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Foodie Adventures: The Top 5 BBQ Destinations in America

Foodie Adventures: The Top 5 BBQ Destinations in America

From the Carolinas to Memphis, and even NYC, America does BBQ right. Embark on a foodie adventure to one of these places with the best barbecue in the USA!

BBQ is something that either is, or should be, as synonymous with America as apple pie and baseball. However, just because you can find it all over the country does not necessarily mean it is good everywhere. So where do you find the best? Well, you start with these five cities.

Can’t make it to one of our top BBQ destinations? Search around for a substitute in your own hometown. One of the surest marks of a tasty winner is smoke wafting through the dining area. It tells you that the restaurant is using the hand-down best technique for packing serious flavor in every bite.

Asheville, NC: Establishments like the Tupelo Honey Café are putting a new spin on old Southern classics and they’ve included “eight ounces of slow-cooked, hand-pulled pork ‘cue” to their menu that will leave your mouth watering for a repeat. Side dish hits include Goat Cheese Grits, Fried Green Tomatoes and Sweet Potato Fries. Pair it all with their sweet tea and you just might think you’ve died and gone to heaven. Follow your meal with a tour of Highland Brewery or a tasting at Troy & Sons Distillery and there’s no doubt you’ll enjoy your visit to this North Carolina city.

More information on Asheville here: http://www.exploreasheville.com/

New York, NY: With five boroughs and one of the most diverse populations in the country, it’s not surprising that it’s getting easy to find rock-your-world BBQ in the Big Apple. Little Brother, which just opened in Brooklyn in the summer of 2012, pairs their succulent barbeque smoked chicken sandwiches with traditional sides like macaroni and cheese that taste anything but traditional. Harlem also offers up the most traditional BBQ at restaurants like Dinosaur Bar-B-Que and Amy Ruth’s, and because of the quality, it’s well worth the long subway ride uptown.

Memphis, TN: No list extolling the virtues of BBQ in the United States would be complete without mentioning joints in Memphis. The best feature of this Southern City is that on streets like Beale, you can get great barbeque almost any time of day or night. However, it’s Central BBQ that’s capturing the most buzz lately; with a youthful vibe, extensive menu and a liberal use of brown sugar that perfectly caramelizes and seals in the flavor for their ribs. Sides are straightforward—mac n’ cheese, onion rings and barbequed beans—but downright delicious. Also deserving of mention, Charlie Vergo’s Rendezvous, Interstate Barbecue, and the cash-only Payne's BBQ.

Austin, TX: The sauce here is usually a mix of tangy and sweet while many restaurants include both tomato and vinegar sauces on the menu, making it truly the place to visit when variety is what you desire. It’s been said that Franklin Barbecue's brisket is the best. Anywhere! Seems a bold claim, but we’ll leave it up to you to decide. While you’re there, we also suggest you vote for your favorite 4” pie—you can choose from Bourbon Banana, Pecan, Key Lime and Lemon Cheese.  Also, don’t forget to check out Rudy's Country Store & Bar-B-Q. They make an excellent sissy sauce, but don’t let the name fool you, there’s nothing sissy about their barbeque.

Kansas City, MO: The most famous of KC joints is arguably Arthur Bryant’s BBQ, which has been serving its tomato-molasses sauce to presidents and celebrities for over eighty years. Henry Perry actually came to KC from Memphis in 1908 to open what would become Arthur Bryant’s and because of that the BBQ here is much like the delicious food you’ll find in Memphis. Oklahoma Joe’s and Gates Bar-B-Q are worthy of mentions as well.

Whether you like vinegar or tomato-based barbeque sauce, smoked or grilled meat, a dive or a diner – there’s plenty of cities in the United States to satisfy your craving! Let this list be just the start of your Foodie Adventure!

Let us know what you think of our picks in the comments below.

Kirsten Alana is a professional photographer, writer, teacher and social media consultant. She has worked with brands like AOL, Expedia and Beck’s Beer; co-hosted #ExpChat, #TNI and #FriFotos on twitter; as well as been on-air talent for commercials and travel shows on networks like CNN and AMC. She enjoys teaching photography at conferences all over the globe but her true passion is simply inspiring people to see and know more of the world.

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