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One of our travel goals as we criss-cross the country is sampling different styles of barbecue. We haven’t been everywhere yet, so we hope to update this post as we sample barbecue across the U.S. We’re willing to put in the work f to discover yummy barbecue for you; it’s a sacrifice we’re willing to make.
We’ll focus on the main styles of barbecue in the U.S.–Kansas City, Carolina, Memphis, and Texas. We’ll throw in some other places, too. So…here we go!
Kansas City-Style Barbecue
Known for: Tomato-based sauce, dry-rubbed ribs. Beef, pork, sausage, and ribs. Smoked over all types of wood. Also, fries.
Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que
If you’re in the Kansas City area, be sure to check out one of Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que’s three locations. The atmosphere is casual, and the barbecue is delicious. Click here to read more about our experience.
Jack Stack BBQ
We tried Fiorella’s Jack Stack BBQ at the Country Club Plaza location. The environment is more of a casual sit-down experience than most barbecue places we’ve tried. The cheesy corn and the carrot cake are must-tries! Click here to read more about our experience.
We’ve been to both of the Q39 locations in Kansas City, and we can’t wait to go back. The pulled pork and burnt ends are favorites, and the contemporary vibe in the restaurant is a lot of fun. Click here to read more about our experience.
Arthur Bryant’s Barbecue
You’ll find Arthur Bryant’s Barbecue in the heart of the Jazz District in Kansas City. This classic barbecue joint will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. The barbecue is delicious, too! Arthur Bryant’s barbecue sauce is the perfect example of Kansas City-style goodness. Click here to read more about our experience.
Known for: Spicy vinegar sauce. In west NC, ketchup and brown sugar may be added. Beef, Pork, often uses the whole pig. Usually oak or hickory-smoked, often with vinegar.
Known for: Yellow sauce made with mustard, vinegar, and brown sugar. Beef and pulled pork. Usually oak or hickory-smoked, often smoked with vinegar.
Swig and Swine BBQ–Charleston, South Carolina
We gave Swig and Swine BBQ a try as soon as we pulled into Charleston, South Carolina. The pulled pork was yummy, and it was the first time I tried corn pudding. It won’t be my last!
Known for: Tomato-based sauce, wet or dry-rubbed ribs. Beef, pork, ribs, sausage. Pulled-pork sandwiches often have coleslaw. Also, bbq nachos.
We tried the downtown location of Central BBQ near the National Civil Rights Museum, but they have three other locations in the Memphis area and one in Nashville. When they opened, the line was out the door! We loved the laidback energy here as we sampled a little bit of everything. So good! Click here to read more about our experience.
Known for: (May vary by region) Tomato-based sauce, sometimes with molasses. Beef (chopped or sliced), sausage, pulled pork, ribs dry-rubbed. Known for slow smoking. Often using mesquite, hickory, or pecan wood. Hot sauce.
Known for: White barbecue sauce with a mayonnaise base for hickory-smoked chicken. The sauce is also used as a dip; can be used with bread, ribs, or other meat.
Other Great Barbecue Stops
The Rockin’ Pig Saloon–Eureka Springs, Arkansas
We gave the Rockin’ Pig Saloon a shot one evening before we went to the Great Passion Play in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. The barbecue was yummy, and we loved the variety of choices on the menu, including hamburgers and wood-fired pizza. You can read more about it in this post about Eureka Springs.
Smokin’ Dave’s BBQ & Brew–Estes Park, Colorado
We tried this one simply because they had bison ribs on the menu and we couldn’t resist. What a great decision! We loved our brisket and pulled pork there, as well. This is a great addition to your visit to the Rocky Mountains. Click here to read more about our dinner.
Our Go-To Hometown BBQ Spot: Rib Crib–Joplin, Missouri
I know it’s a chain with sixty locations, but Rib Crib is our go-to place for barbecue in our town.
We love the pulled pork…
…and St. Louis-style dry-rubbed ribs.
The atmosphere is fun, too!
This is the list–so far! We hope to continue adding great barbecue places as we explore this great country. We love trying all the barbecue styles. Here’s to good food ahead!
how fun! I am vegetarian but this is a great idea!
Who could ever guess there are so many different types of barbecue thanks for sharing it was very educational!
I have not had good BBQ in a loooooong time! You are making my mouth water!
We’re visiting TX now and visiting some BBQ restaurants is on our list of things to do!
These look good but I’m a vegetarian…need to find me alternative BBQ substitute 🙂
How fun it must have been (and yummy too) to try all of these different BBQ Styles. I think I’d love them all!
So many BBQ’S to try! Yum! Thank you so much for all the great information.. now I’m hungry!
Pinned for future road trips! Love us some BBQ!!
I never knew there were different types of BBQ. You learn something new every day.
Im drooling reading this! Unfortunately there are no good BBQ spots in South Florida! I love BBQ in Texas! I’ll def keep these in my backpocket when I start traveling around the states again.
These all look great! Whenever I bring my husband to Ohio and Florida to visit my family I always have him try our bbq places. Ohio has City BBQ and Florida has Sonny’s BBQ. We live in California which doesn’t really do a whole lot of bbq so we like to have it in other places when we can.
We loved the Missouri Hick BBQ on old Rte. 66. Great reviews!
BBQ = Summer! Love it. Thanks for sharing.
Now, THIS is a type of crawl I could get used to! Love me some BBQ!
What a fun road trip idea! We live in Texas and my husband has perfected the Texas style BBQ – usually so good we don’t even use sauce!
Enjoyed this post! Will be interesting to see what you pick for Texas!
What an awesome adventure! We love good BBQ!!
I love BBQ but I haven’t had any in a while.
I love this idea. I grew up in Texas, so that’s the BBQ style that I’m most familiar with.
Oh this looks so yummy! I want to go all of these locations!
It’s always amazing how regional certain foods are such as BBQ or potato salad.
Looks very yummy!!
It all looks so good!
I love a good sweet pulled pork with Cole slaw.
Who doesn’t love a good BBQ!! Great samples you’ve shared. Recipes needed. 🙂
Fun idea! So many different ways to offer BBQ!