The Best BBQ Spot in Every State

The Best BBQ Spot in Every State

When it comes to cooking food with live fire, there are two kinds of barbecue: One is anything you can prepare on the backyard cooking appliance popularly called a barbecue (a hibachi, a Weber grill, etc.). This often means burgers, hot dogs, steaks, maybe salmon or swordfish, or other foods that respond well to relatively brief cooking times over direct heat. The other kind of barbecue — also sometimes known as “bbq” or just “‘cue” — is something very different. In this case, the term describes meats, and sometimes other items, cooked over indirect heat, long and slow (sometimes taking 16 hours or more), infusing it with a rich smoke flavor.

That’s the kind of barbecue that ignites arguments, stirs regional pride, and utterly seduces those who enjoy it with its rich, mysterious, savory, sweet-and-salty character.

The parts of America best known for barbecue are the Southeastern states (though not all of them: the Carolinas, definitely; Florida, less so), Texas, and the heartland around Kansas City. Still, there’s great barbecue in every state. Often it is introduced there by natives of Texas or the Deep South, but sometimes it’s just the work of chefs who have fallen in love with this kind of cooking and made it their mission to learn how to do it right.

To determine the best BBQ spot in every state, 24/7 Tempo consulted reviews and ratings published by scores of city, regional, and state websites, extrapolating a shortlist of the most acclaimed establishments, and then using editorial discretion to make our final choices. While some of the places on our final list might have more than one location, we’ve avoided chains — even though some of these, like Dinosaur Bar-B-Q, Smokey Bones, and Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, can be very good and would make good choices if one of our “bests” isn’t in the neighborhood.

Some things to know about the restaurants listed here: Almost all of them prepare all the traditional barbecue meats — ribs, pulled pork, brisket, and often chicken and/or turkey — but many express local or personal tastes by adding unexpected sides or other dishes. Almost all of them offer catering services, and barbecue is a great kind of food for large gatherings. And all of them, with no “almost” about it, are really, really good. (There’s much more to the cuisine of the South than ‘cue, of course. These are classic Southern foods everyone should try.)

Scroll down to learn about the best BBQ spot in every state:

Alabama: Archibald and Woodrow’s B-B-Q

Source: Courtesy of Scott M. via Yelp
Archibald and Woodrow’s B-B-Q has locations in Northport and Tuscaloosa.
  • Location: Northport and Tuscaloosa

George and Betty Archibald opened their first barbecue place in Northport, next door to Tuscaloosa, in 1962. Their grandson, Woodrow Washington III, expanded into the city itself in 2002. The usual meats and sides are served, and there’s also farm-raised catfish and whiting, as well as “jumbo hot wings.”

Alaska: Smokehouse BBQ

Source: Courtesy of Andrew H. via Yelp
Try less common fare such as caribou at Smokehouse BBQ.
  • Location: Anchorage

Promising “Rib stickin’ cowboy cookin’,” Smokehouse is a genuine barbecue shack, serving the basics, along with smoked turkey legs, hot dogs (both beef and reindeer, which is to say caribou), and Cowboy Fries (with pulled pork, cheese, and BBQ sauce).

Arizona: Caldwell County BBQ

Source: Courtesy of Spencer C. via Yelp
Caldwell County BBQ is the best BBQ spot in the state of Arizona.
  • Location: Gilbert and Queen Creek

Inspired by Austin’s legendary Franklin Barbecue (see below), Clay Caldwell, who’d previously been in the ‘cue business for 20 years but given it up, opened this new place in 2018. Mesquite-smoked sausage, Aunt Susan’s Corn Casserole, and a sandwich called El General Patton (brisket, pulled pork, and sausage on a Hawaiian bun) are among the specialties.

Arkansas: Jones Bar-B-Q Diner

Source: Courtesy of Bjorn B. via Yelp
Jones Bar-B-Q Diner dates back to the early 20th century.
  • Location: Marianna

Open since the early years of the 20th century, and named an American Classic by the James Beard Foundation, Jones is said to be the oldest Black-owned restaurant in the U.S. The Jones family still runs the place, smoking pork shoulders, and nothing else, over hickory and oak, and serving the pulled meat on Wonder Bread, with slaw (period) on the side. The tiny place opens at 7 a.m., and closes when the pork runs out — which is often before lunchtime.

