Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Top Barbecue Cities For 2020 Listed

While barbecue hotbeds rate high on the list, several unexpected cities make their case for BBQ cred.


When we moved from Ohio to North Carolina, we left a locale great for ethnic food and ice wine. We landed smack-dab in the middle of barbecue country.

Apartment Guide recently released their list of The Best Cities for Barbecue. As I read the article I was as anxious as if I had ordered a rack of mouthwatering baby back ribs slathered in tangy sauce.

Barbecue is an important part of the history and heritage of North Carolina. There is a division in the state almost as significant as the Mason Dixon Line – the divide between the red Lexington-style sauce of the west and the vinegar and pepper based sauce of the east. I was curious to see how North Carolina rated in the list of top barbecue locations.

Imagine my surprise to discover that Gary, Indiana, and Decatur, Illinois, ranked higher than any city in North or South Carolina. Furthermore, Gary and Decatur also ranked higher than Kansas City! Wow, that’s almost unbelievable.

For its study, Apartment Guide scoured the nation and found nearly 6,300 cities in the U.S. with at least one barbecue restaurant. It then calculated the percentage of barbecue establishments to the total number of restaurants in each of those towns to determine the cities with the highest ratio of BBQ restaurants.

Here’s a list of the top 10 cities:

  1. Memphis TN
  2. Minnetonka MN
  3. Desoto TX
  4. Decatur IL
  5. Bowie MD
  6. Decatur AL
  7. Kansas City KS
  8. Saint Cloud FL
  9. Smyrna GA
  10. Gary IN

No argument about Memphis. Not only does it have the highest ratio of barbecue restaurants in the nation, but it also has the third overall most barbecue joints behind only the much larger Houston and Chicago. There are 142 barbecue restaurants within the city limits, there's amazing pulled pork, ribs and dry rub around every corner. I’d also give them extra points for the blues – smoky Memphis blues and barbecue are a natural fit.

The highest ranking NC city is High Point, checking in at number 18. Rocky Mount earned a 26 rating. St. Louis or Austin?  They didn’t even make the list of top 50 cities.

I guess there is a difference between “best barbecue cities” and “cities with the best barbecue.” A key metric in the report is the number of barbecue restaurants as well as the per capita barbecue restaurants. You’ll have a hard time convincing me that Gary, Indiana, is a better barbecue city than Austin, Texas. If you are in Gary or Minnetonka, MN, though, it sounds like you’ll have a pretty good chance of finding a barbecue restaurant.

For the full listing and additional information, check out Apartment Guide Best Cities for Barbecue. Let the debate begin!

Photo Credit:
davidstewartgets Flickr via Compfight cc

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