19 Best BBQ Cities

1 minute read

Few topics inspire as much fiery passion as barbecue. The style may vary across the country, but two ingredients remain the same throughout: smoke and meat, a powerful combination that’s enticed eaters since ancient times. Today, barbecue is a deeply rooted part of American culture, with regional ‘cue preferences speaking to a city’s history, geography and taste.


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Central Texas: Austin & Surrounding Hill Country Here, it’s all about the supremacy of the meat, seasoned simply and smoked over oak wood. In Austin, buzzy Franklin BBQ’s Aaron Franklin spends 14 hours smoking his salt-and-pepper-rubbed brisket. Smitty’s in Lockhart is cavernous and dark, with smoke pits turning out remarkable fatty brisket and leaner shoulder clod, all served sans silverware.Courtesy of Franklin BBQ
East Texas: Dallas & Around Lesser-known than Central Texas ’cue but equally delicious, East Texas BBQ uses sweet-tangy sauces. In Dallas, Smokey John’s BBQ & Home Cooking makes excellent hotlinks, while Mike Anderson’s BBQ House specializes in brisket; two hours west in Tyler, there are award-winning pork ribs—and a line to match—at Stanley’s Famous Pit Bar-B-Q.Courtesy of Stanley's Famous Pit Bar-B-Q
Shops on E Washington Street, Brownsville, Texas, USA
South Texas: Brownsville South Texas barbecue takes its lead from Mexico. The defining dish in this area is beef barbacoa, traditionally whole cow head wrapped in maguey leaves or foil and cooked overnight in an underground pit filled with hot coals. At the tiny, family-run Vera’s, customers find tender mesquite-smoked barbacoa by the pound, along with homemade salsa and tortillas.Ian Dagnall — Alamy
Kansas City, Missouri This beloved BBQ capital is famous for its sweet tomato-and-molasses-based sauce, poured on everything from pulled pork sandwiches and beef and pork ribs to smoked chicken and turkey. Key stops include century-old Arthur Bryant’s, which Calvin Trillin once declared “the best restaurant in the world,” and Oklahoma Joe’s, situated, uniquely, inside of a gas station.Courtesy of Oklahoma Joe's
St. Louis, Missouri The opposite side of Missouri favors grilled meats, lavished with a tomato-based, sticky-sweet barbecue sauce. Family-run Roper’s Ribs has been doling out slow-hickory-wood-smoked ribs since 1976; C&K, started serving pig ears and ribs doused in a thin, spicy sauce back in 1963. Coninue the list here.Courtesy of Roper's Ribs

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