With it's popularity ever increasing, barbecue restaurants can be found in almost every city in the U.S., and has evolved into a true art form.
Barbecue has been around since humans began cooking with fire. The word barbecue was derived from the Caribbean Taino Indian word “barbacoa”. British colonists in Virginia and the Carolinas observed Native Americans drying meat over a smoking fire. Later introducing their own practices, including basting to keep the meat from drying. Slaves of African descent imported from the Caribbean, introduced New-World hot peppers, combined with vinegar and butter to make barbecue sauce.
Although barbecue is a true American original, BBQ will always be Southern because that’s where it began, and where it continues to develop. Preparation, ingredients and side dishes are all distinctive to specific regions of the country.
Predominant regions for barbecue, and what they’re famous for:
- Texas: Slow-cooked brisket
- Kansas City: Sauces
- Memphis: Wet ribs, dry ribs, BBQ sauce
- St. Louis: Ribs, burnt ends (St. Louis-style ribs is often confused with a cooking method, but it refers to the cut of rib, which is a spare rib rack with the thick cartilage and fat-filled ends hacked off, leaving a slab of uniform-length ribs. Meatier and juicier than the baby back. You can tell them apart by the heavy curvature found in the baby back bones.)
- North Carolina: Chopped BBQ, shoulder of the hog
The restaurants in this list have mastered the secret to great barbecue: expertly smoked, slow-cooked at low temperatures. The food and authenticity are what makes these places distinctive. Find your favorite and drop in to experience the rich aromas and savory flavors of barbecue done right.
And don’t forget the “sides”.
The Fifty Best Barbecue (BBQ) Restaurants: