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Barbecue in Hot Springs, Arkansas

California, New York, Florida, Massachusetts, Illinois, Hawaii, Nevada

10 Big-City Barbecue Restaurants You Must Try

By: Zach Everson

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  • States:
    California
    New York
    Florida
    Massachusetts
    Illinois
    Hawaii
    Nevada

Try some of these high-quality barbecue spots in cities around the USA.

Cooking meat indirectly at a low temperature has been popular in the southeastern part of the USA since, well, before that region was part of the USA. And while barbecue has long been served in other parts of the country, only in the past five years or so did people outside the Southeast and Texas also become fanatical about the dish. It’s not that barbecue restaurants outside the area between North Carolina and Texas are replicating the work of expert pit masters in the Southeast, though. Many are putting their own touches on the technique, too. Try some of these high-quality barbecue spots in cities elsewhere in the USA.

Sweet Cheeks Q - Boston, Massachusetts

Boston’s Sweet Cheeks Q serves up barbecue by the tray, with a typical order consisting of one meat, one hot side and one cold side. While the barbecue style is inspired by a road trip the chef took through Texas, many of Sweet Cheeks’ ingredients are sourced in New England. The biscuits with whipped honey butter also draw rave reviews, as does the restaurant’s outdoor patio.

Sweet Cheeks Q - Boston, Massachusetts

Sweet Cheeks Q - Boston, Massachusetts
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Smoque BBQ - Chicago, Illinois

While the cuts of meat are inspired by those found throughout the United States’ barbecue belt — like Texas-style brisket and Memphis ribs — the vinegary sauces and spicy rubs at Smoque BBQ are original recipes, giving its barbecue a Chicago touch. All the sides are made from original recipes too. It’s a bring-your-own-beverage establishment though. Buy a local craft beer and bring it with you.

Smoque BBQ - Chicago, Illinois

Smoque BBQ - Chicago, Illinois
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Derek Meyer
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Guava Smoked - Honolulu, Hawaii

True to Hawaii’s strong Asian influence, barbecue here often means Korean style — roasted at the table over a gas or charcoal grill — as opposed to smoked like it’s mostly done on the mainland United States. But Guava Smoked, a Honolulu-based food truck, serves traditional Southern-style barbecue, like smoked pork and ribs, as well as offering Hawaiian takes on barbecue such as smoked butterfish collars and salmon bellies.

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Rollin Smoke Barbecue - Las Vegas, Nevada

It seems irresponsible — and contrary to the Las Vegas spirit — to order anything other than the all-you-can-eat option (“anything on the menu any day, any time”) at Rollin Smoke BBQ. Otherwise you’d have to make hard choices among smokin’ plates like brisket three ways (chopped, sliced and burnt ends), the rib platter special and even smoked meatloaf.

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Bludso’s Bar-&-Que - Los Angeles, California

Located in Hollywood, Bludso's Bar & Que is a collaboration between Bludso’s BBQ Restaurant in Compton and the gastropub Golden State. Order the Tray, which feeds six to eight, to sample six types of smoked meat and seven sides. Be sure to wash it all down with one of its traditional cocktails like the Old Fashioned.

Bludso’s Bar & Que - Los Angeles, California

Bludso’s Bar-&-Que - Los Angeles, California
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Yardbird Southern Table & Bar - Miami, Florida

A James Beard Foundation semifinalist for best new restaurant and chef in the U.S. for 2012, Yardbird Southern Table & Bar brings Southern-style dining to Miami Beach. In addition to St. Louis-style pork ribs and bone-in short ribs, it serves a smoked half-chicken with a homemade sauce and charred okra. And the swine burger 2.0 combines smoked short rib, brisket and pork belly — and even smoked Gouda.

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Mighty Quinn’s BBQ - New York City, New York

Just three years after opening its first location in the East Village, Mighty Quinn's BBQ already has six additional restaurants in the New York City metro area. Serving what it calls Texalina barbecue (a mash-up of Texas and Carolina barbecue styles), Mighty Quinn’s seasons its meats with spices before smoking them. Its brontosaurus rib (actually beef) weighs in at nearly half a kilogram. It’s meant to be shared, but no one will judge you if you try to eat one all by yourself.

Mighty Quinn’s BBQ - New York City, New York

Mighty Quinn’s BBQ - New York City, New York
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Garrett Ziegler
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Baby Blues BBQ - San Francisco, California

As the name makes clear, the focus at San Francisco’s Baby Blues BBQ is on baby back and Memphis-style ribs (the Tennessee city of Memphis is renowned for its blues music). But the menu is chock full of options, from a wide variety of combination plates  to sandwich and à la carte options to nontraditional selections like smoked chicken, trout, tiger shrimp and salmon.

Baby Blues BBQ - San Francisco, California

Baby Blues BBQ - San Francisco, California
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4 Rivers Smokehouse - Orlando, Florida

A Florida institution, 4 Rivers Smokehouse just opened its 10th and 11th restaurants in the state. Florida’s known for attracting residents who grew up elsewhere in the United States. That nationwide influence is visible in Orlando on 4 Rivers’ menu, which offers Texas sausage, Southern pulled pork, St. Louis-style ribs and Kansas City’s specialty, burnt ends.

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Smoke & Barrel - Washington, D.C.

Smoke & Barrel in the lively Adams Morgan neighborhood in Washington, D.C., focuses on barbecue as well as two other Bs that pair well with it: beer and bourbon. While it serves smoked classics like brisket, chicken, pork and sausage, you’ll also find duck quarters and vegan options like tofu. Its brisket steak and cheese uses nacho cheese and fresh jalapeños to give a spicy kick to the traditional steak and cheese sandwich.

Smoke & Barrel - Washington, D.C.

Smoke & Barrel - Washington, D.C.
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Adam Fagen
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