Speed Queen

Review by: Michael Stern

Speed Queen Bar-B-Que in Milwaukee, WI | What to expect

This is Milwaukee’s best barbecue, glazed with some of the Midwest’s best sauce. The mild sauce is full-flavored and slightly sweet. Hot sauce is explosive, a dark orange emulsion that reminds us of Arthur Bryant’s dizzying potion in Kansas City. For many customers, the mild is a little too mild, the hot is too lip-burning; so it is not uncommon to hear orders for “half and half.”

What to eat at Speed Queen

Meat choices include beef, beef ribs, rib tips, and turkey, and a choice of pork shoulder or outside meat. We like the latter two best. Shoulder is thick slices that are almost chunks, tender as velvet. Outside meat is unbelievably luscious – dark, blackened shreds and nuggets some of which are tender, some of which are crusty, and some of which quite literally melt on the tongue.

A favorite way to eat at Speed Queen is to order a half-and-half plate (ribs and outside, rib tips and shoulder, etc.) that consists of meat, sauce, a couple of slices of spongy white bread (necessary for sopping sauce), plus a cup of cole slaw. Beans and potato salad cost extra.

You can also get a sandwich; but beware, these “sandwiches” are, in fact, meat and sauce piled onto white bread in such a way that it is inconceivable to hold it in your hand like a normal pick-up sandwich. If you want to lift something in your hands, you can get pork or beef on a bun, a somewhat more wieldy configuration.

Everything is delivered at the order window in a Styrofoam container; and while most business is take-out, Speed Queen offers functional booths for dining-in. Carry your own meal from the window and please bus your own table when you are through.

What To Eat


outside meat



Speed Queen Recipes


What do you think of Speed Queen?

One Response to “Speed Queen”

Jeff Johnson

July 6th, 2011

Speed Queen is what BBQ aficionados crave in this part of the country. They do it right here. The place has burned down a few times over the years and comes back to regain the top spot for Milwaukee BBQ each time. It’s not fancy (understatement), and if you get your food via the drive-thru, you won’t be impressed by the Styrofoam to-go container, but your taste buds will be rewarded.

I usually get the pork shoulder: sometimes the sandwich, sometimes the dinner. It’s mouthwatering and superb. If you’ve traveled through the southern US and experienced BBQ from North Carolina to Texas and the innumerable places in-between, the BBQ from Speed Queen will not disappoint.

SQ is just north of downtown and very easy to get to from the main N-S freeway (I-43).


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