Where are the best BBQ Restaurants in each of the 50 United States of America?
We were thinking, where are the best BBQ Restaurants in the United States. Being the best in a state can be a very subjective opinion. There are awards given by different organizations that sanction these competitions. We realize not everyone participates or is in the same competition for various reasons. While many of these competitions carry their own merit we were looking for something that the underdogs and the big dogs can be involved in.
There are some other online reviews, one coming to the mind is the one that rhymes with the word help. has their reviews paid for better rankings. I have learned this in my restaurant experience by talking with their pushy sales people. I don’t find them to be very honorable.
What are the qualifications for the best BBQ restaurants?
We thought that Google Reviews should do the trick. Playing the numbers game with the masses. Now that we came up with Google Reviews, we had to think what would make the qualifiers. There is a potential 5 star rating for a Google Review in their system. There are some restaurant with 5 stars but this is very hard to come by. Sure you can find a 5 star rating but this usually only has a handful of reviews. Having the owner and their mother rating and reviewing shouldn’t count and we wanted to weed this out. We set the bar to 100 Reviews that are needed to qualify for this list. Tie breakers go to the restaurant with the most ratings. These are generally 4.5 to 4.9 ratings. We also checked on their menu’s to make sure there was true barbecue style prepared meats. Some listings had places with just burgers and BBQ sauce. These were disqualified. The menu had to consist of some form of authentic BBQ like Brisket, Tri Tip, Pulled Pork, Ribs, cooked with a flame, and authentic smoked foods. There were some Brazilian Grills that ranked high, notably one that we found in South Dakota that we opted to not list. We investigated and discovered the cooking process used infrared heating. There was no flame from fire or smoke. However we would love to eat everything they served and be in heaven but felt this wasn’t the idea of BBQ we are after. When coming across Brazilian and Korean styles this made us think really hard. It was decided that Google needed to recognize them and be listed as a Barbecue Restaurant.
This search was no small task. There are some very honorable listing out there with 500 to over 4,000 reviews and holding strong 4.5-4.7 WOW! There was research into the pictures listed on Google, their own websites and Facebook. The pictures created constant mouth watering. There is so much appreciation to the detail of the presentation of the foods. Some have their own unique style and what they offer on their menus. You could really spend hours salivating over all of these pictures and we hope that you do also. This was very fun to say the least!
How did we find and the best BBQ restaurants?
We Discovered that searching both in the query did not give all results. Tried ‘bbq, barbecue.’ Also ‘bbq or barbecue.’ We had to do 2 searches. One for bbq in state and barbecue in state. Find the best rated from this. All results were not listed if using search terms of ‘bbq’, or another term ‘barbecue’. Even Google’s own classification of Barbecue Restaurant search term did not yield all results. We discovered this in the two biggest states of California and Texas. In Texas, we did a search query for Barbecue and Truth BBQ was listed at 4.9 with 287 ratings. However, when searching for BBQ, Truth BBQ was not listed but Hill Country BBQ was with a rating of 4.9 with 707 ratings. This was also found to be the case for the state of California between Smokin’ Joe’s BBQ and Oink and Moo Burgers and BBQ. This was troubling because we had already documented 80% of the states.
Google states that you can add in the word “or” to get both results. So we tried BBQ or Barbecue in Texas, but both restaurants did not show up in the list.
We take our BBQ seriously and could not risk the backlash of other BBQ Lovers discovering this and then criticizing, claiming this was false research. Ohh well for us. This just means we had to start over and twice the amount of work to do. We knew what we had to do!
How did we sort the best BBQ restaurants in this list?
We thought it would be easy to pick a sort option like alphabetical or highest rated. We decided we were going to sort this list by state population from smallest to largest.
States were sorted by population rank according to Infoplease.com in 2015.
Under each listing you will find the rating during the time this article was created in July of 2018 and how many ratings by Google reviewers. We did our best to find the outside of their buildings and include some mouth watering eye candy for your viewing pleasure!
You will also find some famous celebrities captured eating from these fine establishments, such as culinary expert Anthony Bourdain, Tonight Show host Jay Leno, and former President George H.W. Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush.
If you are going to travel the good old USA searching for great BBQ, consider this is a road map laid out for you! Merica!
Are you looking for a bbq restaurant that is near you currently? We have a BBQ Locator page that will show you your closest BBQ joints of your current location.
Remember to support your local small businesses and tip your servers and bartenders!
(WARNING) THESE IMAGES YOU ARE ABOUT TO SEE WILL MAKE YOU HUNGRY! VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED!