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The Best BBQ Joint in Every State

Pack some wet-naps and hit the road for a state-by-state tour of the best BBQ this country has to offer.

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Saw's BBQSaw's BBQ via facebook.com

Alabama

Saw’s BBQ, Homewood and Birmingham

This hole-in-the-wall barbecue joint makes some of the most delicious ribs and pulled meat in the country. While their pork products have made them popular, their pulled chicken with white sauce is not to be missed. Be prepared to wait in line!

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BlackJaxx BBQ Alaska -SoldotnaBlackJaxx BBQ Alaska via facebook.com

Alaska

Black Jaxx BBQ, Soldotna

Though this restaurant is only open from April to September (the owners, perhaps wisely, spend the harsher months in Oklahoma), Alaskans know they’ll find amazing Southern-style barbecue here. They offer the typical fare as well as smoked bologna and stellar baked beans.

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Little Miss BBQLittle Miss BBQ via facebook.com

Arizona

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 is unique and delicious!

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Jones Bar-B-Q DinerJones Bar-B-Q Diner via facebook.com

Arkansas

Jones Bar-B-Q Diner, Marianna

James Beard awards aren’t handed out willy-nilly, so the fact that this diner earned one back in 2012 says a lot about its quality. Their 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 BBQCopper Top BBQ via facebook.com

California

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.

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GQue BBQGQue BBQ via facebook.com

Colorado

GQue BBQ, Westminster

Only open since late 2015, the cleverly named GQue BBQ has already garnered a lot of attention and numerous awards. They take pride in their carefully sourced hickory-smoked fare, which includes everything from wings to brisket to jalapeno cheddar sausage.

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Hoodoo Brown BBQHoodoo Brown BBQ via facebook.com

Connecticut

Hoodoo Brown BBQ, Ridgefield

Named for the leader of the notorious Dodge City Gang of Las Vegas in the late 1800s, this restaurant 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.

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Fat Daddy's BBQFat Daddy's BBQ via facebook.com

Delaware

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, and the price is right.

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Shiver's Bar-B-QShiver's Bar-B-Q via facebook.com

Florida

Shiver’s Bar-B-Q, Homestead

Owned and operated by the same family for more than 60 years, it’s no surprise the barbecued offerings at this restaurant are excellent. In addition to great food, you’ll also experience wonderful hospitality. For something different, try the fluffy and fantastic cornbread souffle.

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Fox Bros Bar-B-QFox Bros Bar-B-Q via facebook.com

Georgia

Fox Bros Bar-B-Q, Atlanta

As the name suggests, two Texan brothers run this joint 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.

We found the best fried chicken in every state, too!

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Hawaii- Bobs BBQvia bobsbarbque.com

Hawaii

Bob’s Bar-B-Que, Kalihi

Bob’s 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.

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Goodwood Barbecue CompanyGoodwood Barbecue Company via facebook.com

Idaho

Goodwood Barbecue Company, Boise

Meats get fancy in this establishment! In addition to staples like brisket, ribs and burnt ends, Goodwood 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.

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17th Street Barbecuevia 17bbq.com

Illinois

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.

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Bombers BBQBombers BBQ via facebook.com

Indiana

Bombers BBQ, Munster

Burnt ends are the specialty of this barbecue joint, 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.

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Smokey D's BBQSmokey D's BBQ via facebook.com

Iowa

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 their accomplishments, look no further than their huge (and full!) trophy case for affirmation.

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Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-QueJoe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que via facebook.com

Kansas

Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que, Kansas City

Consistently on “best of” lists and often at the top, this establishment 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.

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Moonlite Bar-B-Q InnMoonlite Bar-B-Q Inn via facebook.com

Kentucky

Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn, Owensboro

Mutton is on the menu at this revered Kentucky restaurant. They’ve been serving it, along with more typical barbecue fare, for over 60 years, and to say that they’ve mastered its proper preparation would be quite the understatement.

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The JointThe Joint via facebook.com

Louisiana

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 these folks that even the salad comes with a smoked dressing. Try New Orleans-style recipes at home.

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Salvage BBQSalvage BBQ via facebook.com

Maine

Salvage BBQ, Portland

Delicious meats of all kinds are served at this hip Maine restaurant. As a bonus, they offer 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.

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Chaps Pit BeefChaps Pit Beef via facebook.com

Maryland

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.

See what other food Maryland is famous for.

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B.T.'s SmokehouseB.T.'s Smokehouse via facebook.com

Massachusetts

B.T.’s Smokehouse, Sturbridge

This small-town joint specializes in slow-smoked and dry-rubbed barbecue. Their brisket 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!

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Slows Bar BQSlows Bar BQ via facebook.com

Michigan

Slows Bar BQ, Detroit

Slows 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.

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Q Fanatic BBQ & GrillQ Fanatic BBQ & Grill via facebook.com

Minnesota

Q Fanatic BBQ & Grill, Champlin

This popular restaurant 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.

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The Shed Barbecue & Blues JointThe Shed Barbecue & Blues Joint via facebook.com

Mississippi

The Shed Barbecue & Blues Joint, Ocean Springs

As their name implies, this place is a must-visit for all lovers of barbecued meat and blues. They often feature live music to accompany their deliciously smoked baby back and spare ribs, which you can enjoy seated on picnic tables beneath string lights.

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Pappy's SmokehousePappy's Smokehouse via facebook.com

Missouri

Pappy’s Smokehouse, St. Louis

Pappy’s is the go-to barbecue joint in St. Louis. 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.

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The Notorious P.I.GThe Notorious P.I.G via facebook.com

Montana

The Notorious P.I.G., Missoula

A clever name isn’t the only thing this restaurant has going for it. They serve 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.

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Phat Jack's BBQPhat Jack's BBQ via facebook.com

Nebraska

Phat Jack’s BBQ, Lincoln

Burnt ends and brisket are the shining stars of this surprisingly modern place, 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!

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John Mull's Meats & Road Kill GrillJohn Mull's Road Kill Grill - John Mull's Meats via facebook.com

Nevada

John Mull’s Meats & Road Kill Grill, Las Vegas

As you might expect, John Mull’s Meats 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 SmokehouseGoody Cole's Smokehouse via facebook.com

New Hampshire

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 corn bread receives rave reviews. They use all hickory wood in the smoker, a fact made evident with one whiff of the air around the restaurant.

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Red White and Que SmokehouseRed White and Que Smokehouse via facebook.com

New Jersey

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.

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Mad Jack's Mountaintop BarbecueMad Jack's Mountaintop Barbecue via facebook.com

New Mexico

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 their massive and meaty beef ribs, too!

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Hometown Bar-B-Quevia hometownbarbque.com

New York

Hometown Bar-B-Que, Brooklyn

Another rookie, Hometown 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.

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Skylight Inn BBQSkylight Inn BBQ via facebook.com

North Carolina

Skylight Inn BBQ, Ayden

Unless you prefer Lexington-style barbecue (red sauce on pork shoulder only), 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.

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Spitfire Bar & Grill via spitfirebarandgrillfargo.com

North Dakota

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 is the gourmet raspberry ribs, finished with a savory raspberry glaze.

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Eli's BBQEli's BBQ via facebook.com

Ohio

Eli’s BBQ, Cincinnati

Patrons rave about this modest joint’s pulled pork and baked beans in particular. For a particularly appetizing twist, customers can choose to make their side dishes “dirty” by topping them with pork cracklings. Talk about a treat!

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Burn Co BarbecueBurn Co Barbecue via facebook.com

Oklahoma

Burn Co Barbecue, Tulsa

The owners of this place say Oklahoma BBQ is a blend of Texans’ love for beef and the sweet sauces and pork dishes of Kansas. They use the unique Tulsa-made Hasty Bake charcoal oven to grill and smoke their meats and some of their sides.

