Top 10 Best BBQ Cities
About This List
Few foods are as scrutinized as barbecue. Those who fancy themselves as barbecue connoisseurs, a.k.a. Q snobs, have distinct opinions about how it should be prepared, eaten and where the best barbecue comes from. While many have agreed that there are barbecue meccas across the country, there remains an endless debate over which cities are the best barbecue cities. If you know your way around a pit, or even know what a pit is for that matter, then you already know the cities by which all other barbecue is measured.
So we strayed from the herd. In compiling our list of the best places for barbecue, we decided the lesser known barbecue cities should be better known. We purposely avoided places that you'll find if you Google "best BBQ cities." We're serving up cities that you may not have considered or maybe not even heard of. After all, does the quest for the best barbecue ever end?
To get started we asked Brian Pearcy, The BBQ Guy, to give us a primer on 'cue. In doing so, he pretty much listed the places that barbecue lovers already know about.
"When I think of a barbecue city, I think of towns in the Midwest like Kansas City and St. Louis; towns in Tennessee like Nashville and Memphis; towns in South Carolina like Charleston, Spartanburg and Greenville; and towns in Texas like Austin and Dallas," Pearcy says. "I do not naturally think of towns in New England, Florida, California or Washington. That's not saying there aren't barbecue cities in those locations, but I don't think people think of these geographic areas when they think of towns known for barbecue."
Pearcy also explained some of the major differences and points of contention with barbecue. Different regions have different ways of making 'cue. Heck, there are at least five different ways of spelling barbecue.
"Texas is known for cooking with mesquite," Pearcy says. "Georgia is known for cooking with peach and pecan wood. North Carolina and Tennessee are known for smoking with hickory. Memphis is known for dry rubs, and Kansas City is known for wet ribs and brisket burnt ends. North Carolina is known for vinegar, South Carolina for mustard."
To make our picks, we counted the number of barbecue restaurants a city had, looked at the quality of these restaurants by examining customer reviews, and in some cases, conducted our own taste tests. We know our picks are bound to get things stirred up. Looking through thousands of reviews on hundreds of barbecue joints, it's evident that people disagree on who has good barbecue. To us, it all comes down to taste. What we hope is to offer food for thought. Let the judging begin.