Grilled to Perfection: A Guide to Finding the Best Local BBQ Restaurants

Do you always seek out the best local BBQ restaurants when you travel?



“I want my baby-back-baby-back-baby-back…” No, we’re not talking about a lover, we’re talking ribs. You want some baby back ribs.


Finding the best ribs around takes effort, though. You need to look for certain things when choosing from local BBQ restaurants…


Top-notch BBQ restaurants set themselves apart in a few noticeable ways, particularly their meat, which must come from quality cuts of tender, well-prepared meat. The ribs’ exterior should be caramelized and the meat should stay on the bone when you bite it. Meat that falls off is overcooked. The meat matters the most. If the meat is doused in BBQ sauce, the cook’s hiding something. It should have just enough sauce to highlight and accentuate its flavor.


And the Lord said, you shall know a BBQ joint by its brisket. When you pull the meat, it should only give a little. Amen.


Don’t forget the sides, too. The finest barbecue places offer the best fries, salads, soups, coleslaw and mashed potatoes. These classic side dishes shouldn’t taste sweet, FYI. Another important consideration is the restaurant’s aroma. You should be able to smell tempting fragrances from the place’s smoker before you even walk in the door, detect those aromas without even seeing the smoker.


BBQ restaurants lend themselves to extreme vetting. Dig deeper into a place’s meat selection. Meats should be slow-smoked in hickory wood pits and of high quality. The meat selection should be diverse, too, featuring not only beef brisket, but also turkey, chicken, barbecue honey ham, pulled pork and pork ribs. Any honey-glazed ham should be cut and meats should come in half-pound portions.


A good BBQ place should have sandwiches on the menu. You should be able to find slow-smoked meats served on bread, including chicken, and even traditional kielbasa. In general, places will exude either casual or fine-dining vibes. Consider a place’s theme and decor.  Also, read a restaurant’s reviews. How many stars does a place have? What do the reviews say? Browse all relevant platforms to see how an establishment is rated overall.


Where’s the best BBQ in your area? Local BBQ restaurants these days can be an oversaturated market, crowded with either enormous chain restaurants and holes in the wall. But the discerning BBQ junkie knows, only the most finger-licking goodness will suffice.