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1bbqboy
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2013/02/12 17:16:06 (permalink)

Yet Another Top 10 List

The 10 Best BBQ Joints in America – Intelligent Travel
In the land of the free and the home of the brave, nothing tickles the taste buds quite like barbecue. BBQ capitals like Kansas City and Memphis are well represented on our list, but America’s love affair with smoked meat is quite clearly a national preoccupation.
From sea to shining sea, here are the best barbecue joints in the U.S. of A.:
1. Corky’s (Memphis, Tennessee)
This no-frills restaurant is a barbecue landmark in Memphis (which also happens to be one ofTraveler‘s “Best Trips of 2013” destinations). Slow-cooked to perfection in open and closed pits and served with tangy sauces, the hickory-smoked meats are so tender they fall off the bone. Try the hand-pulled pork shoulder – it’s cooked for more than 22 hours! Corky’s has five additional locations around the state, plus franchises in ArkansasIndianaLouisiana,Mississippi, and New Jersey.
The Skylight Inn’s signature sandwich: whole hog chopped pork cooked over wood coals and topped with coleslaw. (Photograph courtesy Skylight Inn)

2. Skylight Inn (Ayden, North Carolina)
At Skylight Inn you can order only two things: a pulled pork sandwich topped with coleslaw or a pulled pork dish with corn bread and coleslaw. Whole pigs are slow-roasted over oak fires in open-air pits. Despite the short menu, Skylight doesn’t want for customers.
3. Virgil’s Real Barbecue (New York, New York)
A massive roadhouse in New York City! Buttermilk onion rings with blue-cheese dip. Hush puppies with honey butter, rack of pork ribs, Texas hot links, pulled pork, New Orleans-style barbecued shrimp – everything tasty. There is also a good list of top beers.
4. Jim Neely’s Interstate Barbecue (Memphis, Tennessee)
The sauce recipe might be a secret, but the word is out about Jim Neely’s. Each day brings new and repeat customers to this family-owned business that dishes up some of the country’s best barbecue. Slow-cooked in closed pits, the meat is incredibly moist and unbelievably good. It’s so popular that Jim installed a drive-thru window!
Inside Virgil’s Real Barbecue. (Photograph courtesy Virgil’s Real Barbecue)

5. Arthur Bryant’s (Kansas City, Missouri)
Bryant’s has been touted as the “business that gave Kansas Cityits renown as a barbecue capital.” Simple on décor but high on taste, Bryant’s has been serving up delectable hickory-and-oak-smoked barbecue since the 1920s, counting presidents and celebrities as devotees. Its two sauces – Original and Rich & Spicy – justly deserve the accolades heaped upon them.
6. Tennessee Red’s (Portland, Oregon)
Laid-back Tennessee Red’s serves up some of the tastiest barbecue outside of the South. Generous side dishes and no less than five sauces accompany each entrée. The corn bread melts in your mouth.
7. Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ & Catering (Kansas City, Kansas)
A five-star joint situated in the back of a gas station, with top reviews for Carolina pulled pork, homemade fries, and burnt ends. Low on atmosphere but high on taste. Zagat has rated Oklahoma Joe’s as Kansas City’s best barbecue.
The open pit at the Salt Lick, (Photograph by Kenny Braun)

8. Pierce’s Pitt Bar-B-Que (Williamsburg, Virginia)
Operating in the same location since 1971, Pierce’s Pitt Bar-B-Que keeps it simple and doesn’t change (case in point: the sign-maker’s misspelling of “Pit” stuck). Their sauce’s secret family recipe goes back some 80 years. A classic joint serving up pulled chicken and pork, ribs, hush puppies, collards, corn bread, onion rings, and all your favorite sides.
9. Firefly’s (Marlborough, Massachusetts)
This award-winning barbecue joint dishes up ribs, brisket, and pulled chicken. Devotees rave about Firefly’s Memphis BBQ sauce that has hints of brown sugar, molasses, and chocolate. Wash it all down with a glass of sweet tea straight out of the South.
10. The Salt Lick (Driftwood, Texas)
Featuring an indoor open pit where you can see your meal being cooked, the Salt Lick is a warm and friendly establishment that excels at barbecue. Customers sit at picnic tables and dig into mouthwatering platters of ribs, brisket, sausages, and plentiful side dishes.
cont.....
 
