USA Today – Top Ten BBQ Joints in the Country (eatin out)

Do you agree with these choices? Have you eaten at any of these places? How many of them also produce sauces for sale?

Dreamland Drive-In Bar-B-Cue
Tuscaloosa, Ala.

This shanty-style roadhouse serves one thing and one thing only: spareribs with a side of white bread. “No fries, no slaw, no pulled pork or brisket. They do one thing, and they do it to perfection. These ribs are fabulous, with a sauce that’s in between vinegary and sweet,” Adler says. The original locale has spawned six other restaurants in Alabama and Georgia. 205-758-8135;

Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q
Decatur, Ala.

The family-owned restaurant is known for its Alabama white sauce, made of thin mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar and pepper, and served with hickory-smoked chicken. “It’s very different. But people have been raving about it since the 1920s, when they opened,” Adler says. 256-350-6969;

Hickory Hollow BBQ
Ellenton, Fla.

The restaurant, located between St. Petersburg and Sarasota, serves delicious North Carolina-style barbecue (pulled pork with a vinegar-based sauce). But the 25-plus seasonal vegetable dishes, such as corn pudding, collards and black-eyed peas, pack them in, too. 941-722-3932.

New York

The initials stand for Righteous Urban Barbecue, and seven-time world championship barbecuer Paul Kirk serves just that at his year-old restaurant in the city’s Chelsea neighborhood. The menu features traditional slow-smoked baby back and spareribs, brisket and pulled pork, along with non-traditional offerings such as Szechwan smoked duck and pastrami that’s smoked in-house. “Plus, there are free iced tea refills, which is a real Southern thing,” Adler says. 212-524-4300.

Wilber’s Barbecue
Goldsboro, N.C.

Wilber’s serves eastern North Carolina style barbecue — they smoke the whole hog. “This is one of those places with an old-fashioned wood fire pit,” Adler says. “The place is huge and popular.” It’s known for its pulled pork, served on a plate, or as a sandwich, chopped and dressed with peppery vinegar sauce. “When peaches are in season, there’s a farmer selling outside, and people leave and eat ripe peaches for dessert in the parking lot.” 919-778-5218.

Goode Co. Bar.B.Q.

“Texas has so many wonderful barbecue places. There have got to be 500, if not a thousand, and so many are good, it’s hard to choose,” Adler says. In Houston, a good choice is Goode Co. Bar.B.Q., with two locations. “It’s a typical Texas barbecue place with rough barnwood interior” serving delicious slow-smoked mesquite barbecue. 713-522-2530;

Kreuz Market
Lockhart, Texas

Owner Rick Schmidt inherited the 106-year-old business from his father, but moved in 1999 to a cavernous 600-seat place down the street. With the move, he expanded the menu, adding more side dishes, including German potato salad and sauerkraut. “Kreuz, like several other butcher/barbecue places, serves beef shoulder clod. Most places outside of Texas do not serve this cut,” Adler says. “They serve all their meats in brown butcher paper.” 512-398-2361;

The Bar-B-Q Shop

The signature dish at this midtown eatery is the pork sandwich on Texas toast — chopped or pulled pork with a vinegar-based sauce. They also serve ribs, and as is typical in Memphis barbecue joints, customers have a choice of “wet” (slathered in sauce) or “dry” (with additional spice rub sprinkled over them). Owner Frank Vernon moved to a newer place in 1987, “but it’s still a joint,” Adler says. Look for the two dancing pigs on the sign out front. 901-272-1277;

Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue
Kansas City, Mo.

The original location is in an old rambling house in south Kansas City (with two newer locations downtown and in Overland Park, Kan.). “They do one thing better than anyone else in Kansas City and that’s burnt ends. They cut off the crusty ends of the meat (brisket, pork roast and ham) and chop it up nice and sauce it (tomato-based sauce with a little vinegar, but not too sweet) and serve it as their signature sandwich, the Poor Russ.” Don’t miss the barbecued baked beans, made with leftover meat — brisket, pork and sometimes chicken — flavored with meat juices from the smoker. 816-942-9141;

BB’s Lawnside Bar-B-Q
Kansas City, Mo.

For those who enjoy a side of blues with their brisket, this roadhouse is the place, presenting live music Wednesday through Sunday. Owners Lindsay and Jo Shannon add a dash of New Orleans to the menu with their signature dish, Smokey Jo’s Gumbo, made of smoked sausage, chicken, turkey and ham in a tomato-based stock. “It’s fabulous,” Adler says. “They also serves rib tips, which is sort of a lost art. They’re a great appetizer.” 816 822-7427;

Site Editor, BBQ Sauce Lover, Family Guy, Hi Tech Marketer by Day. He recently wrote the Ebook “How to Market Your BBQ Sauce” which can be purchased on this site.



  1. Jeff Fedorchak says:

    Check us out! Our food is above the rest when it comes to BBQ.
    We are new on the block but not new the traditional southwestern experience. Come to Smokies House of BBQ. Located in Dana Point Ca. and in Oxnard Ca. Your mouth will leave watering with the smoky flavor, and rustic bbq sauce dripping from your chin!! Visit us at

    See ya
    Jeff Fedorchak

  2. Curt West says:

    Sorry for you, pal. You need to travel to North Carolina. You are missing it all. The best.
    Durham North Carolina

  3. texicali says:

    Kreuz is amazing, even if their new digs are just not the same as the old joint. If you’re ever in the Austin area, go there ASAP… and Salt Lick, and Iron Works, and Green Mesquite, and Stubbs, and Hoovers (for the ribs)…

  4. Cali, New York, Florida ? Really? Come on back down south where BBQ is done right. Daddy Sam’s BBQ & Catfish in Carthage, Tx. has been there since 1984. Those folks got BBQ’n down to a science. I’ve seen Customers order lunch, pay, eat and go back and order more to take home for dinner. Do yourself a favor its worth the drive. Watch out for lunch time though I’ve been out in the parking lot at end of line before.

  5. wow both KC places aren’t even in the locals top 5. if your list doesn’t have Oklahoma Joes, LCs, Danny Edwards, Arthur Bryants or Gates on it, then you’re just plain wrong.

    • giantslor says:

      According to whom? There are five big Jack Stack locations in KC. How many LCs locations are there? How about Danny Edwards? These are good places but in terms of both reviews and size, Jack Stack is absolutely in the locals’ top 5. And BB’s is a local favorite. This is just one list from 2007, these lists come out all the time — in fact, a recent USA Today list has Joes’ KC at #1 or #2.

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