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nathanm

Best towns for barbeque in the Southeast

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I am making a map of the best / most iconic barbeque towns in the Southeast. I can't list every town with a BBQ pit, but there are some that are much more famous than others, and which have a style that typifies their region.

Here is my initial list - please tell me what I am missing. Usually there is a great BBQ place associated with each town, knowing that would be helpful too.

I am particularly interested in places that are typical of the region that they are in.

Alabama

-------

Decatur

Hoover

Georgia

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Atlanta

Illinois

--------

Murphysboro

Kentucky

--------

Lexington

Owensboro

North Carolina

--------------

Ayden

Chapel Hill

Goldsboro

Lexington

Raleigh

South Carolina

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Holly Hill

West Columbia

Tennessee

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Henderson

Lexington

Lynchberg

Memphis

Nashville

Parsons

Texas (I know Texas has its own forum - I will post there too)

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Dallas

Lexington

Llano

Lockhart

Lulling

Taylor

One amusing thing is that towns named "Lexington" seem to have an advantage.

There must be some great barbeque in Arkansas, Virgina, Mississippi and other states where I don't any any names yet.

Looking forward to comments and additions!


Nathan

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Memphis, of course, is iconic; Interstate Barbecue is my favorite, followed by (tie) Central Barbecue and Germantown Commissary, followed by (tie) Three Pigs, The Barbecue Shop and Cozy Corner.

I'd add Trolinger's in Paris, TN, and the Smokehouse in Camden, TN.

Lewis's in Moscow, TN, gets raves, but I've never been overly impressed. Ditto the go-to place in Covington, TN, whose name escapes me.

Can't leave Arkansas out of the mix. There's Jones Cafe in Marianna; Craig's BBQ in DeValls Bluff; and over here in my adopted home town of Hot Springs, there's McClard's (favorite of former President Bill Clinton) and Purity Barbecue Lounge, my current favorite.


Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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Thanks for the replies so far! I hope somebody can comment more on Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi. There must be more towns there...


Nathan

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Only place I've ever had barbecue (ribs) in Alabama was Dreamland, which everyone raves about but I was completely underwhelmed.

Add to the Arkansas list Whole Hog and Sims, both in Little Rock. Can't leave them out.Whole Hog also has an outlet in Hot Springs.


Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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as for Georgia: Old Clinton in Clinton, GA and Fresh Air in Flovilla are considered the two "best" in the state (arguably). There is also a Lexington, GA which has a quirky barbecue joint that is supposedly very, very good but the name of which escapes me.

There are a bunch of places in 'bama and Mississippi but I am not particularly familiar w/ them.


in loving memory of Mr. Squirt (1998-2004)--

the best cat ever.

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Dallas is a BBQ wasteland. Besides that, your TX list looks pretty good.

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I am sorry, but what's the point of a list of cities without the associated pit being identified, and the Southeast you see is rather large. ch

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I am sorry, but what's the point of a list of cities without the associated pit being identified, and the Southeast you see is rather large. ch

I am making a map showing the geographical distribution of barbeque. For that purpose what matters most is where the really good barbeque is located geograhically. Knowing the town name is important to that.

A list of great barbeque pits/restaurants is also a great thing, but then you tend to get into disagreements about which one is best. As an example, many people can agree that Kansas City, Mo, or Lockhart, Tx are great barbeque towns, but there is a lot of disagreement about which of the multiple establishments in each of these towns is the best.


Nathan

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Dallas belongs nowhere on your Texas list, especially if you leave of Ft. Worth. And even then, that doesn't measure up to the other towns you have listed.


Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"
jmeeker@eGullet.org

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OK, I have taken Dallas off the list, and I have added the other towns suggested in posts above.

At the moment I have no towns in Mississippi or Louisiana. That seems unlikely to be true. I posted on the Louisiana forum also.

Anybody have any recommendations in Mississippi or Louisiana? Or more towns in Georgia?

How about the Florida panhandle?


Nathan

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Louisiana is not really known for regional bbq. New Orleans has a few spots, not worth a going out of your way for. So where is the map going to be posted?

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The map is for a large cookbook project that I am working on. The NY Times wrote an article about it. Although science and technology is one

In terms of Louisiana, I agree it is not known for it, but I would expect that there would be some good barbeque in the northern part of the state.

I also don't have any towns for Virginia or West Virginia. Surely there is some barbeque there...


Nathan

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In Georgia, I would list Flovilla, Atlanta, Macon, Marietta, Decatur, Roswell, Woodstock - the last four being Atlanta suburbs which you may not care to include.

