Every time I pick up a Boston newspaper or magazine, they always tout Redbones in Davis Sq. as the area's best BBQ. I disagree - it's mediocre bbq, but a great place to drink beer.
The best BBQ I've had in the Boston area is from Blue Ribbon in Arlington. Ribs, Pulled Pork and Burnt Ends are all stellar. They have a "Gold" sauce that is outstanding, and they make some excellent collard greens.
Up in Gloucester, there's a guy by the name of Smokin' Jim who has a smoker set up outside of a big antique shop. He knows what he's doing, and turns out some amazing ribs and pulled pork.
In Cambridge, the East Coast Grill is excellent. It's not really a BBQ joint per se, but a restaurant that features amazing grilled good. They have a "hell night" twice a year, where they change the menu to feature all spicy food. If you can eat an entire "Pasta from Hell" dish, your meal is free.
In downtown Peabody, there's a Brazillian BBQ called the Fire Bull which has an all-you-can-eat deal. If you love meat, this place will do you right. After a salad and appetizer course, the waiters emerge from the fire pit area with SWORDS of meat. They come to your table, and saw off as much as you like onto your plate. They serve 15 different kinds of meat - beef, pork, chicken, sausage, lamb...amazing stuff.
In East Boston, check out Santarpio's. This is arguably the city's most famous pizza joint, but they have a wood burning grill in the front and turn out insanely good grilled sausage and lamb kebabs. It's right by the airport in Boston. Make a right as soon as you get out of the Callahan Tunnel - it's right in front of you.
I'd like to hear what other BBQ joints in the Boston area are great. Comments on RI, NH and Maine locations would be great as well.