few households would use in an entire year. Next-to-nothing in the big picture. But it is enjoyed by tens of millions yearly.

Of interesting note: A water expert I talked with earlier this year told me that it takes more power to pump Colorado River over to Southern California than it would to desalinate Pacific Ocean water. (25% of the power from Hoover Dam goes specifically to pump water hundreds of miles across the desert to areas of California). So why not start using desalination and let Lake Mead fill up again? California fears that once it stops taking some of the water it is entitled to, it could end up relinquishing the rights to it (use it or lose it).

Per filling Lake Mead back up, what we need is year after year of above-average snow in Western Colorado where snow from the mountains feeds the genesis of the river. That or having everyone in Southern California turn off their taps (obviously out of the question)!

Ted Newkirk
CEO, Managing Editor

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Enjoyed Las Vegas Local’s Casinos – Which One To Stay?

I emailed you recently looking for advice on visiting off strip casinos.  So for the first time in ten visits, we rented a car and looked into your suggestions on casinos.  We visited several from your list like Sam’s Club and The Orleans.  We really liked the off strip casinos and want to thank you for your suggestions.

Gail M. Huff


I’m hoping that you can suggest some possible alternatives to the Strip for our annual family reunion in the Vegas area.

For the last 16 years, we siblings along with our parents have gathered from all around the country to meet at the Flamingo for Dad’s birthday in May.  It has been a great run, but unfortunately, age and mobility issues are catching up with us.   We are now in mid-40’s to late-80’s age range.  The crowds of noisy 20-somethings and the hotels that cater to them are getting extremely annoying, and the huge casinos are getting too hard to navigate.   We don’t come to party as much as to socialize and shop.  So we are searching for another venue for next year that meets our requirements.  Vegas is perfect for the weather and the convenience of air flights.  We also need:

* a pool for sunning – preferably without blasting music
* a poker room
* relatively quiet casino/public areas (it is the constantly blaring noise we object to)
* a bonus would be shuttle/taxi distance to Strip shopping/shows

Can you offer some suggestions?

On another topic – When I arrived on May 1 and got a cab from the airport to Flamingo, I was long-hauled.  My fault – I was tired, and when the driver said he’d go on the freeway, ok?, I stupidly said “sure”.  Too late, I remembered you writing about just that scenario.  $26 fare – and obviously no tip.

For the rest of our stay, though, the cab drivers and restaurant and hotel service people we met were friendly, helpful, and professional.

I would offer a recommendation to anyone looking for a special group dinner venue.  At Canaletto at the Venetian, we had 10 people in a small, private room upstairs overlooking St Mark’s Square.  The food was incredible, the staff was extremely accommodating,  the venue was very classy, and the prices fair.

Judy Jakes


Ted Responds:

Gail: The Sam’s Town atrium is an under-sung gem and The Orleans is probably the best pure example of a traditional locals casino.

Judy: Thanks for the input from your last stay.

Let me give the hotel suggestion some thought. M is really nice and reasonable rates, but they have a pretty active pool area (they invite locals, sell cabanas, have a DJ).

I’m glad that you brought this up because just yesterday we were noting how many readers are regular visitors who are very amiable to staying off-strip if they knew more about the various properties.

Offhand, Orleans and Sam’s Town would both be good picks. More subdued crowd, both nice/decent properties, plenty to do (movies, bowling), poker rooms, free shuttles, tons of on-site dining options, free shuttles to Strip. Ditto with South Point and the advantage of it being a new property and just a couple of miles from the huge outlet mall at the way south end of The Strip.

If you love shopping, make sure you check out Town Square (1/2 mile south of Mandalay Bay). Upscale but worth browsing even if you don’t buy. Really a best kept secret as you feel you are walking around a few blocks of a prefect little town.

And keep in mind that the new Ace bus runs from Town Square all the way downtown to the downtown outlet mall!

Except for the lack of a poker room, Tuscany Suites (mentioned in most recent newsletter) is a best-kept secret. Downside is the very short taxi ride (no shuttle) or leg-stretching walk to The Strip.

Ted Newkirk
CEO, Managing Editor

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When Is Las Vegas Spring Break In 2011? Want To Avoid The Crowds…

Hello Ted and Team,  Happy New Year to you all. Thanks as always for the continuing updates, has helped get us through a horrible winter here in the UK!

I have a quick question for you – do you know when Spring Break is this year? We are hoping to come around the end of March/beginning of April but would prefer to avoid the younger crowd!

Many thanks,

Claire & Daryll Young


Ted Responds:

College spring break in the U.S. stretches from late February to early April, peaking in March. The more important dates to avoid more have to do with the NCAA College Basketball playoffs (March Madness). March 15-27 and April 2-4 is prime time here with the combination of Spring Break and March Madness.

Also, MTV is doing a week of spring break coverage from The Palms March 6-10. The town will be flooded with students who actually think they’ll be able and get into the Palms pool and get on TV (fat chance) who may come here that week (or part of it) even if it isn’t their spring break.

If pool weather is a must, hold off until April for your visit. If you want to just get somewhere warmer than the UK and are itching to get over here, do it in later February. Our average February high is 63F. Average for April is 78F.

Hope this helps and thanks for reading!

Ted Newkirk
CEO, Managing Editor