California: Everett & Jones Barbecue

Source: Courtesy of Suzane W. via Yelp
Taste Everett & Jones Barbecue’s famous house sauce.
  • Location: Oakland and Antioch

Dorothy Everett and her family opened this well-loved establishment in 1973 (Jones was the married name of one of Everett’s daughters). The sausage is house-made, there’s smoked chicken along with other meats, and the sweet, smoky, spicy house sauce is famous.

Colorado: Roaming Buffalo BBQ

Source: Courtesy of Tomás M. via Yelp
Roaming Buffalo BBQ’s smoked meats and uncommon sides are worth the visit.
  • Location: Denver

Texan Coy Webb and his wife, Rachael, a Colorado native, opened their barbecue place in 2015, later expanding to Golden (a location that’s now closed). Besides the usual brisket, spare ribs, etc., they offer delicious novelties like barbecue lamb shoulder, bison back ribs, and venison sausage, plus uncommon sides along the lines of smoked andouille and roasted corn grits and house-made potato chips with white cheddar and green chile.

Connecticut: Noble Smokehouse

Source: Courtesy of Eric S. via Yelp
Great BBQ even shows up in Connecticut.
  • Location: Mystic

Connecticut isn’t exactly a barbecue capital, and the picturesque tourist town of Mystic is probably the last place you’d expect to find pork belly burnt ends, Texas brisket chili, or Memphis-style pulled pork sandwiches, but all those and other smoky favorites are on the menu at this spot opened by Josh Feldman in 2021.

Delaware: Young’s BBQ

Source: Courtesy of Maribeth T. via Yelp
Young’s BBQ boats a friendly and casual atmosphere.
  • Location: Middletown

Debuting in 1995, Keith Young’s casual, friendly barbecue place serves pulled pork, pulled chicken, brisket, and both hot and sweet sausage on Martin’s potato rolls, with a very good house-made BBQ sauce. There are also both spare ribs and baby back ribs, along with the usual sides.

Florida: Big John’s Alabama BBQ

Source: Courtesy of Bob S. via Yelp
Big John’s brings Alabama-style barbecue to Florida.
  • Location: Tampa

The Reverend John A. “Big John” Stephens, from guess which state, launched this Tampa favorite in 1968. Stephens died in 1994, but his family is still in charge. Both beef and pork sausages, ribs, and chopped meat are offered, and the house sauce wins plaudits.

Georgia: Fresh Air Barbecue

Source: Courtesy of Michael H. via Yelp
Think you can tackle a whole smoked bone-in ham?
  • Location: Jackson and Macon

Opened by Dr. Joel Watkins in 1929, Fresh Air has been going strong ever since, under the direction of the Caston family (currently the fourth generation). An unusual offering is a whole smoked bone-in ham, and there’s Brunswick stew on the menu, too.

Hawaii: Sunset Texas Barbecue

Source: Courtesy of Craig S. via Yelp
Sunset Texas Barbecue brings Texas-style smoked meat to Hawaii.
  • Location: Honolulu (Oahu)

Korean-American pitmaster James Kim was raised in Texas, moving to Hawaii — his wife’s home state — in 2016. He began serving Texas-style ‘cue from a food truck, and opened his brick-and-mortar operation in 2021, in Honolulu’s Kaka’ako neighborhood. Brisket and beef ribs are the stars here, but there’s plenty of pork, too, as well as barbecued pork belly, with all the meats smoked with offset smokers made in the Lone Star State.

Idaho: Grandpa’s Southern Bar-B-Q

Source: Courtesy of Lynn H. via Yelp
Don’t miss the sides and desserts at Grandpa’s Southern Bar-B-Q.
  • Location: Idaho Falls

Grandpa’s, originally opened in Arco in 1995 and transplanted to Idaho Falls in 2002, offers ribs, brisket, pulled pork, pulled beef or chicken, a dozen sides (including gorgonzola pasta, both creamy and vinaigrette coleslaw, and herbed mashed potatoes), and fried catfish for good measure — plus desserts including sweet potato pie and chocolate cobbler.