Have at it, Kids.....
post edited by 1bbqboy - 2013/02/12 17:17:56
#1
Root-Beer Man
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Re:Yet Another Top 10 List 2013/02/12 19:06:42 (permalink)
Corky's is OK, but there's better BBQ to be had in Memphis. At least they included Interstate. And they missed a franchise in KY. Guess they didn't bother with Alabama for some weird reason. I think the best BBQ I've ever had has been from Alabama joints like Big Bob Gibson's and Bob Syke's. Shoot, even Dreamland has super good food.  NY for BBQ? Really? I have heard lots of good words about the Salt Lick and Bryants and they're definitely on my list. Oh, well. Guess they only had so much time to get around to the places they did.
#2
carolina bob
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Re:Yet Another Top 10 List 2013/02/12 19:10:45 (permalink)
Where is Lexington #1? Louis Mueller's? Bob Sykes? The Brick Pit? I'm rather unimpressed with this list.
#3
MetroplexJim
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Re:Yet Another Top 10 List 2013/02/12 19:18:27 (permalink)
Random Comments:
 
  • First and only time I visited Virgil's in The City was 12 years ago.  It looks like their prices have doubled since!  I was intrigues by the novelty of BBQ just off Times Square much like I'd be intrigued by a duck press in Bolivia.  The result ought to have been predictable.
 
  • I really can't argue with Corky's as #1.  It will satisfy the widest 'audience' and their sides are truly wonderful, especially their baked beans.
 
  • On that list, Arthur Bryant's is on my Roadfood 'bucket list'.  And OK Joe's certainly has my interest for a second across-the-border stop in K.C.
 
  • Re:  Skylight Inn.  When the &(*$ will food reviewers stop calling minced whole hog "pulled pork"?  Same animal, entirely different stuff; pulled pork can be wonderful; minced whole hog is Heavenly.
 
  • Salt Lick: favorite of Bobby Flay, Adam Richman, and Guy Fieri.  Truth be known, it ain't bad (what possibly could go wrong with that camera-inviting open pit and all those meats:  nothing, but it ain't Texas 'Que).  Here's what Hitler thought:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qaZx6kGs7pg .
#4
billyboy
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Re:Yet Another Top 10 List 2013/02/12 19:36:30 (permalink)
There are a few places doing respectable 'cue in NYC and Virgil's isn't even close to the top of THAT list.  
#5
The Travelin Man
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Re:Yet Another Top 10 List 2013/02/12 21:58:25 (permalink)
The only thing you need to know about this list is that Marlborough, Mass has as many places on it as the entire state of Texas. Yep...that seems about right.
#6
CCinNJ
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Re:Yet Another Top 10 List 2013/02/12 22:17:56 (permalink)
There used to be a chicken that was very very good at tic tac toe...
 
But NOW it's all about the impressive BBQ @ Tropicana Atlantic City!
 
 
 
 
#7
Poverty Pete
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Re:Yet Another Top 10 List 2013/02/12 22:36:31 (permalink)
I once played that chicken down on Bourbon St.    It beat me!
#8
CCinNJ
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Re:Yet Another Top 10 List 2013/02/12 22:44:49 (permalink)
"Regards from Chicken Betty" would have changed the outcome.
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Davwud
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Re:Yet Another Top 10 List 2013/02/13 07:21:48 (permalink)
There are some pretty good comments made here.
 
I, for one, almost stopped reading when I saw Corky's #1. I've been a couple times and was satisfied. But if you want to make a list of places that are satisfactory it will be miles long.
 
