Best BBQ Restaurants in the Country

Best BBQ Restaurants in the Country

When it comes to food, they say that there is nothing more American than apple pie and hot dogs. However, one could argue that barbecue should take the top spot as it can’t get much more American than that.

So, knowing how much we as a collective nation love to gorge on some freshly roasted meat, let’s take a look at the top barbecue restaurants around the US.

No matter what your preference, each of these places are sure to delight and leave you wanting more.

#6 Skylight Inn BBQ – Ayden, North Carolina

Skylight Inn BBQ

If you find yourself on the Eastern side of the country, then you have to go to either North or South Carolina to get some food. This region is famous for pork in all its forms, including pulled pork, ribs, and tips.

Spice and vinegar are also heavily favored in this style, making the meat extra succulent and tasty.

The best item here is the whole-hog pork, which is served with slaw (Carolina is famous for slaw) and some incredible corn bread.

#5 Franklin BBQ – Austin, Texas

Franklin BBQ

If you were to go to this relatively unassuming barbecue joint at any time during the day, you would be met with a huge line that could take up to two hours to go through before you can taste anything.

Part of the reason for the long lines are that the joint is only open for lunch, but the other part is that the food is really frickin’ good. In fact, the pitmaster here (Aaron Franklin) has a James Beard award for being the best chef in the Southwest.

While everything on the menu is to die for, what you have to get is the brisket. Aaron’s method for low and slow smoking is legendary, creating meat that is so juicy and flavorful that you can’t compete with anything else.

#4 Joe’s Kansas City BBQ – Kansas City Barbecue

Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que

As you know, there are different ways to prepare your meat based on the part of the country in which you live. While there are plenty of regional differences, the big four are Carolinas, Memphis, Texas, and Kansas City. With all due respect to places like Kentucky and Alabama, these four locations have the most notable flavors, particularly regarding the sauces.

So, in this case, Joe’s is undoubtedly one of the best proprietors of KC barbecue style, which means that it is a must go to destination if you’re ever in the area.

One of the best things about Kansas City barbecue is that it applies all kinds of meats, so don’t think that beef or pork is more favored than the other (like in Texas). The best thing to get at Joe’s is a sandwich, most notably the Z-man.

#3 Herman’s Ribhouse – Fayetteville, Arkansas

Herman's Ribhouse

One thing about different barbecues is that some prefer to use marinades and sauces to liven the flavor while others prefer dry rubs. Herman’s is one of the latter, and it’s a spectacular place for ribs.

However, while chicken is not usually a staple of hardcore barbecue places, the “Herman’s Famous Garlic Chicken” is something amazing.

#2 The Bar-B-Q Shop – Memphis, Tennessee

The Bar-B-Q Shop

As we mentioned, Memphis-style barbecue is a staple of the south, so we can’t go without mentioning at least one place that does it right.

This area is famous for ribs, so if you love pork, then you will find plenty to enjoy here. The Bar-B-Q shop does some of the best baby backs in the state, which is saying something.

The secret is the restaurant’s Dancing Pigs Sauce, which is either hot or mild. However, be warned that hot is not just a name. You will break out in a sweat, so keep some other paper towels handy for your face.

#1 Kerlin BBQ – Austin, Texas

Kerlin BBQ

If you like your barbecue to be straight and to the point (who doesn’t?), then Kerlin’s is just the place for you. The whole operation stays inside of a parked trailer, meaning that you don’t get a lot of atmosphere, but you get some world-class barbecue.

The main specialty here is brisket, as it is with most Texas barbecue. The reason for that is the state is well known to be steer country, so cattle and beef are the main course for most people, regardless of their preference.

So what makes Kerlin’s brisket so outstanding?

Well, he cooks it differently than most, opting for a higher temperature and a longer cook time.

The phrase is “low and slow,” but Kerlin chooses to do “high and tight,” cooking their brisket for up to twelve hours at a time instead of the usual twenty or so. The result is a crisp shell and a tender middle. Try it by itself or in a sandwich.

Best BBQ in the Country

These six BBQ joints are some of the best bbq restaurants in the country, but maybe we missed out on your favorite. If you know of any hidden gems let us know on Facebook and Twitter and if they’re good, we’ll check them out when we’re on the road again. Who knows maybe in a couple months there will be more worthy contenders!