There is a great story at the following website that sort of explains our obsession with Barbecue. http://www.storysouth.com/winter2003/bbqframe.html/
I have only had one bad experience with "real slow pit smoked barbecue" in my life. Whether it was brisket, sausage, chicken, ribs or pork (pulled, chopped or sliced). So does it really matter who thinks they have had the best or have the best?
As a certified Memphis Barbecue Network Judge, formerly Memphis in May, I can say that I have had some very good barbecue. But we are trained to judge our daily intake of barbecue as that which is the "best" that day and not compare it to what we cook, where we normally eat or where we take friends to eat when they come to town. Barbecue is a very personal thing, each of us has a criteria we look for each time we choose to eat barbecue. Some of us like it spicy, some sweet, some with lots of smoke and a bite, some with a mellow smoke, smoke so hot it burns your lips before it gets to your tongue and then there are those that don't know squat about any of this and cook their BBQ in a slow cooker or in the oven with out the benefit of smoke or charcoal. Yes, Barbecue is personal. My favorites will not be your favorites, but darn if I don't know what yours are so I can try them too!! 'Cause my taste buds are always looking for another BARBECUE JOINT.
Mine are in no particular order:
Interstate - Memphis, TN
Johnny's - Cullman, AL
Greenbrier - Mooresville, AL
Maurice's Piggie Park - Columbia, SC
Country's - Columbus, GA (Good for a chain)
Big Bob Gibson's - Decatur, AL (best chicken you'll ever eat)
Archibald's - Tuscaloosa, AL
Mizlou's - Columbus, MS
Little Dooey - Columbus and Starkville, MS (try the tamales, also)
Horne's - Elba, AL
Dreamland - Tuscaloosa, AL (they don't call it Dreamland for nothin')
Gibson's - Huntsville, AL (different family)
Byron's - Auburn, AL (great for football weekends)
Ubon's - Yazoo City, MS
Sam's - Killeen, TX
Rendevous - Memphis, TN (but don't eat the ribs, the bbq nachos and pork plates are much better)
These are just the ones that come to mind quickly, all have very good food and are recommended.