Slow-cooking meat is a longstanding American tradition, right up there with baseball and apple pie. The concept stems from the Caribbean, where early settlers observed natives roasting whole animals over the “barabicu,” or “sacred pit.” The tradition quickly took hold in the U.S., which now boasts four main regional styles and a “Barbecue Belt” spanning the East Coast to Texas.
“Carolina-style” features smokey piles of pulled pork flavored with tangy sauce, while “Memphis-style” is generally code for wet or dry pork ribs. Down in Texas — which unsurprisingly comprises the bulk of this list — beef brisket bears so much flavor that sauce is widely considered an afterthought. Meanwhile, Kansas City-style devotees slather their smoked pork and beef brisket with tangy sauce. Such choice makes it difficult to pick a favorite, though sampling our top ten will certainly make for a delicious road trip. Buckle up, and be sure to bring some napkins!
10. Hometown BBQ, NYC
Since 2013, this converted warehouse in Red Hook, Brooklyn, has disproved the notion that good barbecue doesn’t exist above the Mason-Dixon line.
That’s because Pit-master Billy Durney has honed his unmistakable talent for slow cooking meat down in Texas, the veritable home state of barbecue, and has the tattoo to prove it. If long lines are any indication, the yankees are certainly enjoying Hometown’s southern bona fides, which were recently showcased on an episode of the Cooking Channel’s Man, Food, Fire!