Illinois: 17th Street BBQ

Source: Courtesy of Rodd S. via Yelp
17th Street BBQ is the best spot for BBQ in Illinois.
  • Location: Murphysboro

Southwestern Illinois, bordering Missouri, has its own barbecue culture, and Murphysboro was dubbed “the barbecue capital of Illinois” by the State Legislature in 2014. Pitmaster Mike Mills, who became known as “The Legend” (and who consulted with Danny Meyer when he opened his pioneering Blue Smoke in Manhattan), opened this original version of 17th Street BBQ in 1985. He died in 2020, but his daughter, Amy Mills, carries on his legacy. Baby back ribs are the signature here, and the sauces and “Magic Dust” seasoning are considered tops.

Indiana: Hank’s Smoked Briskets

Source: Courtesy of Grace C. via Yelp
Potato latkes are a unique offering available at Hank’s Smoked Briskets.
  • Location: Indianapolis

Native Texan Hank Fields missed barbecue when he moved to Indianapolis, and in 2004, he opened this paean to “Texas-style Mesquite Wood BBQ,” importing the wood from Texas and using it to smoke brisket, corned beef, and rib tips, as well as ribs, chicken, pork loin, and more. Besides the usual sides, there are potato latkes, and special dinners are available layered on top of baked potatoes.

Iowa: Jimmy Jack’s Rib Shack

Source: Courtesy of Elle B. via Yelp
Jimmy Jack’s Rib Shack serves up St. Louis-style ribs.
  • Location: Iowa City

Jack Piper and James Adrian, known for the popular Iowa City restaurant Atlas, sold that place in 2017 to concentrate on Jimmy Jack’s, which they’d opened a dozen years earlier and transferred to new quarters in 2016. Ribs (St. Louis style), needless to say, are the focus, though chicken, pulled pork, brisket, and even smoked portobello mushrooms are part of the repertoire.

Kansas: Jones Bar-B-Q

Source: Courtesy of Cindy P. via Yelp
Jones Bar-B-Q features a lovely patio.
  • Location: Kansas City

Kansas City, MO, gets all the attention for its barbecue, but the magic extends across state lines to its civic sibling in Kansas. Leavy B. Jones Sr. opened this place in 1970, and his daughters still run it. Ribs and house-made sausage are the main specialties, but the truly ravenous might want to opt for the Jones Platter — ribs, beef, turkey, ham, rib tips, and sausage, plus bread, all for $85.

Kentucky: Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn

Source: Courtesy of Deanna D. via Yelp
The Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn grew from seating 30 people to seating 350.
  • Location: Owensboro

Opened in 1949, Moonlite was taken over by former distillery workers Catherine and Pappy Bosley in 1963. They and their children and grandchildren gradually grew the 30-seat roadside joint into a 350-seat restaurant and opened their own processing plant and a wholesale operation. It’s still in Bosley family hands, serving from both a regular menu on which smoked mutton figures alongside the chicken, pork, and beef, and from a daily buffet laden with barbecue meats, assorted vegetables, salads, and desserts.

Louisiana: Grayson’s Barbeque

Source: Courtesy of Susan W. via Yelp
Get classic and delicious barbecue dishes at Grayson’s Barbeque.
  • Location: Clarence

The menu is simple at this classic barbecue spot in Natchitoches Parish, in the northwestern part of the state, opened in 1959 by Ollie Grayson in another location and now run by his grandsons: sliced pork, beef, or ham; ribs; potato salad, beans, and slaw; pecan pie and chocolate or ginger cookies.

Maine: Elsmere BBQ and Wood Grill

Source: Courtesy of Edmund A. via Yelp
Elsmere BBQ and Wood Grill includes an impressive bar.
  • Location: South Portland

Longtime barbecue lovers Jeremy Rush and Adam Powers set up shop in 2013. All the usual meats are offered, with most of them involved in the Elsmere Tornado Sandwich — chopped brisket, pulled pork, sausage, and Texas Red BBQ sauce on a toasted pretzel bun with coleslaw. More unconventional menu items, for ‘cue place, include barbecued oysters, Caesar salad, and a black bean burger.

Maryland: Smokehouse BBQ Shack

Source: Courtesy of Bob Z. via Yelp
Don’t miss the Southern staples at Smokehouse BBQ Shack.
  • Location: Mechanicsville

Since 2018, Paul and Belinda Thompson (who also run a catering company) have been selling pulled and sliced pork, pulled chicken, brisket, and ribs. The standout on the menu, though, is sliced pit beef, a Maryland specialty, served on a bun. There’s also a good old-fashioned Southern staple — hush puppies.

