A Definitive List of the Best BBQ in America

With a baffling number of BBQ cook-offs each year, slow-smoked meat is certainly at home in America. Regional flare makes nationwide BBQ contests that much tastier. To rattle off just a few variances, you’ve got the mustard sauce of South Carolina, the thick and sweet BBQ made Kansas City style, Alabama’s white sauce mayo-vinegar combo, and East Texas’ preference for chopped, not sliced, meat. 

But BBQ isn’t BBQ just because it’s smothered in sauce or cooked in your backyard. True barbecue is smoked over low heat for a long period of time. The honorable title of “Pitmaster,” an exquisite chef of barbecue, comes from the smoker pit where the meat is cooked. The BBQ menu may include beef brisket, pulled pork sandwiches, ribs, chicken, or burnt ends.

The following is a mash up of the best of the best from the USA, accumulated from various lists created by carnivorous folks in the field.

Best Sauces


Stubb’s Original Bar-B-Q Sauce, Austin, TX


Charles Vergos’ Rendezvous Hot Famous Barbecue Sauce, Memphis, TN

Swamp Boy’s Original BBQ Sauce, Winter Haven, FL

Big Bob Gibson’s Original White Sauce, Decatur, AL


Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Sauce, Syracuse, NY

Doomer’s “Q” Sauce, Parkville, MD


Arthur Bryant’s Rich & Spicy Barbecue Sauce, Kansas City, MO

Cowtown Bar-B-Q Sauce, Kansas City, MO

Pacific Coast:

Trilby’s Original Spicy BBQ Sauce, Ferndale, WA

Sauce Goddess Big & Tangy Sauce, San Diego, CA

Best Restaurants


Franklin BBQ

Oaklahoma Joe’s, Tulsa, OK


Fat Matt’s Rib Shack, Atlanta, GA

Scott’s Bar-B-Que, Hemingway, SC


Ragin’ Hog BBQ, Denver, CO


Fette Sau, Brooklyn, NY

Andy Nelson’s Southern Pit BBQ, Cockeysville, MD


Smoque, Chicago, IL

Pacific Coast:

Podnah’s Pit- Portland, OR

Phil’s BBQ, San Diego, CA

Show some Texas-style BBQ pride with just keep livin’s Texas Forever Tee – the city of Lockhart has been declared, by the state legislature, the “Barbecue Capital of Texas.” 

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