The Best Barbecue Joint in Every State
Pack some Wet-Naps and hit the road for a state-by-state tour of the best barbecue restaurants in America.
Saw’s BBQ, Homewood
This hole-in-the-wall barbecue joint makes some of the most delicious ribs and pulled meat in the country. While the pork products made Saw’s BBQ popular, the pulled chicken with white sauce is not to be missed. Be prepared to wait in line!
TaTu BBQ, Anchorage
The owner of TaTu BBQ specializes in Carolina and Texas-style barbecue, but he opened his own restaurant to create old-fashioned barbecue he couldn’t find anywhere else. The food isn’t the only thing that has Anchorage residents talking—TaTu BBQ also smokes barbecue for wounded troops as a part of their program, BBQ4Wounded.
Little Miss BBQ, Phoenix
This is another small but superb place serving barbecue in the style of Central Texas, and you’ll want to get there early for their masterful pulled pork, buttery brisket and smoked turkey. Don’t forget dessert—the smoked pecan pie at Little Miss BBQ is unique and delicious!
Jones Bar-B-Q Diner, Marianna
James Beard awards aren’t handed out willy-nilly, so the fact that Jones Bar-B-Q earned one in 2012 says a lot about its quality. This is one of America’s best barbecue joints! The famous pork sandwiches are dressed with a tangy vinegar-based sauce, and a light, mustardy slaw can be added as the perfect accompaniment.
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Copper Top BBQ, Big Pine
This tiny establishment was named America’s Best Restaurant by Yelpers in 2015, and that many peer reviewers can’t be wrong! Things have only gotten better since then; tri-tip is the star of Copper Top‘s show, and they’ve mastered ribs, pulled pork and chicken, too.
GQue BBQ, Westminster
Open since 2015, the cleverly named GQue BBQ has already numerous awards. They take pride in their carefully sourced hickory-smoked fare, which includes everything from wings to brisket to jalapeno cheddar sausage.
Hoodoo Brown BBQ, Ridgefield
Named for the leader of the notorious Dodge City Gang of Las Vegas in the late 1800s, Hoodoo Brown BBQ serves a mixture of various barbecue styles from around the country (appropriately dubbed “outlaw barbecue”). Their pork belly is next to none, with crispy skin and a rich, juicy bite.
Fat Daddy’s BBQ, Georgetown
You’ll find this place not far from Delaware Tech, and their spicy barbecue, outstanding brisket and unique corn pone (basically unleavened cornbread) appeal to college kids and mature adults alike. Portions are generous at Fat Daddy’s BBQ and the price is right.
Shiver’s Bar-B-Q, Homestead
Owned and operated by the same family for more than 60 years, it’s no surprise that Shiver’s Bar-B-Q is one of the best barbecue restaurants in America. In addition to great food, you’ll also experience wonderful hospitality. For something different, try the fluffy and fantastic cornbread souffle.
Fox Bros Bar-B-Q, Atlanta
As the name suggests, two Texan brothers run Fox Bros Bar-B-Q in northeast Atlanta. They serve plenty of pork, but since they are from Texas, beef is the star. You can even get a huge beef rib that was named one of Atlanta’s iconic dishes by Eater in 2015.
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Bob’s Bar-B-Que, Kalihi
Bob’s Bar-B-Que serves up barbecue with a serious Hawaiian twist and influences from all over the world. They offer kalbi ribs (Korean-style beef short ribs) and chicken katsu (Japanese-style breaded chicken), and they make their own teriyaki that can be used to sauce any meat.
Goodwood Barbecue Company, Boise
Meats get fancy in this establishment! In addition to staples like brisket, ribs and burnt ends, Goodwood Barbecue Company also offers deluxe options like smoked prime rib and mopped Delmonico steak. Enjoy your barbecued feast surrounded by woodsy decor, just as their name suggests.
17th Street Barbecue, Murphysboro
Featured on Food Network and Travel Channel and the recipient of numerous awards and accolades, 17th Street Barbecue is a landmark establishment. One thing that makes them stand out among barbecue restaurants is their use of their trademarked “magic dust” rub, which you can purchase in their shop.
Bombers BBQ, Munster
Burnt ends are the specialty at Bombers BBQ, which boasts that all of their meats are smoked a minimum of 15 hours. The staff is particularly friendly, and visitors should be prepared to be bombarded with military paraphernalia—it’s their entire motif.
Smokey D’s BBQ, Des Moines
Choices abound at Smokey D’s—their championship-level meat offerings include chopped pork, pulled chicken, pit ham and burnt ends, among others. If you doubt that this is one of the best barbecue restaurants in America, look no further than their huge (and full!) trophy case for affirmation.
Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que, Kansas City
Consistently on “best of” lists and often at the top, Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que was originally a gas station. That doesn’t slow them down at all, as you’ll find world-famous ribs and brisket that always meet high standards. They’ve even earned Anthony Bourdain‘s seal of approval.
Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn, Owensboro
Mutton is on the menu at this revered Kentucky restaurant. Moonlite Bar-B-Q has been serving it, along with more typical barbecue fare, for more than 60 years, and to say that they’ve mastered its proper preparation would be quite the understatement.
The Joint, New Orleans
This place pays homage to its location with chaurice sausage, a classic Creole pork sausage seasoned with fresh vegetables. Since opening in 2004, their meats, smoked on-site, have only gotten better and more popular. Smoke is so important to The Joint that even the salad comes with a smoked dressing. Try New Orleans-style recipes at home.
Salvage BBQ, Portland
Delicious meats of all kinds are served at this hip Maine restaurant. As a bonus, Salvage BBQ offers beef fat fries, stellar mac and cheese and hush puppies that you won’t soon forget! For those who don’t mind sharing, the Meat Coma is a great option—it includes 1/4 rack of ribs, 1/3 pound of brisket and chopped pork, plus a cup of chili.
Chaps Pit Beef, Baltimore
Maryland’s idea of barbecue is a bit different from that of any other state. They’ve perfected pit beef, which is essentially a roast beef sandwich with a bit of charcoal and smoky flavor, and no one does it better than Chaps.
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B.T.’s Smokehouse, Sturbridge
This small-town joint specializes in slow-smoked and dry-rubbed barbecue. The brisket at B.T.’s Smokehouse is thought by many to be the best in all of New England. Literally thousands of pounds of meat are smoked for their customers each week!
Slows Bar BQ, Detroit
Slows Bar BQ offers a little bit of everything, including brisket, ribs, pulled pork, smoked turkey and jambalaya. They have several noteworthy sandwiches, the best of which might be the Triple Threat, consisting of generous portions of applewood smoked bacon, pulled pork and ham.
Q Fanatic BBQ & Grill, Champlin
Q Fanatic doles out favorites like tender ribs, sliced brisket, grilled slab bacon and corn fritters. They have 10 homemade sauces from which to choose, though the hickory-smoked flavor of the meat needs no enhancement.
The Shed Barbecue & Blues Joint, Ocean Springs
As the name implies, this place is a must-visit for all lovers of barbecued meat and blues. The Shed often features live music to accompany delicious smoked baby back and spare ribs, which you can enjoy seated on picnic tables beneath string lights.
Pappy’s Smokehouse, St. Louis
Pappy’s is the go-to barbecue joint in St. Louis (and one of the best barbecue restaurants in America). They favor Memphis-style barbecue, focusing on dry-rubbed ribs sprinkled with brown sugar and cooked low and slow over apple and cherry wood. The resulting meat has a delicious blend of smoky and sweet flavors.
The Notorious P.I.G., Missoula
A clever name isn’t the only thing this restaurant has going for it. The Notorious P.I.G. serves impressively barbecued meats inspired by St. Louis methods and flavors, including pastrami and tri-tip sirloin, which aren’t often seen on a tour of the best barbecue restaurants.
Phat Jack’s BBQ, Lincoln
Burnt ends and brisket are the shining stars at Phat Jack’s, which has been serving Kansas City-style barbecue since 2006. The portions are generous, the flavors are memorable and the freshly prepared meat goes fast!
John Mull’s Road Kill Grill, Las Vegas
As you might expect, John Mull’s dishes out some interesting fare. In addition to staples like brisket and ribs, you can also visit their market and walk away with goat, frog legs and buffalo burgers, among other unique selections.
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Goody Cole’s Smokehouse, Brentwood
The menu is small at this joint, but that means they’re focusing on quality over quantity. The brisket is not to be missed, and the cornbread receives rave reviews. Goody Cole’s uses all hickory wood in the smoker, a fact made evident with one whiff of the air around the restaurant.
Red White and Que Smokehouse, Kearny
This patriotic establishment is working hard to engender a spirit of camaraderie, slow-cooking their meats to perfection and creating really tasty sides from scratch. The BBQ Sundae stands out on their menu, consisting of meat and smoked baked beans topped with coleslaw and pickles and served in a Mason jar.
Mad Jack’s Mountaintop Barbecue, Cloudcroft
You can’t be a restaurant in New Mexico and avoid green chiles, and this well-loved, homey barbecue place makes an excellent green chile stew. Be on the lookout for Mad Jack’s massive and meaty beef ribs, too!