Massachusetts: Sweet Cheeks Q

Source: Courtesy of Britt M. via Yelp
Sweet Cheeks Q is the best BBQ spot in Massachusetts.
  • Location: Boston

Boston chef-restaurateur Tiffani Faison, known for such places as Fool’s Errand and Bubble Bath, fired up the smoker at Sweet Cheeks in 2011. Meats include pulled heritage pork, pork belly, prime brisket, both pork and beef ribs, and cheddar-jalapeño hot links, but there’s also buttermilk fried chicken, mac n’ cheese made with pimento cheese, and highly acclaimed buttermilk biscuits with honey butter.

Michigan: Parks Old Style Bar-B-Q

Source: Courtesy of Richard D. via Yelp
Terry Parks’ grandchildren run Parks Old Style Bar-B-Q.
  • Location: Detroit

Edward “Terry” Parks opened this place in 1964, and his grandchildren are in charge today. Slabs of ribs are served, as well as small-end and large-end portions. There’s also pulled pork, BBQ chicken, and beef ribs. Appropriately old-style sides include potato salad, coleslaw, and baked beans, but jalapeño poppers and battered and fried mushrooms are available too.

Minnesota: Ted Cook’s 19th Hole Barbecue

Source: Courtesy of Chris M. via Yelp
Ted Cook’s 19th Hole Barbecue uses hickory or cherry wood to smoke tasty meats.
  • Location: Minneapolis

Avid golfer Louis “Ted” Cook, once the state’s senior golf champion, ran this restaurant from 1968 through 1986. It’s had two groups of owners since then but has maintained its reputation for quality, using hickory or cherry wood to smoke pork and beef in various forms, including huge slabs of ribs and pork rib tips, chicken, and beef hot links.

Mississippi: Clay’s House of Pig (C.H.O.P.)

Source: Courtesy of Kevin T. via Yelp

  • Location: Tupelo

Clay Coleman ran a bait and tackle shop in this town best known as the childhood home of Elvis Presley, before adding a barbecue business on the side in 2017. Pork ribs and rib tips are, not surprisingly, the main thing here — but there’s also pulled pork, burnt ends, BBQ bologna, barbecue-filled tacos and quesadillas, meats spooned over potatoes, BBQ nachos, and a number of other treats.

Missouri: Gates Bar-B-Q

Source: Courtesy of John F. via Yelp
Gates Bar-B-Q has locations in Kansas City and Independence, MO.
  • Location: Kansas City and Independence, and Leawood, KS

Arthur Bryant’s may be the city’s most famous purveyor of barbecue, and it’s as good as ever, but many connoisseurs prefer this five-location mini-chain, which dates its origins to 1946 when George W. Gates opened Gates Ol’ Kentucky — which was eventually renamed and evolved into the present-day operation. Ribs, sausage, mutton, chicken, and more are on the menu, and there’s a burnt ends sandwich served on a hoagie.

Montana: The Notorious P.I.G.

Source: Courtesy of Paul M. via Yelp
The Notorious P.I.G. is known for more than just its funny name.
  • Location: Missoula

St. Louis-born Burke Holmes launched his cheekily named BBQ establishment in 2015. Ribs and all the other expected proteins are available as plates or sandwiches, and there’s also a tri-tip sirloin sandwich and a BBQ salad, with a choice of meats over mixed greens with smoked onions, pepper cheese, and tomatoes.

Nebraska: Phat Jack’s Barbecue

Source: Courtesy of Gloria H. via Yelp
Sample house specials such as Jack’s loaded baked potato.
  • Location: Lincoln

Matt and Jackie Burt were barbecue hobbyists and then competitors in ‘cue contests, living in Kansas, before they moved back to their hometown of Lincoln, opening Phat Jack’s in 2008. Ribs, brisket, pulled pork, turkey, and burnt ends are all sold here in various presentations, but the house specials are Jack’s loaded baked potato (with pork or brisket), bbq nachos, and a “sundae platter,” including one or two meats and, beans, coleslaw, or potato salad.

Nevada: Big B’s Texas BBQ

Source: Courtesy of Michael U. via Yelp
Native Texan Brian Buechner and his wife opened the first Big B’s Texas BBQ.
  • Location: Henderson and Las Vegas

The year 2015 saw the appearance of Big B’s first location, in Henderson, opened by native Texan Brian Buechner and his wife, Natalia Badzjo. (The Las Vegas offshoot came online in 2019.) On the menu: chicken, turkey, brisket, tri-tip, pulled pork, beef ribs, baby back ribs, and hot links, and there’s also a brisket burger.

New Hampshire: Smokeshow Barbeque

Source: Courtesy of Marcel B. via Yelp
Smokeshow Barbeque brings Texas barbecue to New Hampshire.
  • Location: Concord

When Matt Gfroere and his wife, Heather, moved to Austin in 2000, they discovered — and fell in love with — real Texas barbecue. He went on to learn the pitmaster’s craft at an assortment of places in Texas and then Maryland, striking out on his own in 2016. In addition to the conventional BBQ meats, Smokeshow offers “Goodness” — brisket chopped with a bit of pork and a bit of turkey, then cooked in the house 603 sauce. The recommended side dish for the creation is the FinnJack Frito Pie — Fritos and smoked baked beans with a choice of meat, cheese sauce, and sour cream.

New Jersey: Wildwoods BBQ

Source: Courtesy of Kim K. via Yelp
Try interesting fare such as Aussie beef sausage at Wildwoods BBQ.
  • Location: North Wildwood

Australian barbecue lovers Joel Romano and David Gill (who’d worked at Hometown BBQ in Brooklyn) opened their place on the Jersey Shore in 2021. Ribs in several iterations are a feature, with brisket and chicken also smoked. The owners reference their native country with a sausage roll and an Aussie beef sausage, and the sides include smoked beets and fried cauliflower.

New Mexico: Mad Jack’s Mountaintop Barbecue

Source: Courtesy of Christina R. via Yelp
Can you tackle Mad Jack’s “dinosaur” beef rib?
  • Location: Cloudcroft

High up in the mountains in the Lincoln National Forest, in a town with an elevation of over 8,500 feet, you’ll find this Texas-style barbecue restaurant run by James Jackson, who hails from the Texas Hill Country town of Lockhart, sometimes called the state’s barbecue capital. Besides the typical BBQ meats, including a “dinosaur” beef rib, there are three sausages — a house-made original variety, another made with green chiles (also house-made), and a jalapeño sausage imported straight from Lockhart’s famed Kreuz Market, a stop on any credible barbecue tour.

New York: Fette Sau

Source: Courtesy of JiHae L. via Yelp
Fette Sau is the best BBQ spot in all of New York.
  • Location: Brooklyn

Joe Carroll opened this trendy barbecue place, which also features craft spirits and beers, in 2007, later describing his style as “one part Central Texas and one part New York deli” (at one point, he turned out smoked beef tongue pastrami). The restaurant’s name is German for “fat pig.” The meats available are brisket, pork belly, pulled pork, pork ribs, spicy sausage, and chicken wings, with half-sour pickles and sauerkraut among the sides.

North Carolina: Skylight Inn

Source: Courtesy of Chrissy A. via Yelp
Choose from pig or “yardbird” at Skylight Inn BBQ.
  • Location: Ayden

The late Pete Jones opened this well-loved Greenville area purveyor of barbecue in 1947, and it’s now operated by a son, grandson, and nephew of the founder. The specialty is whole-hog cookery, and in fact the only options are “pig” and “yardbird” (chicken), with sides limited to coleslaw, potato salad, baked beans, potato skins, and cornbread.

North Dakota: Pit 105

Source: Courtesy of Scott M. via Yelp
Try one of the elaborate barbecue sandwiches available at Pit 105.
  • Location: Williston

Caleb and Micki Hinricksen have family in the Williston area, and Caleb has been involved with various area restaurants and food trucks, including Mississippi BBQ, which opened in 2014. In 2018, Caleb set off on his own and opened Pit 105, adjacent to the Busted Knuckle Brewery. Ribs, brisket, sausage, pulled pork, pulled chicken, various elaborate sandwiches, loaded baked potatoes, BBQ nachos, wings, and Cuban sandwich sliders are among the choices.

Ohio: Midwest Best BBQ and Creamery

Source: Courtesy of J J. via Yelp
Midwest Best BBQ and Creamery began with a sauce and rub business.
  • Location: Loveland

Tim and Nicole Worsham didn’t plan to open a barbecue spot.  Instead, they set up Midwest Best Sauces and Rubs in this Cincinnati area town in 2009 to make, as the name says, sauces and rubs. In 2013, frustrated by customers continually asking them about their restaurant, they decided to open one. Today, they serve such things as brisket, smoked turkey, chopped chicken, pulled pork, and smoked and fried wings with a variety of sauces.

Oklahoma: Dink’s World Famous Pit BBQ

Source: Courtesy of Blake H. via Yelp
Dink’s World Famous Pit BBQ is the best spot to get barbecue in Oklahoma.
  • Location: Bartlesville

In 1982, Charles Martin opened Dinks, later selling it to Jim Curd. (There was an offshoot run by Curd’s son in Bentonville, AR, but it has now closed.) An unnamed “long-time Texas barbecue pioneer” helped build the original pit, still in use. The traditional barbecue meats form the heart of the menu, and fried onion strings are a signature side.

Oregon: Podnah’s Pit Barbecue

Source: Courtesy of Linh M. via Yelp
Podnah’s Pit Barbecue also features breakfast options.
  • Location: Portland

When Rodney Muirhead opened his barbecue restaurant in 2006, he named it after his grandfather, J.R. “Podnah” Muirhead, who was a butcher and pit master in the Muirheads’ hometown of Waxahachie, TX. Muirhead relocated to an expanded space in 2011, where he serves pulled pork, brisket, chicken, ribs, carnitas, and smoked trout. (There’s also a breakfast menu, offering egg tacos, smoked trout hash, and other fare.)

Pennsylvania: Mike’s BBQ

Source: Courtesy of Abdou B. via Yelp
Mike’s BBQ began as a pop-up business.
  • Location: Philadelphia

Originally a pop-up with a traveling smoker, established by Mike Strauss in 2015, Mike’s expanded into a brick-and-mortar place in 2018. Last year, Strauss turned it over to young chef Daniel Grubman, who had been selling ‘cue out of his backyard. The menu has remained virtually the same, though, with spare ribs, prime brisket, pulled pork, house-made sausage, and chicken wings on offer.

Rhode Island: Durk’s Bar-B-Q

Source: Courtesy of Katarina F. via Yelp
Durk’s Bar-B-Q boasts whiskeys from all around the world.
  • Location: Providence

Architect Steve Durkee and two partners set up this business in 2017. Since then, it has moved and signed on executive chef Ed Davis, known from local favorites Birch and Oberlin. The Texas-inspired fare includes brisket, ribs, pulled pork, smoked chicken legs, smoked pork belly, and two kinds of sausage. The restaurant also boasts a Whiskey Wall, featuring more than 150 whiskeys from around the world.

South Carolina: Henry’s Smokehouse

Source: Courtesy of Shelly W. via Yelp
There’s no shortage of fantastic barbecue spots in South Carolina.
  • Location: Greenville and Simpsonville

Henry’s opened the doors of its first location, in Greenville, in 1991. Owners Tiger O’Rourke and Bo Wilder specialize in South Carolina-style ‘cue, which means primarily pork, mostly chopped but also in rib form and as Lowcountry hash (with potatoes). Southern Living magazine recently named Henry’s the best barbecue joint in the state

South Dakota: J.R.’s Rhodehouse BBQ Pit

Source: Courtesy of Sam H. via Yelp
J.R.’s Rhodehouse BBQ Pit offers straightforward barbecue with a Texas touch.
  • Location: Summerset

One-time Texas A&M student Justin Rhodes started this place in 2013, featuring a straightforward menu of brisket, pulled pork, turkey, and hot links (the Josey Wales sandwich is a one-pound combination of all four). A Texas touch: queso may be added to any sandwich for 99 cents.

Tennessee: Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous

Source: Courtesy of Peter M. via Yelp
Charlie Vergos Rendezvous offers meats smoked with a dry rub.
  • Location: Memphis

“At least we can get a decent meal / Down at the Rendezvous” sings John Hiatt in his leaving-Nashville song “Memphis in the Meantime.” Its many fans would say that the meals here are more than decent. It’s all about the ribs at the Rendezvous, smoked with a dry rub (most Tennessee ribs are wet with sauce), but there’s also pork shoulder, brisket, and lamb riblets, among other items.

