Barbecue is the ultimate summer food in the U.S. To get in the spirit, TripAdvisor compiled a list of the top rated barbecue spots across the country. Results are based on site user ratings and reviews and range in styles from sweet and saucy to simple and smoky.
Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas takes the top spot, but restaurants in places in Georgia and Florida each make a strong showing in the list. One thing is clear, Southern states dominate this competition.
The popular travel site also ranked the best states to get some awesome grilled grub. Check to see if your home state made the cut.
Top 10 U.S. states for BBQ
2. North Carolina
6. South Carolina
Grab a bib and get ready to countdown the top 10 barbecue restaurants in the U.S.
1. Franklin Barbecue, Austin, Texas
Committed carnivores often wait upwards of three hours to score a meal at this joint that serves up the Texas trinity of barbecue: brisket, ribs and sausage. The meat is simply seasoned with salt and pepper and then slow-cooked to perfection over an oak-fueled flame.
2. Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ & Catering, Kansas City, Kansas
Operating out of a gas station since 1996, this Kansas City restaurant offers a mouthwatering medley of meats that are dry rubbed and then slathered in the region’s distinctive tomato and molasses-based sauce. TripAdvisor user favorites include burnt ends and the “Z-Man” sandwich, a unique stacking of brisket, provolone cheese and onion rings served atop a Kaiser roll
3. Bogart’s Smokehouse, Saint Louis, Missouri
Since designing his first grill at the age of 14, pit-master Skip Steele has perfected the method for crafting melt-in-your-mouth meats. Patrons can choose between four homemade sauces including “Mad Maddie's,” a vinegar-based concoction, and “Pineapple Express,” a tangy and sweet sauce with a burst of tropical fruit.
4. Wiley’s Championship BBQ, Savannah, Georgia
With more than 30 years of experience winning awards on the national barbecue competition scene, husband and wife team Wiley and Janet McCrary opened their first brick and mortar restaurant in 2008. The joint pleases palates with low-and-slow cooked meats including savory St. Louis cut ribs.
5. Hickory Pit Bar-B-Que, Chattanooga, Tennessee
Amid the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachian Mountains in southeastern Tennessee, this log cabin style restaurant feeds famished barbecue fans with an emphasis on Southern hospitality. Dry-rubbed meats are smoked over hickory wood, and can be served on a plate, as a sandwich, or even stuffed inside a “killer” baked potato.
6. Jim’s Smokin’ Que, Blairsville, Georgia
Open Thursday through Saturday, this northern Georgia smokehouse advises guest to arrive early, as their succulent meats – including ribs, brisket, pulled pork, chicken and turkey – often sell out. Those lucky enough to score a meal can also enjoy their choice of satisfying sides, from Brunswick stew to banana pudding.
7. Joe’s BBQ, Blue Ridge, Georgia
In the midst of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this joint satisfies hungry guests with tender and moist meats complemented by a selection of sauces including “Alabama white,” a mayonnaise-based mixture that has found fame in several Southeastern states.
8. Captain’s BBQ, Palm Coast, Florida
Boasting stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, this waterside smokeshack doubles as a bait and tackle shop. Moist and juicy meats are the backbone of the mouthwatering menu which offers up classic plates as well as more unique creations including pulled pork burritos slathered in Baja sauce.
9. Poppa’s BBQ, Clearwater, Florida
On the Gulf of Mexico, Poppa’s BBQ delights tastebuds with their “Q.” The deliciously simple menu includes an assortment of slow-smoked pulled pork, juicy chicken and Memphis-style ribs that are generously rubbed with a special spice blend and served with a tomato and vinegar sauce on the side.
10. Madd Jacks Grillin Shack, Cape Canaveral, Florida
This beach-themed joint brings a taste of the West Coast to the Sunshine State, as chef Robby O’Connor dishes out generous portions of California-style barbecue including sliced tri-tips that are dry-rubbed and cooked over white oak for a slightly smoky kick. A TripAdvisor reviewer said, “I have eaten at some of the best in the country from Texas, Memphis, St. Louis and some other places. This place beats them all, hands down.”