Sauce-slathered ribs, spicy chicken wings, mountains of vinegary pulled pork. They’re all part of the American barbecue experience, which at this point is a national pastime. So here are several practitioners across the nation—including Texas favorite Salt Lick, above—that can’t be beat.
Bubba's-Q, Avon, Ohio Launched by a former Cleveland Brown and his wife, the award-winning “Bubba-Q” offered at this fine establishment has made it a regional destination. Dry-rubbed, marinated for 24 hours and then slow-smoked with applewood, their meats are imbued with a truly authentic and unique flavor.
Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, various locations in Maryland, Illinois, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut Dino BBQ is all about personality. They’ve got the friendliest wait staff and bartenders, the most raucous atmosphere and some of the boldest barbecue available. Their sauces are sweet and flavorful, their ribs are succulent, their chicken is juicy, and they even do killer Southern-style picnic items like deviled eggs and fried green tomatoes.
The Salt Lick BBQ, Driftwood and Round Rock, Texas, and a few airports The Salt Lick is famous for its combo plates. Go for The Rancher, an $18 platter of brisket, pork ribs, sausage, turkey, potato salad, cole slaw, beans and absolutely no regrets.
Twin Anchors, Chicago, Illinois Though they’ve got great barbecue pork, chicken and baked beans, Twin Anchors’ mouth-watering ribs alone justify a trip. They also make all their own sauces: zesty barbecue, mild and the “Prohibition” sauce with brown sugar, cracked black pepper and a touch of ghost pepper.
Fette Sau, Brooklyn, New York Barbecue may not be the first thing Brooklyn brings to mind, but Fette Sau’s smoked meats and craft beers have netted it Zagat’s “Best BBQ in NYC” nod several years in a row now. Choose from house-made brisket, pastrami, boneless and bone-in ribs, beef tips, pork shoulder, St. Louis pork ribs, sausage, baked beans, coleslaw and more. No sleep till Brooklyn… barbecue.
Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue, various locations in Kansas and Missouri Like variety? Jack Stack Barbecue offers five types of ribs, five barbecue meats, nine different sides, four barbecue sauces and endless combinations. Try the prime beef ribs or their famous lamb ribs for a barbecue experience out of the ordinary. Then head to Kauffman Stadium for a Royals game and more barbecue.
Angelo's Bar-B-Que, Fort Worth, Texas For over 50 years, Angelo’s has been wowing patrons with their Texas-style barbecue sandwiches, plates, seasonings and sauces. To round out all your barbecue food groups, try some of their hot links, barbecue salami, a fried pie and some house-made potato salad.
The Pit, Raleigh, North Carolina Like many North Carolina barbecue joints, they do pork here whole-hog-style with a vinegary sauce. But along with delicious pit-cooked ribs, pulled pork and brisket, the Pit also serves some less expected fare, such as fried pimento cheese with pepper jelly, pumpkin skillet cornbread with maple butter and bacon bruschetta.
Baby Blues BBQ, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and three California locations Baby Blues began as Southern California’s go-to spot for high-level barbecue grub. And now it's added locations in San Francisco and Philadelphia. Here you can get black Angus brisket, Memphis-style pork ribs or Texas-style beef ribs, barbecue tri tip, chicken smoked rice, cornbread and a whole lot more. Californians might be laid-back, but this ’cue is intense.
The Joint, New Orleans, Louisiana The Joint is always smokin’ their beef brisket, pulled pork, Cajun sausage and chicken. After you mop up your last bit of smoky meat juice with white bread, go for their Peanut Butter Pie, made with local Creole cream cheese. Are we the only ones who kinda wanna go there right now?