Survey Says the Best Cities for Barbecue are.... - kcentv.com - KCEN HD - Waco, Temple, and Killeen

Survey Says the Best Cities for Barbecue are....

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 (CNN) -- Like a lot of people, Jay Metzger draws a line when it comes to his barbecue loyalties - and for him, that line falls along the Mississippi River. “While it’s nice to enjoy a little Memphis and Carolina barbecue, the real stuff comes from the center of the U.S.,” says the Los Angeles-based advertising executive, who favors Kansas City and Texas barbecue.

Plenty of Travel + Leisure readers agree, ranking KC and more than one Texas city in the top 10. But where there’s smoke, there’s fiery debate. As part of the America’s Favorite Cities survey, readers ranked 35 metro areas for such qualities as good-looking locals, great sports teams, and regionally distinct pizza and barbecue. To be fair, since the survey covered only 35 cities, some barbecue hot spots like Lexington, North Carolina, Lockhart, Texas, and St. Louis, Missouri were not even on the table for this particular vote.

But plenty of other hot-button BBQ cities were - and one dark horse (or perhaps pig) even took the top prize. Certainly, the prevailing styles and some gourmet-friendly trends vary from city to city, from the burnt ends in Kansas City, Missouri, to the mustard-sauced pork in Charleston, South Carolina, or the piles of brisket on butcher paper in Austin, Texas - so the definition of best may depend on what you’re used to.

1. Nashville, Tennessee
It’s a Tennessee takedown: with its ever-expanding foodie scene, Music City won for compiling a greatest-hits collection of barbecue styles - from the whole-hog approach of rural Tennessee, the tomatoey sauces of Memphis, and even the mayo-and-vinegar white sauces typical of Alabama - with southern-style catfish, fried okra, and banana pudding thrown in. Alongside traditional platters, the best places in Nashville offer some cheeky twists: Martin’s Bar-B-Que has Redneck Tacos (filled with brisket or pulled pork), while Peg Leg Porker in The Gulch offers an appetizer of Memphis Sushi (cheese and sausage on saltines). At Edley’s Bar-B-Que, both in East Nashville and 12South, the Tuck Special is a brisket sandwich topped with house-made pimento cheese, an over-easy egg, red and white sauce, and pickles. In a perhaps related note, Nashville also scored near the top for its civic pride.

2. Memphis, Tennessee
Ribs and pork sandwiches are the staples of Memphis-style barbecue: dry-rubbed and smoked over hickory, and often mopped with sauce while cooking. To eat with the savviest locals, head to one of the branches of Central BBQ, which does a classic pork sandwich, pulled-pork nachos, and even a four-ounce barbecued bologna sandwich (the newest is downtown, next to the National Civil Rights Museum). Another favorite - especially with local chefs - is the Bar-B-Q Shop (“home of the Dancing Pigs BBQ sauce”), which claims to be the birthplace of another Memphis staple, sauce-coated barbecue spaghetti. And while the locals ranked at the bottom of the survey for being physically fit, Memphis impressed readers with its bluesy street performers and low-cost luxuries.

3. Kansas City, Missouri
Only within the realm of barbecue can a gas-station location boost your appeal. At least that’s the case with Oklahoma Joe’s, a relative newcomer (as in, the 1990s) to the KC barbecue scene, whose first location was inside a Diamond Shamrock. This meatpacking city - which also ranked at the top of the survey for its great burgers - is known for delectable burnt ends that come off brisket and taste great with a tomatoes-meet-molasses sauce. Two legendary places to try it are Arthur Bryant’s and Gates Bar-B-Q, which date back to the 1920s and ’40s, respectively. Readers also applauded Kansas City for its welcoming locals, solid museums, and, come December, its twinkling Christmas spirit.

4. Austin, Texas
With its emphasis on lightly seasoned brisket, German sausage, and a tomato-vinegar sauce (and sometimes even no sauce), Texas barbecue has plenty of passionate loyalists in the state capital. Iron Works and the Salt Lick are traditional favorites, but these days the lines are longest at Franklin Barbecue in East Austin, which serves meat-market-style brisket, turkey, sausage, and more on pink butcher paper, with white bread and three sauces (including an espresso-based version) on the side. The ultimate barbecue-lovers’ day trip from Austin is the little town of Lockhart, less than an hour away, where old-time classics include Smitty’s Market and Black’s. Readers also put Austin in the top five for food trucks (including another barbecue must, John Mueller Meat Co.).

5. Houston, Texas
This big-business city still likes to go old-school, ranking in the top 10 for bothantiques and messy burgers. Local stars include mom-and-pop-style Gatlin’s BBQ, in Houston Heights, and Goode Company, known for its smoked duck, jalapeño cheese bread, and rich Brazos Bottom pecan pie. To keep your blood-brisket level high - and also see why the metropolis scored well for its bars - go to Beaver’s in Memorial Park, which pairs smoked meats with creative cocktails such as the Sherry Cobbler.

6. San Antonio, Texas
Travel + Leisure readers have always loved the Alamo city’s chili-sauced Tex-Mex, but some of its emerging barbecue has a cutting-edge style. At the Granary ’Cue & Brew, within the rehabbed Pearl brewery, the menu features classic brisket and house-made sausage, along with grilled quail, root beer–sautéed scallops, and Texas toast glazed with a mixture of brisket drippings, butter, and sea salt. Just outside town, Texas Pride Barbecue keeps it classic; based in a former filling station, it offers a bikers’ night as well as a quasi-vegetarian giant baked potato (stuffed with cheese and chopped brisket).

7. Charleston, South Carolina
South Carolina may represent the most diversity among the main barbecue styles, thanks to its core of four sauces (mustard-based, vinegar-and-pepper, and two tomato-based sauces). In Charleston, which also scored well for its fine dining, the honky-tonk-themed Home Team BBQ ups the ante with six sauces (including an Alabama white) to go with your ribs, turkey, or Redneck Pot Roast (brisket). That sloppy eat-off-the-paper approach is a bit of a let-loose departure for locals; Charleston also scored near the top for its home décor shops and for feeling tidy.

8. Dallas–Fort Worth, Texas
Sonny Bryan’s in Dallas and Angelo’s in Fort Worth are longtime favorites for barbecue. But it says something about the cowboy-spirited metroplex that folks even flock to the farmers’ market for meat. Pecan Lodge, in downtown Dallas’s farmers’ market (but soon to move to the Deep Ellum neighborhood), sells Pitmaster sandwiches: a triple threat of brisket, pulled pork, and sausage. Meanwhile, in Oak Cliff’s Bishop Arts District, Lockhart Smokehouse is a North Texas branch of Lockhart’s legendary Kreuz Market, where you eat your brisket, sausage, and beef ribs right off the butcher paper (and sans sauce).

9. Savannah, Georgia
T+L readers embrace this Georgia city for its unpretentious charm, and the best barbecue places reflect the city’s easygoing attitude. Angel’s BBQ has the confidence to highlight a BBQ bologna sandwich on its menu, as well as a changing menu of sauces (such as Shot Gun Wedding or Voo Doo Juice) and a down-South version of poutine topped with baked beans and cheese. And tucked away in Savannah’s historic district, Wall’s Bar-B-Q is open only from noon to 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays; it’s famous for ribs, fried chicken, and collard greens.

10. New Orleans, Louisiana
Wedged between Texas and the Southeast, this Louisiana city landed in the top 10 by making barbecue on its own terms - like the pork-belly po’boys and sausage-filled boudin balls at uptown’s Squeal Bar-B-Q, or the Cajun chaurice sausage and spicy Creole coleslaw at Saucy’s on Magazine Street. Either way, a hearty barbecue dinner provides good fuel for a long night of partying: New Orleans ranked at the top of the survey for its wild weekend mojo, girlfriend-getaway fun, and people-watching.


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