TripAdvisor’s picks: America’s best BBQ


— There’s more than one bone of contention in the great finger-lickin’ barbecue debate. Pork or beef? Vinegar- or tomato-based sauce? No sauce — or maybe something mustard-based?

Travel site TripAdvisor has waded into hotly contested territory with a list of the best BBQ restaurants in the United States.

Not a one of the top 10 restaurants is in Tennessee, North Carolina or South Carolina. Blasphemy? Maybe. But hold on to your judgments; TripAdvisor also ranked the top 10 states for BBQ and all three of those smoking barbecue states make that list.

The review site created its top 10 list for restaurants by looking at barbecue joints with a minimum of 100 reviews and ranked them based on the volume and quality of reviews. More weight was given to reviews written within the past year, and chains with more than 10 locations were excluded.

Joe’s BBQ in Blue Ridge, Georgia, topped the list. “The pork and ribs are the standouts. Both were tender and packed with flavor, and smoked perfectly,” said one TripAdvisor reviewer.

Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que in Kansas City, Kansas, and Bogart’s Smokehouse in St. Louis ranked second and third. Also in the top 10 were three BBQ joints in Florida.

“The Sunshine State is certainly a hotspot for mouthwatering southern ‘cue. Reuben’s, Captain’s and Buck’s have all earned 4.5 out of 5 bubbles on TripAdvisor and have received hundreds of reviews from the community,” said TripAdvisor spokeswoman Julie Cassetina.

Here are the top 10 BBQ restaurants for 2015, according to TripAdvisor:

  1. Joe’s BBQ — Blue Ridge, Georgia
  2. Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que — Kansas City, Kansas
  3. Bogart’s Smokehouse — St. Louis
  4. Reuben’s Smokehouse — Fort Myers, Florida
  5. Andy Nelson’s Southern Pit BBQ — Cockeysville, Maryland
  6. Captain’s BBQ — Palm Coast, Florida
  7. HogsHead Café — Richmond, Virginia
  8. Buck’s Smokehouse — Destin, Florida
  9. Franklin Barbecue — Austin, Texas
  10. Pappy’s Smokehouse — St. Louis

TripAdvisor evaluated the best states for barbecue separately, by looking at the volume of reviews and the quality of ratings for barbecue restaurants. The site also looked at the total number and percentage of restaurants in each state that were classified as BBQ establishments and put more weigh on reviews written in the past year.

Using those criteria, Tennessee is the No. 1 state for BBQ.

Here’s the full list of the best states for expertly smoked meats:

  1. Tennessee
  2. Texas
  3. Missouri
  4. North Carolina
  5. Georgia
  6. Florida
  7. South Carolina
  8. California
  9. Virginia
  10. New York