Texas: Franklin Barbecue

Source: Courtesy of Emily U. via Yelp
Aaron Franklin is a barbecue expert who has won a James Beard Best Chef Award.
  • Location: Austin

Aaron Franklin galvanized the already plenty energetic Austin-area barbecue scene when he opened a BBQ trailer in 2009, which soon had hungry locals standing in line for hours, hoping they’d reach the front of the line before the brisket ran out. He has gone on to write a bestselling book about barbecue, win a James Beard Best Chef Award, and welcome everyone from Jimmy Kimmel to Barack Obama. Today, he has a full-scale restaurant, and brisket is still the star — though he also smokes pork, ribs, turkey, and sausage, plus beef ribs on weekends.

Utah: Lush’s Park City BBQ

Source: Courtesy of Emily R. via Yelp
Richie Lush began selling barbecue out of a food truck.
  • Location: Park City

Tennessee transplant Richie Lush started out in 2020 selling ‘cue out of a food truck. Now, inside four walls, operating only Thursday through Sunday, he serves up all the usual barbecue meats, as well as fried chicken, a bison burger, and, if you must, grilled salmon. The sides include not only tater tots but also potato gnocchi.

Vermont: Bluebird Barbecue

Source: Courtesy of Jeff M. via Yelp
Guy Fieri visited Bluebird Barbecue.
  • Location: Burlington

Sue Bette opened this place in 2012, quickly building a local clientele and eventually drawing the attention of Guy Fieri, who hailed it as “the most authentic barbecue in Vermont.” Besides the meats you’d expect, Bluebird proposes smoked mushrooms with seitan, brisket poutine, and crispy Brussels sprouts with Vermont apple cider and maple syrup.

Virginia: Monk’s BBQ

Source: Courtesy of Chuck S. via Yelp
Listen to live music on the weekends at Monk’s BBQ.
  • Location: Purcellville

Like so many other barbecue spots Monk’s started life as a food truck, in this case, based at a local winery. Owners Brian and Kirsten Jenkins, Nick Calabrese, and Mike Jewell launched the business in 2011, opening a 2,500-square-foot restaurant three years later. Barbecue pastrami is an unusual offering, and cured, smoked ham and turkey are sold around the year-end holidays. There’s also live music on weekends.

Washington: Briley’s BBQ and Grill

Source: Courtesy of Karl K. via Yelp
Don’t miss the Briley Rice at Briley’s BBQ and Grill.
  • Location: Seattle

This Seattle hotspot takes its name from the names of owners Kyle Brierley and Skylar Riley, who went into business here in 2015. You’ll find everything from brisket to two kinds of ribs to chicken wings on the menu, and a favorite side dish is Briley Rice — sticky rice enhanced with pulled chicken, andouille, BBQ beans, and collards.

West Virginia: Ridge View BBQ

Source: Courtesy of Kaci F. via Yelp
Ridge View BBQ offers burgers as well as smoked meats.
  • Location: Institute

In 2007, Jim and Wendy Smith and Nick and Nicki Gohlmann started traveling the state with their smoker, dispensing barbecue at various festivals and other events. They still hit the road, but in 2011 also opened a stationary location near West Virginia State University. Pulled pork and chicken, ribs, brisket, smoked turkey, and more are available, and there’s also a range of half-pound Certified Angus burgers.

Wisconsin: Double B’s MKE Style BBQ

Source: Courtesy of Patrick R. via Yelp
Double B’s features Memphis-style barbecue.
  • Location: West Allis

Double B’s was an old-school bar and restaurant when Mark and Judy Timber took it over in 2015 and converted it to a Memphis-style smokehouse and barbecue spot — later moving to a larger location next door. (They subsequently added a food truck to expand their customer base.) The classic barbecue meats are served, but they also offer a kielbasa plate, smoked bacon balls (hickory-smoked meatballs wrapped in bacon and deep-fried), and “hog wings” (smoked pork shanks tossed in BBQ sauce).

Wyoming: Fat Racks BBQ

Source: Courtesy of T M. via Yelp
Michael Mitchell began operating out of a food truck.
  • Location: Cody

A native of Denton, TX, pitmaster Michael Mitchell is another BBQ purveyor who started operating out of a food truck, back in 2015 — helping to kick-start Cody’s thriving mobile restaurant scene. Now ensconced in a small brick building with picnic tables out front, Mitchell does a fine job with the basics — brisket, pulled pork, smoked turkey, and baby back ribs. Pulled pork nachos are an added pleasure. (On the other hand, here are 19 healthy alternatives to popular barbecue foods.)

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