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The best pulled pork sandwich anywhere in the Southeast is Golden Rule on Hwy 31 which is either in Birmingham or Hoover, I'm not quite sure. They have franchised other locations, but none smoke their meat for 8 hours over real hickory wood like this one. I live in Montgomery, but I never pass through Birmingham without stopping there. Their slaw is also unbeatable! It is made with the perfect mix of vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, oil, and maybe water. Possibly some celery seed too.

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Hello, all-

I just stumbled onto this thread, and would like to add a few comments:

I agree with kayb about Dreamland; a unidimensional sauce covering 2nd rate "Q". Having just moved to HIllsborough, NC, which is not far from some historic epicenters of fine BBQ, I tend to agree with the natives. There are two transcendental BBQ purveyors within 5 miles of my house, and they are only a sample.I would suggest to nathanm that he classify his findings into the separate but perhaps equal vinegar/tomato (sauce) and pork/beef (meat) categories; otherwisw we have the apples vs. oranges arguments...

Bartow

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The problem with this list re: Alabama is that most of the best places are out in the middle of nowhere. I can name 30 great places in the state but they are all in towns of less than 2000(some less than 50) and usually are the only BBQ place in said town.

Example: Cottons BBQ Located OUTSIDE of Eclectic, AL (pop: 1037)


Edited by BadRabbit (log)

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BadRabbit makes a good point and raises the obvious question, does a good bbq town really need more than one pit. I say no. I still don't understand the point of a map such as the one proposed. You drive to an identified town, and then you get out and ask around? I don't think the OP is following this thread anyway.


Edited by saturnbar (log)

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Yes the original poster is following the thread sporadically. I have made a BBQ map for my upcoming book Modernist Cuisine. The point of the map isn't as a travel guide, it is about tracing the cultural history and complexity of barbeque thorugout the South.


Nathan

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Being an "adopted native" of the area of Tuscaloosa, AL, I highly recommend Archibald's BBQ in Northport, AL. It's the best Q I've ever eaten. It's a small place with maybe 7 bar stools at a counter and picnic tables outside. The place has been there since 1961 and the original owner's son runs the place now. Just a heads-up: they are not open on Mondays.

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You must add Wilson, North Carolina, to this list. Wilson is home to both Parker's and Bill Ellis' Barbeque - both excellent representations of Eastern NC barbeque cuisine.

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Not so sure about Parkers in Greenville or anywhere else. But yes, Ayden is the pinnacle. Most say go to the Starlight, and don't miss it. But the jewel is Bum's across from the courthouse. The 'cue rivals Pete's at the Starlight and the sides are classics of the genre, particularly the dense flat cornbread and the collards (they care so much they have their own collard patch... and Ayden is the home of the Collard Festival, or course.)

Wilburs in Goldsboro, NC is another jewel, and believe it or not, The Pit in Raleigh, which looks like a big city fake version, but if you walk around back and take a whiff of the smoke pouring out of the place you'll know you're in the for real thing... I had relatives up last month who live in the farmland between Grifton and Ayden, and they were blown away by The Pit.

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I would like to add The Dixie Pig in Blytheville,AR and the Capital Smokehouse in Little Rock. When you stop at Craig's in Del Valls Bluff do Not pass up a piece of pie at The Pie Shop across the street. I have been to Whole Hog in Bentonville it was okay.

Put Dallas back on your list. Two places. The Pecan Lodge at the farmers market and Lockhart Smokehouse.


Edited by joiei (log)

It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

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You can probably take Raleigh off of your list, in the sense that Allen and Sons in Chapel Hill, Bullock's in Durham and a number of other places in the greater Raleigh area are known for classic eastern Carolina barbeque, but Raleigh itself has pretty much only The Pit and Clyde Cooper's, and the latter, like the legendary Raleigh hot dog joint Roast Grill, is not very good. The former is a transplant from Wilson, NC, which should be high on your list. It is home to several famous joints. What you really need is to scare up a guy who used to post here a lot under the name Varmint, who has forgotten more about barbeque than anybody's research will likely turn up, and also do some online research for books on the subject. Several good ones have been written. ""The Best Tar Heel Barbeque Manteo to Murphy" by Jim Early and "Bob Garner's Guide to North Carolina Barbeque" are two. "Real Barbeque" by Greg Johnson and Vince Staten isn't bad. One that you may never find, "Barbeque On My Mind" by Trey Pope, is good for Georgia...


Bill Klapp

bklapp@egullet.com

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