The weather outside might be saying “winter, but our minds are thinking of summer. It wouldn’t be summer without road trips and BBQs, so we’ve put up a list of the best places to enjoy an authentic, tasty BBQ on your US travels.
These are the best BBQ spots you definitely have to check out at least once:
1. Little Pigs Bar-B-Q (Myrtle Beach, SC)
Definitely try Little Pigs Bar-B-Q, a strip mall gem right near a gas station in Myrtle Beach, where diners rave about the slow, hickory smoked meat prepared Carolina style: chopped up with vinegar-based sauce and barbecue slaw (hush puppies are also a must). The colossal portions with a small price tag don’t hurt either.
2. Southern Belly BBQ (Columbia, SC)
Southern Belly BBQ is one of the Columbia, South Carolina’s favorite BBQ restaurants, and in a region that takes BBQ very seriously, owner Jimmy Phillips has added plenty of twists to this Southern staple. Some local favorites include King Kahuna, a brunch BBQ and a brie-becue sandwich. The King Kahuna has luau barbecue topped with pineapple, grilled Maui onions, cheddar, applewood bacon and served on Hawaiian sweetbread.
3. Texas Hill Country’s River Region (Texas)
Everything’s bigger (and BBQ-ier?) in Texas – and you can get a big taste for authentic, under-the-radar Texas BBQ in the Texas Hill Country’s River Region. You can’t go wrong no matter where your scenic drive around the county takes you, but locals’ favorites revolve around these three spots: Evett’s BBQ – locals claim it’s the best in town, and you’ll likely agree as you dig in to ribs, sausage or brisket, served to you by the pound or sandwich-style. Get fancy and order their infamous Frito Pie with brisket. You won’t regret it. Tex-Mex meets Texas BBQ at ‘hole in the wall’ Nora’s Tacos in Sabinal, Texas. Order the brisket taco (a ‘brisket sandwich’ served instead on a tortilla with BBQ sauce and a pickle). They slow cook their brisket in their smoker, located quaintly in their “dining room” (aka, the parking lot). A close second to BBQ Tex-Mex, recommended by the Pope of BBQ Ernest Cervantes, Live Oak Drive-Thru’s brisket gorditas are not-to-miss (especially when enjoyed with an ice cold beer in-hand). Finally, the Uvalde Meat Market is not for the faint of heart (literally, meat hangs from the ceiling). But, if you want to try cooking your very own authentic Texas BBQ over your cabin’s campfire, this is the place to go to get the goods. A Texas tradition since 1950, they specialize in marinated meats and smoked sausage, cut to order. The owners come from a long line of Texas BBQ masters.
4. The Buckeye State (Ohio)
Head to the Buckeye State this summer to discover how it’s low-key making a name for itself in the world of barbecue. STOP 1: Start your trip at Eli’s BBQ in Cincinnati where you’ll find a delicious sampling of pulled pork, hickory smoked ribs and traditional side dishes (Order your sides “dirty” to get them served with crispy bits of pulled pork on top). The laid-back BYOB restaurant also features a record player and large outdoor seating area. STOP 2: Next make your way to Columbus’ Short North neighborhood to get your hands on the hardwood-smoked BBQ served from the window of a year-round food truck called Ray Ray’s Hog Pit. On Sundays owner Jamie Anderson makes a special grass fed brisket and sauce made with Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA. STOP 3: Head to Mabel’s BBQ in the heart of downtown Cleveland to get a taste of what Chef Michael Symon calls Cleveland-style BBQ. The menu includes brisket, pork belly, ribs, pig parts and Eastern European-rooted sides like spaetzle and cabbage. Symon spent years perfecting the house-made sauce, which is made with Bertman Ballpark Mustard, a touch of Ohio maple syrup for sweetness and high-quality vinegar.