The Best BBQ Cities Across America | Grilling with Rich The Best BBQ Cities Across America

The 10 Best U.S. Regions For Authentic BBQ Cuisine

Posted By: Richard Wachtel
Published: February 7, 2014

Follow Grilling With Rich:

Each barbecue region has a different style of BBQ, and all of the regions claim they have the best BBQ. There have been many debates on social media websites, news websites and food websites, each region claiming to have the best BBQ in America!<< Subscribe to the Grilling with Rich E-Newsletter for FREE barbecue and grilling Tips, Recipes and more! >> Different regions of the country each have their own methods for creating BBQ. Some use sauces, others use rubs, some utilize a certain kind of cooker, and still others adhere to a particular wood for creating the smoke. This means that the different variations for making BBQ are as various and unique as the regions from which they hail.What I think makes authentic BBQ is meat that is cooked with indirect heat or smoked over a long period of time, with the end result to be as tender as possible cut o meat.

Here are some of the different regions of barbecue across America:

Barbecue In the Southeast

There are many different regions in what is typically considered the South. Those states that make up the Southeast have coastlines on the Atlantic Ocean, and they span from Maryland to Florida. Some of the best authentic BBQ is found within this region.

It is agreed that the Carolinas are one of the hotspots of BBQ, focusing mainly on pork, with pulled pork being a specialty. There are differences in methods between North and South Carolina, and even between different areas within each state. Traditionally, the sauces and spices are vinegar- and ketchup-based and not too sweet or sticky.

According to U.S. News & World Report, Lexington, North Carolina serves up some really tasty authentic BBQ.  Similarly, Columbia, South Carolina and Raleigh, North Carolina are other cities that have a reputation for making some mean BBQ.

Outside of the Carolinas, Atlanta, Georgia is another destination for great BBQ. The bustling city offers a lot of different cooking style where East meets West and North meets South in terms of authentic BBQ.

POLL: What do you think?? CLICK HERE TO vote in this poll and let us know what U.S. region has the best BBQ??

Barbecue In the Southwest

Franklin's BBQ in Austin TX

Texas is the king of BBQ in the Southwest, according to a Food & Wine slideshow about the best cities for barbecue. Again, the sheer size of the state creates regional specialties, though the state’s huge cattle industry makes beef—most notably brisket—a favorite meat for BBQ.

According to Food & Wine, Austin and the surrounding Hill County area are known for their BBQ that eschews sauces; Dallas and the surrounding areas are known for their use of sweet and tangy sauces; and the southern regions of the state around Brownsville are known for their incorporation of Mexican methods, spices, and flavors.

Barbecue In South Central

While still considered as part of the South, states in the South Central part of the country are mostly all landlocked and reputably home of some of the best BBQ in the country.

Memphis, Tennessee is at the top of many a best BBQ list, and they host the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, according to The city is known for its ribs and their dry rub methods for barbecuing. Nashville is also another notable city for BBQ, though their offerings are like Atlanta, with a little bit of everything.

Missouri is another state with many notable BBQ cities. The area is known for a sweet and sticky BBQ sauce that many think of when they think of BBQ. St. Louis is famous for its St. Louis-style pork spareribs, and Kansas City offers an array of barbecued meats featuring a tomato-based sauce sweetened with molasses.

Other BBQ cities in the area, culled from various lists, include Owensboro, Kentucky for its smoked mutton (that’s sheep); Decatur, Alabama for its distinct white BBQ sauce made from vinegar and mayonnaise; and Hot Springs, Arkansas for the distinct chili pepper heat of its sauces.

Barbecue in Other Notable Cities

While BBQ is mostly a southern style of cooking there are other notable cities in the U.S. that are known for their BBQ. One example is New York City.


Chicago is another city outside of the South that is famous for authentic BBQ. The experts maintain that Chicago does BBQ down and dirty, with a whole lot of tangy sauce that sticks to the meat.

Lastly, Californian and Hawaiian cities are also on many best BBQ lists. In California, the cowboys and prospectors who first settled the area preferred the distinct cooking style and Mexican influences sealed the deal. In Hawaii, their distinct cooked whole pigs at luaus and their rotisserie chicken with ginger and pineapple sauces are not to be left out!

There are places for great, authentic BBQ all over the nation, and there are certainly cities that have the lion’s share of good BBQ. However, the important thing with BBQ is that it’s good, so the best BBQ in the world could easily be right down the street!


Also of Interest:

Visit Grilling with Rich’s Recipe Library daily for the latest and greatest barbecue and grilling recipes.

You Might Like These Other BBQ & Grilling Articles

Category: Latest News