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Podnah's Pit BarbecuePodnah's Pit Barbecue via facebook.com

Oregon

Podnah’s Pit, Portland

Central Texas-style barbecue is on the menu at this popular establishment with a spacious dining area. The dry-rubbed brisket and ribs both have a bark that’s simultaneously light, crispy, smoky and just fatty enough to please the palate.

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Shakedown BBQShakedown BBQ via facebook.com

Pennsylvania

Shakedown BBQ, Grantville

You can truly personalize your plate at this restaurant—pick a meat, a size and a style. Their meats include brisket, pulled pork and smoked chicken, and their styles range from Alabama BBQ (white sauce) to Barn Burner (ghost pepper slaw and “hell in a bucket” sauce).

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Becky's BBQBecky's BBQ via facebook.com

Rhode Island

Becky’s BBQ, Middletown

Dishing out sauced meat in the styles of both Carolina and Kansas City, Becky’s has low-and-slow down to an art form. Their plates have been satisfying everyone from kids to senior citizens since 1994.

Rhode Island is famous for all sorts of surprising foods.

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Carolina BBQCarolina BBQ via facebook.com

South Carolina

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. They even serve homemade Brunswick stew, which is a barbecue classic that needs a comeback.

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Big Rig BBQBig Rig BBQ via facebook.com

South Dakota

Big Rig BBQ, Sioux Falls

Another young establishment, Big Rig is so proud of their tender, juicy meat that they serve it as is, with the sauce optional. Everything possible is made from scratch and served by hard-working, friendly people.

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Peg Leg PorkerPeg Leg Porker via facebook.com

Tennessee

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. Their dry-rubbed ribs are a must-try.

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Franklin BBQFranklin BBQ via facebook.com

Texas

Franklin BBQ, Austin

Even if you don’t give a hoot about barbecue, you’ve probably heard of this place. 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!

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Bam Bam's BBQBam Bam's BBQ via facebook.com

Utah

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.

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Bluebird BarbecueBluebird Barbecue via facebook.com

Vermont

Bluebird Barbecue, Burlington

This casual and eclectic eatery serves ribs and, surprisingly, ramen. They even have barbecued seitan for any vegetarians who find themselves in a meat-eater’s paradise.

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HogsHead CafeHogsHead Cafe via facebook.com

Virginia

HogsHead Cafe, Henrico

Though they do offer ribs, pulled pork and chicken, the customer favorite on this joint’s menu seems to be the gluttonous Hog Dog, a bacon-wrapped jumbo beef hot dog that’s deep-fried and topped with pulled pork, sauce and coleslaw.

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Jack's BBQJack's BBQ via facebook.com

Washington

Jack’s BBQ, Seattle

This is another Northwest restaurant focusing on Central Texas-style barbecue. The brisket 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.

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Ridge View BBQRidge View BBQ via facebook.com

West Virginia

Ridge View BBQ, Dunbar

Two couples run this casual and well-liked establishment, and they smoke and serve all the barbecue staples. They even notably make pork rinds in-house. West Virginia State University is right across the street, making its location ideal.

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Bob's Bitchin' BBQBob's Bitchin' BBQ via facebook.com

Wisconsin

Bob’s Bitchin’ BBQ, Dodgeville

You’ll find all the typical barbecue fare at this funky place, including smoked pork chops. Since Wisconsin is America’s Dairyland and famous for its cheeses, you’d be remiss if you left without trying the battered cheese curds.

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HQ Southern BBQHQ Southern BBQ via facebook.com

Wyoming

HQ Southern BBQ, Evansville

HQ Southern BBQ smokes its meat daily, and the ribs and pulled pork are both worth a try. But people really seem to love the Epic Mac-n-Cheese, made with a rich three-cheese and cream combination.

Grace Mannon
Grace is a full-time mom with a Master's degree in Food Science. She loves to experiment in the kitchen and writes about her hits (and misses) on her blog, A Southern Grace.

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