The Quick Report

Best Barbecue Places in the United States

Nothing gets foodies as heated as quickly as debating what the best barbecue place in the United States is. Several states, Southern and otherwise, claim to have the best barbecue around. Here’s the definitive, unbiased, and final reckoning for barbecue lovers the world over: these are the best barbecue joints in the country.

Hometown Bar-B-Que

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This one generated some controversy on social media. Lots of “barbecue” places have popped up in NYC lately, like Hometown Bar-B-Que in Brooklyn, and a lot of people from traditional barbecue cities have taken umbrage to these fusion-heavy establishments. Fear not, though, Hometown Bar-B-Que serves some phenomenal Caribbean-inspired cuisine.

Homegrown Smoker

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Portland, Oregon is probably the last place you’d think of when you hear the word “barbecue,” but, surprisingly, Homegrown Smoker has the goods. What’s more surprising than good barbecue being on the menu in Portland is that Homegrown Smoker also offers genuinely excellent vegan options.

Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que

Kansas City has its own unique barbecue traditions, like the well-known “burnt ends” dish that acts as a local delicacy. If you want some of the best burnt ends around, you’ve got to head to Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que, one of the city’s favorite eateries.

Mike’s Huli Chicken

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Hawaiian barbecue is a time-honored tradition, but it’s typically Kalua pig wrapped in banana leaves and cooked underground. If you’re looking for something a bit different, though, Mike’s Huli Chicken replaces the pork with poultry roasted over kiawe wood, a tradition known as huli huli chicken in Hawaii.

LC’s Bar-B-Q

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Another burnt ends joint, LC’s Bar-B-Q in Kansas City showcases Missouri’s rich barbecue traditions. The place also offers some phenomenal smoked wings. Diners have noted the trademark crusts on the meats—this is due to a cooking process in which the meats are sauced before being cooked.

Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q

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Barbecue looks a bit different in Alabama than in other parts of the US. Big Bob Gibson himself invented the now-famous Alabama white barbecue sauce back in the 1920s, and the restaurant that bears his name carries on the traditions to this day.

Cozy Corner BBQ

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If you want the best Memphis-style barbecue around, check out Cozy Corner in Memphis, Tennessee. The robust and versatile cooking on display here is second to none in the state, including the excellent slow smoked meats and iconic dry rub seasonings.

Franklin Barbecue

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This BBQ joint in Austin, Texas offers some of the most popular food in the state. The place became nationally famous when former president Barack Obama ordered a $300 meal there, igniting all kinds of discourse about Texas, regional cuisine, and what constitutes “barbecue.”

Gatlin’s BBQ

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Elsewhere in Texas, Gatlin’s BBQ in Houston offers up that iconic brisket-style meat that the state is known for. There are some surprises on the menu, too, like dry-rubbed ribs and smoked wings. You really can’t go wrong with this wide-ranging menu!

Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn

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This fine eatery in Owensboro, Kentucky puts a unique spin on barbecue: it uses Mutton and a vinegar-based dip to make some of the best barbecue around. It’s been open since 1949 and has welcomed some very famous faces, but the celebrity name-dropping is less important than the quality of the meat—which is undeniably excellent.

Jones Bar-B-Q

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How much do you know about Arkansas’s barbecue scene? If your answer is “little to nothing,” then this might blow your mind. The oldest black-owned business in the country is Jones Bar-B-Q Diner in Marianna, Arkansas. This establishment has no menu and just serves delicious pork barbecue, either by the pound or on white bread.

Heirloom Market BBQ

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Atlanta’s Heirloom Market BBQ is unique due to its Korean influences. Of course, everyone’s heard of Korean barbecue, but imagining that culinary tradition sharing a plate with the uniquely American version we all know and love is a bit… perplexing. But trust us here, it works!

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B’s Crackling Barbecue

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The excellent food at B’s Crackling Barbecue in Savannah, Georgia is a study in diverse roots. Owner Bryan Furman hails from South Carolina originally, so his BBQ joint offers pork ribs with a mustard-based, peach-infused sauce. For those out of the loop, South Carolina harvested three times as many peaches each year as the “Peach” state, Georgia.

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Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ

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The finest barbecue in the world is found in Charleston, South Carolina at Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ. Here, as the name implies, the entire pig is slow cooked over the coals and served with a vinegar-based sauce to the diners lucky, or discerning, enough to have chosen this establishment for their meal.

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