8 Best BBQ Restaurants in the World

Barbecue comes in a variety of styles, but whether you like sweet, dry, or hot, brisket, ribs, or pulled pork, we’ve got a place you’ll love in our list of the eight best BBQ restaurants in the world.

1. Franklin’s (Austin, TX)

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Texas, being cow country, is particularly well known for brisket. Franklin’s BBQ usually takes first place on Texas Monthly’s list of best BBQ restaurants, although one year it did secede its place to Snow’s Barbecue in small-town Lexington. Franklin’s Barbecue may have come to the attention of the world when it was visited by President Obama or when it appeared on Anthony Bourdain’s show. Founded in 2009 and located in Austin, Texas, Franklin’s sells out of brisket daily. The owner, Aaron Franklin, is the only barbecue chef ever to win the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef – or even be nominated. People stand in line for upwards to two hours to get a taste of Franklin’s brisket. Although the process is simple: salt and pepper and smoke until tender, Franklin’s uses prime angus beef.

2. Pappy’s Smokehouse (St. Louis, MO)

Begin in 2008 by Mike Emerson, Pappy’s Smokehouse in St. Louis, Missouri serves up Memphis-style ribs that are barbecued without sauce, dry-rubbed, and cooked for fourteen hours over cherrywood and applewood. Diners can then sauce up the ribs themselves by choosing from among several squeeze bottle options. Pappy’s has been ranked #1 for barbecue ribs in America by the Food Network and has been visited by celebrities ranging from Flavor Flav to Jimmy Kimmel.

3. Wilber’s (Goldsboro, NC)

A fine example of North Carolina style barbecue, Wilber’s opened its doors in 1962 and turns out hole-hog BBQ. The pigs are cooked for 12 hours over charcoal, and then the pork is hand pulled before being moistened with apple cider vinegar and seasoned with red chile flakes. Wilber’s is also known for its sides, from creamy cole slaw to a southern favorite – those deep fried cornbread delicacies known as hush puppies.


4. Scott’s Bar-B-Que (Hemingway, SC)

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Scott’s barbecue was first sold out of the family’s convenience store in Hemingway, SC once a week on Thursday, when they would smoke whole hogs. The taste of the Scott family barbecue began to draw crowds, until eventually they were smoking four days a week. Serving up pulled pork, pork skins, chicken, and baked beans, Scott’s continues to draw visitors from all around the country and even the world. Rodney Scott, who smoked his first whole hog at the tender age of eleven, has now left the family business to open his own joint in Charleston.

5. Joe’s Kansas City Barbecue (Kansas City, KS)

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Kansas City is known as “the barbecue capital of the world,” and one of its most renowned restaurants is Joe’s. Formerly knowns as Oklahoma Joe’s, Kansas City Barbecue is owned and operated by Jeff and Joy Stehney and maintains three locations. The original location in a Kansas City gas station was listed as one of Anthony Bourdain’s “13 Places You Must East Before You Die” and USA Today pronounced its ribs the “tastiest in America.” In addition to serving BBQ turkey, ham, pork, and brisket, Joe’s is known for its smoked chicken gumbo. They serve up both creamy coleslaw and spicy slaw to top your pulled pork sandwiches and platters.

6. Fogo de Chão (São Paulo, Brazil)

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Literally meaning “campfire,” Fogo de Chão uses a whole wall of rotisserie spits to make its barbecue. Founded by two Brazilian brothers from cowboy country, the restaurant offers a buffet of cheese, salad, and cured meats to start. Then customers can signal their waiters by turning a placard on their table green, which means they are ready to eat. Waiters prowl the restaurant with spits full of meat, offering up twelve different kinds. One of the specialties is picanha, a sirloin that is spit-roasted with fat, seasoned using coarse salt, and then carved straight onto your plate. The restaurant can be found in the U.S. as well, but its original Brazilian location offers the most authentic taste of South American barbecue.


7. A&R Bar-be-cue (Memphis, TN)

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Andrew and Rose Pollard opened A&R in 1983, after Andrew grew up watching his father smoke pork and brisket. A&R is frequently rated the best barbecue in Memphis, Tennessee, home of the sweet Memphis style. The joint serves up pulled pork sandwiches and a variety of other barbecue favorites.

8. Samwon Garden (Seoul, Korea)

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In the U.S., we talk of Memphis, Kansas City, Texas, and Carolina style barbecues, but Korean has its own unique way of serving up ribs. In Samwon Garden, they are wrapped in crisp leaves of romaine. Called kalbi kui, these beef short ribs are prepared by cutting into two-inch sections, butterflying the meat in paper thin strips straight off the bone, and then grilling on charcoal right at your table. The BBQ sauce is sweet, nutty, and salty all at once, making use as it does of Asian pear, sesame oil, and soy sauce. Instead of American coleslaw, this BBQ is served up with spicy, pickled cabbage and other condiments.
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Author: Tom Yemm

Hi, I'm Tom. I like hummus, circus skills and reading fantasy novels. Now go read my blogs!

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