DT
#10
MetroplexJim
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Re:Yet Another Top 10 List 2013/02/13 07:37:14 (permalink)
Oh, BTW:  Where is Franklin's of Austin, TX? 
 
Or Wilber's of Goldsboro, NC? 
 
No list of "greatness" ought omit those and expect to be taken seriously.
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buffetbuster
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Re:Yet Another Top 10 List 2013/02/13 07:55:13 (permalink)
I do have a soft spot for Corky's and always enjoy it when in Memphis, but in no way does it belong in a national top 10 list.  There is no guarantee it would be in the Memphis top ten. Skylight Inn and Oklahoma Joe's are both legit, although I am not as big a fan of the latter as most.  Like TTM mentioned, the idea of a place in NYC and one in Massachusetts, yet only one in Texas, is ridiculous.
 
Other places that haven't been mentioned as candidates would be Brick Pit in Mobile, Archibald's in Northport, AL, Scott's BBQ in Hemingway, SC, LC's BBQ in Kansas City and McClard's in Hot Springs, AR.  And that's not even getting to all the great places in Central Texas.   
#12
carlton pierre
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Re:Yet Another Top 10 List 2013/02/13 07:56:06 (permalink)
I like lists like this because it helps me to think of the joints I've been to that I like.  I'm sure these places are good, but the list is not something I take seriously
#13
rneiner
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Re:Yet Another Top 10 List 2013/02/13 08:35:01 (permalink)
 We are going to stay in Memphis on our way to the Roadfood festival will have to try corky's.
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kaszeta
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Re:Yet Another Top 10 List 2013/02/13 11:28:19 (permalink)
I'll agree with buffetbuster that there is no way Corky's is top-10 material.  Maybe in it's heyday, but my last trip to Corky's in 2011, that place was a mere shell of the place it had been when I went there in the 90s.
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kevincad
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Re:Yet Another Top 10 List 2013/02/13 12:49:37 (permalink)
As you can tell by the list, they certainly didn't hit up small local mom and pops! I have a place that is about three miles from my house, and the "restaurant" is a screen room beside the smoker, but old Happy turns out the best of the best!!
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Davwud
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Re:Yet Another Top 10 List 2013/02/13 14:34:34 (permalink)
kevincad

As you can tell by the list, they certainly didn't hit up small local mom and pops! I have a place that is about three miles from my house, and the "restaurant" is a screen room beside the smoker, but old Happy turns out the best of the best!!

There's a place in Fayetteville, Tn that could very well have the best BBQ I've had. It's flat out incredible.
The place is two single wides put together in a sort of T. There's a shed with the smoker in back.
 
DT
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mjambro
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Re:Yet Another Top 10 List 2013/02/13 18:12:01 (permalink)
Davwud


I, for one, almost stopped reading when I saw Corky's #1. I've been a couple times and was satisfied. But if you want to make a list of places that are satisfactory it will be miles long.

DT

 
My thoughts...... exactly - certainly not to be in the top ten.
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CCinNJ
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Re:Yet Another Top 10 List 2013/02/13 18:44:31 (permalink)
Maybe Corky's got extra credit for selling on QVC.

#19
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Re:Yet Another Top 10 List 2013/02/13 22:37:04 (permalink)
Virgil's?? What Billyboy said.
 
With a sister in law in Texas, I've made the rounds over the years down there, and even I, from 1800 miles away, could name at least 5 more worthy places in Texas than The Salt Lick.
 
I was in Arthur Bryants in 1976, shortly after Calvin Trillin proclaimed it The Single Best Restaurant in The World. I'm pretty sure it kicked off my long love affair with Roadfood. If you can find a copy of his American Fried, there's a whole chapter devoted to Arthut Bryants. One of the best chapters of any food book (maybe even ANY book) I have ever read.
 
