America’s Best Cities for BBQ

When it comes time for you and your family to move, you know you’ll face lots of changes. Whether it comes because of a business transfer or retirement, your move will introduce a whole new set of lifestyle options. You’ll need to adapt to a new home, a new city, and new restaurants.

Speaking of restaurants, the United States is perhaps world-famous for its wide variety of barbecue foods. From the West Coast all the way to the Deep South, the country excels in smoking, grilling, and consuming tasty meats.

In this blog, we’ve compiled a list of seven cities around the country that offer the best, most mouthwatering BBQ you can find. We hope that your move will take you near at least one of these comfort-food meccas.

1. Austin, TX

Austin is an attractive place for many reasons: it’s one of the nation’s fastest growing cities, it hosts numerous film and music festivals, and of course, it offers some great-tasting barbecue.

Texas does a lot of things big, and the full barbecue experience is no exception. Austin-based restaurants place their focus on hefty meats like beef brisket and ribs, with a plethora of sides to complement these bold flavors.

Austin stands out as a homely, comfortable center of barbecue in the country’s southwest. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more truly American experience than that found in the smoky, rock-n-roll-filled halls of Austin’s best BBQ joints.

2. Los Angeles, CA

This Southern California city isn’t just known for its laid-back lifestyle and entertainment industry-it also boasts classy barbecue and trendy eating locales. The City of Angels offers its own twist on classic barbecue, including an emphasis on tri-tip meat and Korean-style barbecue.

Because of the sheer size of the city and its surrounding areas, you can find dozens of restaurants that utilize all kinds of barbecue cooking methods and that introduce eclectic flavors. If you’re in the mood for traditional BBQ, you’ll find many Texas-inspired foods. Or, if you’re feeling more adventurous, you can even try Filipino barbecue!

3. Memphis, TN

You can’t really go wrong with this legendary BBQ city in Tennessee. When you eat Memphis barbecue, you indulge in some of the best pork in the nation. Experts in the meat-cooking craft offer a variety of BBQ foods, but they focus especially on pulled pork and pork ribs (sopping wet with sauce or dry and seasoned).

The city’s other attractions only make your meal a more enriching experience-with jazz, blues, and rock music blasting around busy streets and friendly locals greeting you at every turn. Memphis restaurants also love to put their BBQ on all kinds of other foods, including nachos and salad.

4. New Orleans, LA

Aside from hosting the exultant celebrations of Mardi Gras, New Orleans is home to all kinds of intriguing culinary adventures, including barbecue. The gulf city puts its own wild spin on the BBQ tradition with sweet, spicy, and tangy accents to ribs, sausages, and other meats. But the most distinctive elements of bayou barbecue are its Caribbean and Cajun flavors.

If you’d like a break from the heavy meats of cow or pig, New Orleans also specializes in seafood and other nautical fare, including barbecued shrimp and gator sausage links.

5. New York, NY

Up in the northeast, New York barbecuers and pit-masters churn out delicious foods that compete with the legendary BBQ down south. The thing about the New York barbecue scene is its modern atmosphere and more sophisticated approach.

Restaurants craft a variety of meals, inspired from places like St. Louis and Memphis (including ribs, brisket, pork, and hamburgers). Some venues cook with expensive ventilation systems while others couple meats with fine wines and distinguished brews. For an upscale scene bent on honest barbecue, New York City confidently delivers.

6. Kansas City, MO

As a crossroads for trade and meat packing, Kansas City stands out as a barbecue haven steeped in tradition. This heartland city brings all kinds of barbecue styles to the table: burnt ends, beef brisket, pork ribs, and grilled chicken, just to name a few. Visitors and locals alike love the city’s sweet, thick, molasses-based sauce slathered on the meats of their choice.

Perhaps the most appealing feature of this city is its cultural and geographical position in the country. It’s a confluence of all types of barbecue foods and cooking methods, with wide-open space and a hearty smell of Americana between different barbecue spots.

7. Honolulu, HI

Unique barbecue flavors originate in Hawaii’s capital city of Honolulu. While the city dishes up the type of classic barbecue you’d find on the Mainland, it also offers meals specific to the tropical locale and culture of the Hawaiian Islands. Expect to find Asian- and Korean-inspired staples, including savory Kalua pork and crispy chicken katsu.

Hawaii’s barbecued meats are punctuated by tangy-sweet sauces and made complete with sides like sweet onions, coleslaw, and pineapple. Barbecue in Honolulu will make your already joyful time there an experience to remember.

These are just seven of the nation’s best cities for rib-sticking barbecue—many more await your arrival. After your big move, keep an eye out for amazing BBQ and enjoy your new adventure. And be sure to read our other blog posts for further moving-related conversations, hints, and tips.

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