Hometown Bar-B-Que, Brooklyn
Another rookie, Hometown Bar-B-Que has only been open since 2013 but they’ve already achieved great things. Their smoked meats include lamb belly, something not often seen on barbecue menus, and their plating is elegant with garnishes on the meats.
Skylight Inn BBQ, Ayden
Unless you prefer Lexington-style barbecue (red sauce on pork shoulder), Skylight Inn is the place to go in North Carolina. They favor the Eastern style—they use the whole hog, and they’ve been using it very well since 1947. They also serve a plain and simply perfect vinegar sauce.
Spitfire Bar & Grill, West Fargo
Spit-roasted chicken and pit-smoked ribs bring folks to this restaurant, though they offer much more, including wood-fired steaks, burgers and fish. One intriguing selection at Spitfire Bar & Grill is the gourmet raspberry ribs, finished with a savory raspberry glaze.
Eli’s BBQ, Cincinnati
Patrons rave about this modest joint’s pulled pork and baked beans in particular. For a particularly appetizing twist, customers at Eli’s BBQ can choose to make their side dishes “dirty” by topping them with pork cracklings. Talk about a treat!
Iron Star Urban BBQ, Oklahoma City
Touted as “not your average BBQ shack,” Iron Star Urban BBQ is known for its smoky meats and hearty sides. The restaurant also offers a gluten-free menu—which still includes their famous St. Louis cut pork ribs.
Podnah’s Pit, Portland
Central Texas-style barbecue is on the menu at Podnah’s Pit in Oregon. The dry-rubbed brisket and ribs both have a bark that’s simultaneously light, crispy, smoky and just fatty enough to please the palate.
Mission BBQ, Harrisburg
Mission BBQ had us at three simple words: barbecue glazed shrimp. The Harrisburg location offers a complimentary piece of cornbread with each entree. Can’t decide which smoked meat to treat? Opt for the sampler and get a little of everything.
Becky’s BBQ, Middletown
Dishing out sauced meat in the styles of both Carolina and Kansas City, Becky’s BBQ has low-and-slow down to an art form. Their plates have been satisfying everyone from kids to senior citizens since 1994.
Carolina BBQ, Spartanburg
Lexington-style barbecue is on the menu of this cozy restaurant. The ribs leave visitors wanting more and keep the locals coming back time and time again. Carolina BBQ even serves homemade Brunswick stew, which is a barbecue classic that needs a comeback.
Squealer’s Smoke Shack is Tea’s very own family-run barbecue joint, specializing in smoked pork, brisket and ribs. Both the sauce and sides at this South Dakota BBQ restaurant are always homemade. Aside from the delicious food, the establishment also runs a popular volleyball league.
Peg Leg Porker, Nashville
There’s a story behind the fun name of this joint: The owner lost his leg to bone cancer, but obviously came through it with a sense of humor and a desire to serve great barbecue. The dry-rubbed ribs at Peg Leg Porker are a must-try.
Franklin BBQ, Austin
Even if you don’t give a hoot about barbecue, you’ve probably heard of Franklin BBQ. People wait hours for a taste of their award-winning brisket, and their pulled pork, turkey and sausage are notable, too. Simply put, it’s barbecue bliss!
Bam Bam’s BBQ, Orem
Featuring the style of Central Texas barbecue, Bam Bam’s serves all the classics, including chopped beef. Their mac and cheese is the side of choice for many diners—it’s topped with crushed goldfish crackers for a fun presentation and delicious crunch.
Bluebird Barbecue, Burlington
This casual and eclectic eatery serves ribs and, surprisingly, ramen. Bluebird Barbecue even has barbecued seitan for any vegetarians who find themselves in a meat-eater’s paradise.
HogsHead Cafe, Henrico
Though they do offer ribs, pulled pork and chicken, customers usually head to HogsHead Cafe for the gluttonous Hog Dog, a bacon-wrapped jumbo beef hot dog that’s deep-fried and topped with pulled pork, sauce and coleslaw.
Jack’s BBQ, Seattle
This is another Northwest restaurant focusing on Central Texas-style barbecue. The brisket at Jack’s BBQ is remarkably tender and flavorful and requires no sauce whatsoever, and Frito pie, a beloved Texas classic, is even on their expansive and straightforward menu.
Ridge View BBQ, Dunbar
Two couples run this casual and well-liked establishment, and they smoke and serve all the barbecue staples. Ridge View BBQ even makes pork rinds in-house!
Bob’s Bitchin’ BBQ, Dodgeville
You’ll find all the typical barbecue fare at Bob’s, including smoked pork chops. Since Wisconsin is America’s Dairyland and famous for its cheese, you’d be remiss if you left without trying the battered cheese curds.