Best BBQ by State 2023

States With The Best Barbecue

There is nothing more iconic than an American family getting together beside their barbecue to grill up some of their favorite meats and vegetables. Most states have their own flavor, and none can be considered the absolute best compared to the other. Traditionally, southern states are well-known for their bbq flavors as they pride themselves on being the best, not just by state standards, but even in a local competition. It is not uncommon to find friendly neighborhood cookouts or even large festivals such as Ribfest.

With that being said, Chicago, LA, and Austin have some of the top-rated restaurants in the country that are related to bbq flavor. In fact, the term "bbq" should only encompass the act of "barbecuing" or using the grill to cook certain meats, meals, and other large vegetables. The US has turned the word "BBQ" into a flavor, one that is usually smoky, tangy and sweet, depending on the area. While it is surprising that Chicago and LA have made the list over other southern cities, it may also be due to a lack of competition. It is easy to be the highest-rated BBQ resultant if you are one of the few on the block.

States With The Worst-Rated Barbecue

While Austin has some of the highest-rated restaurants, one would assume this means that Texas has the best BBQ flavors and food shops in the country. Surprisingly, Houston, San Antonio, and Memphis are the cities that have the worst-rated barbecue restaurants. Tennessee and Texas are traditionally extremely well-known for their BBQ, even selling their sauces and liquors internationally to other countries for their bold American taste, so it may seem unusual that they have some of the worst-rated establishments.

Of course, this can be explained by competition and expectation. Someone from these two states has a near unlimited choice when visiting each bar, restaurant, or shop. Many families have traditional recipes passed down and pride themselves on producing the best-tasting quality compared to others. Because of this, Texans have extremely developed taste buds for this kind of flavor, meaning that it is much more difficult to satisfy them. Furthermore, even tourists have so many choices between restaurants, that they may seem overwhelming. They would naturally ask a resident of Texas, for example, to direct them to their favorite spot.

Because Texas has the best and worst-rated restaurants, this is a good indicator that this is the state with the most activity in the BBQ space.

History of Barbecue in America

American cuisine is heavily influenced by the cultures which have mingled within the states. While BBQ is known as a traditional American cooking method, it actually is derived from the Caribbean, specifically the Taino Indians. Explorers that came to settle the American continent were fascinated by the Taino Indians, noticing that they cooked and smoked their meat on wooden sticks, while the open flame tickled and slightly charred the frame. Barbecue comes from the Spanish word "Barbacoa", meaning "raised stick frame".

Best BBQ by State 2023