It’s not that you can’t find great BBQ in places like Anchorage, Plano, Boston or San Antonio, but you really need to choose well or you may not like what you get. In Anchorage and Plano, you are more likely to step into an average BBQ restaurant than into a great one, as there are more places rated 3.5 stars and below than there are places rated 4 stars and above. In Boston the odds are on your side, but not by much.
San Antonio and Houston are surprising entries among the worst cities for BBQ in the nation. Both cities are well known for their amazing food culture, which may have something to do with this bad overall rating.
The two cities have some of the highest numbers of BBQ places in the nation: Houston is actually first while San Antonio is 3rd. You can have incredible BBQ in both Houston and San Antonio, evidenced by the high number of highly-rated BBQ places – 67 in Houston and 50 in San Antonio. But there are also quite a lot of low to average-rated places too. More choice doesn’t always mean better choice, so do your research beforehand.
With an average customer rating of 4.31 (out of 5), New Orleans ranks as America’s top BBQ city, followed closely by BBQ powerhouse Oklahoma City. The third spot is a perfect tie among Wichita, Charlotte, and Virginia Beach.
New Orleans has not always been a mecca for BBQ lovers, but the local BBQ scene is now highly competitive, according to local restaurant critic Brett Anderson. And this hasn’t gone unnoticed. With just one exception, all BBQ joints in the city received high marks (4 and above) from customers. The Joint and BB King’s Blues Club are two of the local favorites with over 1,000 reviews averaging a score of 4.5 (out of 5).
Oklahoma City needs no presentation, as it’s well known for some of the best BBQ in the country. All but two of the 33 BBQ joints listed on TripAdvisor got high scores, including a couple of restaurants with a perfect 5-star rating.
Wichita is a foodie paradise and BBQ is one of its trademark foods. The city’s restaurants average a score of 4.25, ranks just below Oklahoma City (4.26) and well ahead of state rival Kansas City (score 4.04). It’s one of the safest bets in the country for eating out, as all but one of its BBQ restaurants got great ratings (4 and above).
Charlotte has made leaps in the BBQ game in the past few years and patrons couldn’t agree more. With an average rating of 4.25, Charlotte ties with Wichita and Virginia Beach for the 3rd best city for BBQ in the US. It ranks well ahead of local rivals Raleigh (score 4.0) and Greensboro (score 3.95).
Midwood Smokehouse and Mac’s Speed Shop are two of Charlotte’s favorite BBQ joints with over 1,400 reviews each and an average rating of 4.5.
Not that long ago, Virginia was one of the nation’s greatest BBQ destinations, says Joe Haynes,author of Virginia Barbecue. According to TripAdvisor, it should go back on the list, as Virginia Beach ranks 3rd in the nation for the best-rated BBQ joints. All but one of the local BBQ places got reviews of 4 and more (out of 5), which means you pretty much can’t go wrong when having a BBQ in Virginia Beach.