#20
rneiner
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Re:Yet Another Top 10 List 2013/02/14 07:39:28 (permalink)
I agree---- we just left Austin after a six week stay there are so many great bbq places I don't know if you can plck a best.
#21
brisketboy
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Re:Yet Another Top 10 List 2013/02/14 11:06:13 (permalink)
If you like the Salt Lick in Driftwood, then I encourage you to avoid the one in Round Rock next to the Dell Diamond. While they look cosmetically the same, there is a marked dissimilarity in the quality of the BBQ in Round Rock as compared to the one in Driftwood. I would like to add that this is my opinion having been to both. Some may say different.
#22
secret11
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Re:Yet Another Top 10 List 2013/02/14 11:08:55 (permalink)
Ate @ Salt Lick spring of 2012, was not impressed we have better BBQ in FL. Smittys in Lockhart was great.
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Heartbreaksoup
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Re:Yet Another Top 10 List 2013/02/14 15:19:19 (permalink)
Calvin Trillin's chapter about Arthur Bryant's, among others, was the very thing that got us writing Marie, Let's Eat!.  (Of course, I pilfered the title of our blog from Trillin's next book.)
 
There was a Corky's in Duluth GA some years ago.  I also about tuned out this list when I saw that at number 1.  Next month, we plan to celebrate our 200th barbecue restaurant chapter, and even if we did have a chapter for it, I wouldn't rank that Corky's anywhere in our top 200.  I'm sure the original's better, but it can't be *that* much better.
 
My own top 10 right now would include, in some order, Old Clinton, Paul's/Zeb's/Hot Thomas cheating as one entry, and Southern Soul (GA), Brick Pit and Big Marv's (AL), Scott's and Midway (SC), Leonard's and Bar-B-Q Shop, possibly Central (TN).  Still waiting on a grant from Mobil or a massive PayPal donation from a grateful reader to send us to NC or east Texas and expand our knowledge base though.
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1bbqboy
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Re:Yet Another Top 10 List 2013/02/14 16:25:08 (permalink)
I didn't know you had a blog, HS. Can you post the link?
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Davwud
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Re:Yet Another Top 10 List 2013/02/14 16:28:47 (permalink)
1bbqboy

I didn't know you had a blog, HS. Can you post the link?

marieletseat.com
 
DT
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1bbqboy
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Re:Yet Another Top 10 List 2013/02/14 16:31:52 (permalink)
Davwud

1bbqboy

I didn't know you had a blog, HS. Can you post the link?

marieletseat.com

DT

Thanks, DT.
I'm already subscribed to yours.
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Davwud
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Re:Yet Another Top 10 List 2013/02/14 16:47:18 (permalink)
1bbqboy

Davwud

1bbqboy

I didn't know you had a blog, HS. Can you post the link?

marieletseat.com
 
DT

Thanks, DT.
I'm already subscribed to yours.

Hey, thanks
 
I've been laid up a bit lately. Had the flu and a severe cold that's killed my tastebuds and appetite.
 
Should have a couple new ones up this weekend.
 
DT
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tmiles
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Re:Yet Another Top 10 List 2014/04/06 17:51:45 (permalink) ☄ Helpful
Finally got to the mentioned Firefly in Marlborough Mass. I've been there before, but never to the locally famous Sunday brunch buffet. It will not be the last. Wonderful. Since the original post , Firefly has become a "chain" with 3 locations, but I went to the mentioned original. It was great. My only minor disappointment is that they didn't put the famous homemade banana cream pie out. The mostly home made deserts that they did put out were just good.
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Keysey42
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Re:Yet Another Top 10 List 2014/04/06 23:30:11 (permalink)


I would have to vote for Buz & Ned's in Richmond, VA. By far the best ribs I've ever had. I couldn't eat even a half-rack in one sitting, but they held their tenderness and flavor even when re-heated in the microwave at our motel in Alexandria the next day. The hushpuppies were good (though not the best I've had), and the Bourbon Spiced Apples were delicious.
post edited by Keysey42 - 2014/04/06 23:31:56
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