Hey there, foodies! If you're like me and have a thing for smoky, juicy, melt-in-your-mouth BBQ, then this is the blog post for you. We've scoured the country and rounded up 10 of the best American BBQ chains that are an absolute must-try.
These places serve up some finger-lickin good food packed with all the flavors you crave. So, if you're ready to take your taste buds on a thrilling ride and discover some new BBQ hotspots, keep reading.
Trust me, by the end of this article, you'll be heading out the door, ready for a BBQ adventure!
1. Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Q
Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Q is more than just a barbecue joint – it's a Kansas City tradition. Born out of a gas station, it's now world-renowned for its tantalizing ribs, sandwiches, burnt ends, and briskets.
But it's not just about the food – it's about the experience. The atmosphere is as inviting as their menu, creating a welcoming ambiance that keeps customers returning.
The charm lies in the simplicity of their approach – no frills, just good old-fashioned barbecue. With a reputation built on consistency and quality, it's easy to understand why Joe's has become a household name.
2. Dickey's Barbecue Pit
Dickey's Barbecue Pit brings a taste of Texas to your backyard, serving up slow-smoked meats and home-style sides that are simply irresistible. Their commitment to quality and authenticity has won them a loyal following.
From brisket to ribs, every bite brings a burst of flavor that's hard to forget. But what sets Dickey's apart is their family-friendly environment.
It's a place where everyone feels welcome, and the customer service is as warm as the barbecue.
3. Rudy's Bar-B-Q
Rudy's Bar-B-Q is a Texas gem that started as a humble gas station and grocery store in Leon Springs. In 1989, they introduced barbecue to their menu, and it changed everything.
What sets them apart is their signature ‘Sauce,' a unique blend of spices that gives their meats an unforgettable flavor.
Their commitment to using original recipes and serving authentic Texas barbecue has earned them a significant following and an iconic status in the BBQ world.
4. Dinosaur Bar-B-Que
Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, originating from Syracuse, New York, offers a unique northern twist on traditional southern barbecue. Known for their fresh, homemade food and lively biker bar vibe, they've managed to carve out a niche in the BBQ scene.
Their slow-cooked meats, award-winning sauces, and fun atmosphere have won them numerous accolades and a dedicated fan base. Regardless of where you're from, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que proves that great barbecue knows no geographic boundaries.
5. Smokey Bones
Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill, often simply referred to as Smokey Bones, is an American casual dining restaurant chain known for its authentic barbecue. Known as one of the best, they pride themselves on serving up delicious pork, steaks, chicken, and seafood.
They have over 62 locations in the Eastern United States and continue to expand, bringing their tasty BBQ to more hungry customers. They also offer a great atmosphere with soothing music, lighting, and a friendly staff.
6. Corky's Ribs & BBQ
Corky's Ribs & BBQ is a renowned name in the world of barbecue. This Memphis-based restaurant is famous for its slow-cooked ribs and traditional southern barbecue.
The secret to their success lies in their time-honored cooking methods – every rack of ribs is hand-pulled and basted with Corky's signature sauce, then slow-cooked in the old-fashioned way.
This meticulous approach to barbecue has earned Corky's Ribs & BBQ critical acclaim and a loyal customer base that keeps coming back for more.
7. City Barbeque
City Barbeque has carved a name in the BBQ scene with its focus on quality food and exceptional service. They aim to serve happiness through their smoked flavors of America.
Their growth has been steady, aiming to become not just a regional but a nationwide player. One of their signature dishes, the ‘More Cowbell' sandwich, has even won awards, contributing to their fame.
8. Woody's Bar-B-Q
Woody's Bar-B-Q, inspired by home cook Grace Mills, is a popular BBQ chain with a strong presence in Florida and soon in Huntington, PA. Embodying Southern hospitality, every location creates a welcoming hometown atmosphere.
The menu, featuring Texas brisket to Hawaiian burgers, offers comfort food for everyone. However, despite its extensive menu,
Woody's is known for good, but not outstanding barbecue – their signature ‘fall-off-the-bone' ribs have raised debate over texture preference among BBQ lovers.
9. Red Hot & Blue
Red Hot & Blue, founded in 1988 by Tennessee Congressman Don Sundquist and others, fuses a love for blues music with BBQ.
The chain, which started with pitmaster Sonny McKnight making magic with a portable smoker, has a unique history of serving hickory-smoked Memphis-style BBQ.
Despite some location closures and a change in ownership, the restaurant remains true to its roots. So, if you are looking for an authentic BBQ experience with a side of blues music, Red Hot & Blue is the place to be.
10. Famous Dave's BBQ
And lastly, we have Famous Dave's BBQ, a chain that has consistently been named one of the best BBQ joints in America.
Their menu is packed with all your BBQ favorites – ribs, pulled pork, brisket, chicken – and their sauces are what truly elevate the flavor.
But it's not just about the food – Famous Dave's is all about creating a fun, lively atmosphere for their customers to enjoy. With live music, delicious food, and a friendly staff, it's no wonder why this BBQ hotspot has gained such a huge following.
So go on, try them out for yourself, and see what all the fuss is about! Whether you prefer traditional southern BBQ or a unique twist on the classics, these 10 BBQ chains have something for everyone. So gather your loved ones, head to one of these places, and indulge in some mouth-watering BBQ that will have you coming back for more.
I’m Steve. I’m an English Teacher, traveler, and an avid outdoorsman. If you’d like to comment, ask a question, or simply say hi, leave me a message here, on Twitter (@thefrugalexpat1). Many of my posts have been written to help those in their journey to financial independence. I am on my journey, and as I learn more I hope to share more. And as always, thanks for reading The Frugal Expat.