5 Sizzling Cities for Barbecue Lovers

by Jonathan DeesingAugust 30, 2017

If you live for the summer months, there’s a good chance you also live for barbecue. Whether it’s burgers on the coals in your backyard or smoked brisket on a bar patio, barbecue is the perfect pairing for a nice summer evening. And while good barbecue can be found just about anywhere across America, there are few places that just do it differently. From Hawaii to Tennessee, here are a few cities that would make a perfect home for any barbecue lover.

1. Austin, Texas

lockhart5via Black’s Barbecue

The Lone Star State is known around the world for its barbecue – you can even find a barbecue restaurant in a Texas ghost town – but Austin is still the standout. For some barbecue joints like Franklin Barbecue and la Barbecue, eaters get in line early and will wait hours before they can eat. Others like Snow’s BBQ are only open for one day and close once they’re sold out.

But what really separates Austin from other big metros in Texas is its proximity to Lockhart, Texas. Situated just 40 minutes south of Austin, Lockhart is a common destination for Austin locals looking for great barbecue and for good reason – the Texas state legislature voted to officially name Lockhart the “Barbecue Capital of Texas.” Black’s Barbecue is perhaps the most famous Lockhart joint (and now has a convenient Austin location), while others swear that Smitty’s Market is the best place in town for ribs, sausage, and brisket.

2. New York, New York

Hometown BBQvia Hometown Bar-B-Que

“What do big city folk know about barbecue?” you may ask. As it turns out, when you get nearly 9 million people together, some of them are bound to know their way around a grill. While NYC lacks its own signature style of barbecue, it makes up for it in variety. Without ever leaving the island of Manhattan, you can find Texas, Carolina, and Kansas City-style barbecue in abundance.

Perhaps more than any other borough, Brooklyn has truly embraced barbecue in recent years. Brooklyn’s Hometown Bar-B-Que features pit barbecue that has been called the best in New York, yet also features international offerings like Jamaican jerk ribs and bánh mì. Just down the street, Fletcher’s Brooklyn Barbecue serves up a traditional barbecue background strongly influenced by its cosmopolitan location. Whatever kind of barbecue you’re looking for from whatever corner of the world, you’ll find it in New York City.

3. Kansas City, Missouri

Danny Edwardsvia KansasCityQue

If a city has a style of barbecue bearing its namesake, it’s a safe bet that that city has great barbecue. Kansas City is famous for its unique regional pit barbecue that features slow smoked meat served with a tomato and molasses-based sauce. KC locals are crazy about their barbecue – the nonprofit Kansas City Barbecue Society boasts 20,000 members and sanctions 500 annual barbecue contests around the world. And with close to 100 barbecue joints around the city, Kansas City is a mecca for barbecue lovers who love sweet, tangy sauce on slow-cooked meat.

The city is home to some of the oldest and most beloved barbecue restaurants in the country, like Danny Edwards and Arthur Bryant’s, which makes it the perfect place for people who want to be surrounded by some of the most traditional barbecue around.

4. Nashville, Tennessee

Edley's Bar B Quevia Edley’s Bar-B-Que

Sure, it seems almost sacrilege to pass over Memphis (which also has its own official style of barbecue) for Nashville, but Music City is more than just a pretty voice. Nashville has long been known for its hot chicken but is building a strong reputation for its skills with the grills.

Nashville borrows strongly from Memphis-style barbecue, which features mostly pork and a mustard-based sauce. With all the classics – ribs, shoulders, and sides – Nashville is particularly famous for its pulled pork, which is often served just like its hot chicken, with pickles on a bun.

5. Honolulu, Hawaii

Bob'svia Bob’s Bar-B-Que

While Southern barbecue is one of the most distinctly American foods, Hawaiian barbecue has the most outside influence. As the largest city in Hawaii, Honolulu is a melting pot of international barbecues, combining American, Korean, Japanese, and other Pacific flavors with Hawaii’s own unique cuisine. While Honolulu offers a variety of traditional barbecue restaurants, they’re all still colored with island style.

Most Hawaiian barbecue revolves around the uniquely Hawaiian “plate lunch.” The plate lunch strongly resembles barbecue plates in the South, but instead of beans and cornbread, Hawaiians use rice and macaroni salad. Hawaiian barbecue features everything from the island style pulled pork sandwich at Bob’s Bar-B-Que to the Kobe beef brisket at 678 Korean BBQ. If you’re looking for more umami in your barbecue or just something different, Honolulu may be right up your alley.

Shares 0
About The Author
Jonathan Deesing
Jonathan Deesing is a home improvement and real estate writer who has written for Auction.com, Modernize, and Apartment Guide. When he's not fixing up his duplex he splits time between running and beekeeping.