“Nothing says American summer like barbecue, and with styles that vary by region, aficionados get fired up over which states serve up the best,” said Brooke Ferencsik, director of communications for TripAdvisor. “Offering a smorgasbord of the country’s finest barbecue styles, Georgia is a traveler favorite and features more than 500 smokin’ spots on TripAdvisor.”
Top 10 U.S. States for BBQ1
Top 10 BBQ Joints in the U.S.2
- Franklin Barbecue, Austin, Texas (4.5 out of 5 bubble rating on TripAdvisor, 291 reviews)
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. A TripAdvisor reviewer said, “The bottom line is this is actually a place that lives up to the hype. Run, don't walk, to line up for Franklin!”
- Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ & Catering, Kansas City, Kansas (4.5 out of 5 bubble rating on TripAdvisor, 788 reviews)
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. Fan favorites include burnt ends and the “Z-Man” sandwich, a unique stacking of brisket, provolone cheese and onion rings served atop a Kaiser roll. A TripAdvisor reviewer said, “BBQ so good it gave me chills!”
- Bogart’s Smokehouse, Saint Louis, Missouri (4.5 out of 5 bubble rating on TripAdvisor, 298 reviews)
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. A TripAdvisor reviewer said, “The people are great, the service is fast, and the food is some of the best stuff I have ever put in my mouth.”
- Wiley’s Championship BBQ, Savannah, Georgia (4.5 out of 5 bubble rating on TripAdvisor, 791 reviews)
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. A TripAdvisor reviewer commented, “Falling-off-the-bone tender. Succulent. Delicious. Charred on the outside. Perfection.”
- Hickory Pit Bar-B-Que, Chattanooga, Tennessee (4.5 out of 5 bubble rating on TripAdvisor, 138 reviews)
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. A TripAdvisor reviewer said, “Excellent food, great service, friendly people and good prices. Feels like home.”
- Jim’s Smokin’ Que, Blairsville, Georgia (5 out of 5 bubble rating on TripAdvisor, 140 reviews)
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. A TripAdvisor reviewer said, “The only problem is choosing what to order since it's all so good.”
- Joe’s BBQ, Blue Ridge, Georgia (4.5 out of 5 bubble rating on TripAdvisor, 238 reviews)
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. A TripAdvisor traveler said, “The ribs were juicy and flavorful, every side we ordered was great and it was all delivered in a super friendly and clean atmosphere.”
- Captain’s BBQ, Palm Coast, Florida (4.5 out of 5 bubble rating on TripAdvisor, 197 reviews)
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. A TripAdvisor reviewer said, “This is the taste of perfect southern barbecue, with the backdrop of old Florida.”
- Poppa’s BBQ, Clearwater, Florida (4.5 out of 5 bubble rating on TripAdvisor, 182 reviews)
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. A TripAdvisor reviewer said, “This place is absolutely amazing! Great service and out of this world food."
- Madd Jacks Grillin Shack, Cape Canaveral, Florida (4.5 out of 5 bubble rating on TripAdvisor, 201 reviews)
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.”
1The TripAdvisor ranking of top U.S. states for barbecue is based on the average rating and total number of reviews for BBQ restaurants, (giving more weight to reviews in the past 12 months), as well as the total number and percentage of restaurants in each state that are classified as BBQ (giving more weight to those with a minimum of 100 reviews).
2The TripAdvisor ranking of top barbecue restaurants is based on establishments that have a minimum of 100 reviews and were ranked by quantity and quality, giving more weight to reviews written in the past year. Chain restaurants with more than 10 locations were excluded.
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