It’s July 4th weekend, and nothing goes hand-in-hand with fireworks and sparklers like a hearty plate of barbecue.
From New York to Chicago to L.A., Zagat scoured the States for the shining stars of barbecue around America.
Here are 16 barbecue spots in 13 cities around the country you need to try this summer.
Fox Bros. BBQ cooks their meat low and slow with hickory wood. They have all the southern staples (pulled pork, beef brisket, baby back ribs), which are available in both adult- and kid-sized portions.
They also sell their homemade barbecue sauce so you can make Fox Bros. barbecue at home, but don't worry if it doesn't turn out as good as what they offer on site.
Since 1949, Louis Mueller has been one of the most beloved barbecue joints in Austin. Not only has it been featured in five movies, but it got the thumbs up from Guy Fieri on an episode of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.
The website warns out-of-towners that they often sell out of their smoky fare, and that it's best to place orders ahead of time.
Snow's is only open on Saturdays, and from the moment they unlock the doors at 8am to the moment they sell out there's usually a line out the door. Their menu is simple--brisket, sausage, chicken, pork, ribs, and a few sides--but customers drive hours from all over the country just to get a taste.
Not in Texas? Not to worry; Snow's does mail orders of their barbecue.
Growing up as the son of an army officer, East Coast Grill owner Jason Heard moved around a lot, which may be why his food has influences from so many other cuisines like Japanese and Caribbean.
ECG is also known for its fresh seafood, like the Creole style whole BBQ shrimp.
The masterminds behind Smoque believe in a harmony between the natural flavours of the meat, the smokiness of the smoking wood, the spiciness of the rub, and the savory zestiness of the sauce.
The best thing about eating at Smoque is that even if you order the brisket, or the ribs, or the Texas sausage, you don't have to worry about what you're missing out from the others; on all orders you can add on 'a taste,' a small portion of another meal, which makes the decision-making process a lot easier.
In the 55 years that Angelo's has been in business, it's seen some big names walk through the door, like Bobby Flay, Joe Montana, and Henry Winkler. Their menu features tasty items like BBQ stuffed baked potatoes, barbecue salami, and braunschweiger, a type of German liverwurst, all of which you can enjoy under their collection of mounted animal head trophies.
Even though it's way out in the rural outskirts of Houston (about 30 miles from the city centre), devoted Swinging Door fans are more than happy to go out of their way for the beautifully cooked pecan-smoked meats and hearty sides.
Most notably, they smoke their own meat right next door, and patrons rave about the ribs.
The award-winning barbecue pit may cook out of a converted gas station, but it's no reflection on the quality of the food, which has been voted best barbecue in Kansas City by Zagat.
They also sell tons of Oklahoma Joe's merchandise, including their Kansas City barbecue sauce by the gallon.
The owners of Cozy Corner built their smoke shack around the philosophy that the business and the family are so much a part of the other that 'trying to tell them apart would be as impossible as sucking the smoke out of a rib.'
A fitting philosophy, being that Cozy Corner prides itself on its sauce-smothered ribs and rib tips.
Dinosaur has been happily seated on the Hudson River in Harlem since 2004, and since then they've been serving up some of the best BBQ grub in the city. Their meats are perfectly glazed with an original barbecue sauce, but they also do 'custom 'cue' plates with jerk, Korean-style, and bourbon molasses sauces.
Lucky for Brooklyn, Dinosaur also just opened a Park Slope location on June 19.
Fette Sau was voted the best barbecue in New York City by Zagat for five years running, and hungry fans must agree since they always seem to be happy to wait on the out-the-door line. Operating out of a converted garage in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the masters behind the grill serve only organic or small, family-farmed meat and use a dry rub instead of sauce.
Sweet Lucy's, which was named for the owners' Newfoundland dog, makes all their barbecue in a wood-burning pit using hickory to smoke it, and time to get it perfectly tender.
Sweet Lucy's has a lot of great weekly specials, including an all-you-can-eat Monday night barbecue buffet.
Buckeye Roadhouse puts a more American contemporary spin on the traditional roadhouse BBQ pit; in fact, 'Roadhouse' in the name might be a bit ironic, as the menu is quite upscale with items like braised lambshank gremolata with saffron cous-cous and liberty duck breast with huckleberry sauce.
But they do have their own specialty smoked meats, particularly the beef brisket with horseradish cream and garlic mashed potatoes.
With a brick and mortar restaurant and a mobile BBQ truck, you can go to the barbecue, or let Wexler's bring it to you. You can get a selection of their best pulled pork, brisket, or ribs, catered by way of their food truck. It's an easy way to get great barbecue in San Francisco.
Urban Bar-B-Que doesn't pretend to be anything other than what they are: a homey haven for meat lovers everywhere. 'Dear vegetarians,' they ask their Facebook fans, 'if you are trying to save the animals, then why are you eating their food?' They have locations in Maryland and Virginia.
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