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This is How You Should Barbecue: A Southern Loop Food Trail

Take a road trip to the South to experience some of the best barbecue the U.S. has to offer.

By Becky Henson on July 24, 2017

If you live in the South, then you probably already know that barbecue is a staple of everyday life. Whether summer holidays, birthday parties or a Tuesday night, there’s usually a good, local smoker fired up and serving the day’s brisket and fixin’s.

Texas Monthly recently released their Top 50 Barbecue Joints in Texas. The list includes Austin’s Franklin Barbecue, Abilene’s Stillwater Barbeque, Dallas’ Cattleack Barbeque and even Tyler’s Stanley’s Famous Pit Barbecue.

While Livability is all about barbecue in Texas, that got us thinking about all the great barbecue joints in the South. From North Carolina to Louisiana to Arkansas, we’ve rounded up some of our top picks for a Southern Loop Barbecue Food Trail – even if you’re headed for Texas. 

North Carolina

Photo: Courtesy of Southern Foodways Alliance under a CC 2.0 license.

B’s Barbecue in Greenville, NC dates back to the 1970s and serves chopped ‘cue topped with sweet slaw. It’s a hole-in-the wall joint that attracts local students from East Carolina. The counter-serve, quick-barbecue-fix hit takes only cash and also serves up wood-smoked chicken for the more health-conscious. B’s smokes the whole hog to create its delicacies, unlike most barbecue pits these days that focus on shoulders and butts – a tradition passed down through families.  

Other top barbecue spots on our list in North Carolina include Green River BBQ in Saluda, The Pit in Raleigh, Allen & Son in Pittsboro and Wilber’s Barbecue in Goldsboro. 

Find More of the Best Barbecue in North Carolina

South Carolina

Photo: Courtesy of Douglas Hoyt under a CC 2.0 license.

Stopping in another Greenville – South Carolina – won’t disappoint at Henry’s Smokehouse where everything is cooked by hand and everything pulled is only the best meat on the bone. All of Henry’s pork butts are smoked for 12 hours, while ribs are smoked for 8 – creating that fall-off-the-bone, hickory smoked meat that the locals love. 

Barbecue in South Carolina is so tender, in fact, the state was ranked in the top three for our Best Barbecue Cities. Other barbecue spots worth mentioning in Greenville are Bucky’s BBQ, Smoke on the Water and Mac’s Speed Shop. 


Photo: Courtesy of Jimmy Emerson, DVM under a CC 2.0 license.

Head over to Cumming, GA and you’re bound to run across Cue’ Barbecue, where you’ll find traditional barbecue and all the sides to satisfy a craving. One of the most popular items on the is the smoked pork sandwich. Add a side of bourbon sweet potato casserole and guaranteed you’ll be back for more. 

Cumming isn’t the only town in Georgia with a Cue’. Visitors in Peachtree Corners and Milton can stop at the restaurant to enjoy the same menu items. Other Georgia top barbecue stops include Southern Soul Barbeque in Saint Simons Island, Bigun’s Barbeque in Talking Rock and Smokejack BBQ, also in Cumming. 

Nosh on More Barbecue in One of These Best BBQ Cities


Muskogee / Staff Photo

Staff Photo

On to Gainesville, FL you won’t find any better satisfaction in the Sunshine State than George’s Florida Style BBQ. Serving up barbecue for more than 25 years, this hot spot smokes its meat over many flavor-inducing woods, including oak, cherry, pecan, hickory, orange and black jack. It’s famous for its ribs and Annie Mae’s Famous Fried Chicken Wings, but offers up all of the traditional barbecue offerings with a Florida spin. And with a coveted five-star rating on Google, it’s a stop you won’t want to miss. 

Other top stops in Gainesville include Terrell’s Bar-B-Que, Adam’s Rib Co. and Kay Bro’s BBQ. If you can’t make it to Gainesville, Florida has many other mouth-watering joints that include Woodpecker’s Backyard BBQ in St. Augustine, Firehouse BBQ Food Truck in Deland and Papa’s Real Pit BBQ in Malabar. 


Brian McCord

Staff Photo

If you’ve ever driven through Alabama, you know there’s no shortage of pit barbecue stops. One tasty stop on our list is right in Prattville, AL at Rock’s Famous BBQ and Catering. You’ll find small-town pride with just about every barbecue offering you could imagine at this hopping restaurant, including its famous rib tips. 

Alabama’s barbecue offerings are endless, if you find yourself there, be sure to visit other delectable locations, such as Dreamland Bar-B-Que in Tuscaloosa, Partner’s Pit Barbeque in Lineville and Champ’s Barbeque in Wetumpka. 


Photo: Courtesy of Thomas Hawk under a CC 2.0 license.

You may find many of our Southern Loop picks on our Best BBQ Cities, and it’s for good reason. Hattiesburg, MS may be a small city, but they’re big on barbecue – especially authentic barbecue shacks. One in particular has our interest – Leatha’s Bar-B-Que. And while it’s curb appeal isn’t it’s top-rated feature, the food is. With pecan smoked ribs, coleslaw, beans and its own secret barbecue sauce coming out of the kitchen, it’s no wonder that this shack is a famous stop for barbecue. If you’re lucky, Leatha herself will be handing out slices of her pecan pie.

Other pit stops in Mississippi include Stonewall’s BBQ in Hattiesburg, Sonny’s Smokehouse in Ackerman and Romie’s Barbeque in Tupelo, MS.

More of the Best Barbecue Joints in Mississippi


Staff Photo

Staff Photo

Fayetteville, AR made our 2017 list of Top 100 Best Places to Live, but what we didn’t mention is the amazing barbecue the city has to offer. On top of our list for spots to stop is Sassy’s Red House. Not only will you find dry ribs, pulled pork and brisket, but their sauces are second to none. In fact, its original sauce was created by Sassy Jones’ grandfather in 1895. Now that’s barbecue history.

Many other barbecue joints are worth visiting while you’re in Fayetteville, we recommend Lucky Luke’s BBQ, Penguin Ed’s and Whole Hog Cafe. 

Why Fayetteville, AR is One the Best Places to Live


Photo: Courtesy of A Vandalay under a CC 2.0 license.

If you do find yourself in Texas for some barbecue, we think one spot onTexas Monthly’s latest list is the best barbecue in the Star State. Tyler, TX is home to Stanley’s Famous Pit Bar-B-Q. This mom and pop stop has been smoking butt for more than 50 years and offer every meat to satisfy a rumbling stomach, including brisket, ribs, turkey, sausage and pulled pork. If you prefer other choices, Stanley’s offers frito pies, tacos and vegetarian items – all served up with live music six nights a week.

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