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    2023’s Best BBQ Cities In America

    2023’s Best BBQ Cities In America

    Which U.S. cities are most likely to give you the meat sweats?

    To separate the top sirloins from the chuck roasts of BBQ scenes, LawnStarter ranked 2023’s Best BBQ Cities in America. They compared the 200 biggest U.S. cities based on five categories. They looked at access to tasty barbecue vendors, consumer ratings, competition awards, and the number of barbecue festivals, among 20 total metrics.

    See the 10 best (and 10 worst) cities for barbecue below, followed by key stats from the report.

    Best Cities for BBQ

    1. Kansas City, MO
    2. St. Louis, MO
    3. Kansas City, KS
    4. Memphis, TN
    5. Houston, TX
    6. Orlando, FL
    7. Springfield, MO
    8. Omaha, NE
    9. Nashville, TN
    10. Richmond, VA

    Worst Cities for BBQ

    1. (TIE) Yonkers, NY
    1. (TIE) Paterson, NJ
    3. Lancaster, CA
    4. Miramar, FL
    5. Ontario, CA
    6. Surprise, AZ
    7. Providence, RI
    8. Chula Vista, CA
    9. Irving, TX
    10. Aurora, IL

    Key Insights

    • Show-Me Some ’Cue: Kansas City, Missouri (No. 1), smoked the competition with the most barbecue festivals and the most 180 Club and 700 Club members, followed by St. Louis (No. 2). St. Louis stands out with the 2nd-highest number of BBQ vendors per capita and the most National Barbecue & Grilling Association (NBBQA) members.
    • Heart of BBQ: Kansas City, Missouri (No. 1), and Kansas City, Kansas (No. 3), tied for the most cooking teams in the top 25% of recent open contests for the American Royal World Series of Barbecue. They also took 2nd and 3rd places, respectively, for teams in the top quarter of the Series’ invitational contests.
    • Take a Bite of Texas: Houston (No. 5) is Texas’ BBQ star, with the 2nd-largest number of top-rated BBQ vendors and the most cooking teams in the top 25% of the World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest. Houston tied with San Antonio (No. 31) for 2nd place in top-rated smokehouses. Meanwhile, Austin (No. 12) and Dallas (No. 36) claimed the 5th- and 6th-highest numbers of top-rated BBQ vendors, respectively.

    • Midwestern Meats: Chicago (No. 19) took 6th place in overall Consumer Satisfaction, and Joliet, Illinois (No. 166), boasts the highest average consumer rating for BBQ vendors. Superb pitmasters also can be found in Omaha, Nebraska (No. 8), which is home to five 180 Club Members.
    • Carolina Cuts: North Carolina is known for its distinct BBQ style, but some Tar Heel cities fell behind in both barbecue Access and pitmasters with Elite Memberships. Raleigh (No. 25) pitmasters have been recognized by the NBBQA, American Royal World Series of Barbecue, and World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest (WCBCC).
    • Southern Smoke: Many Southern cities grill up impressive barbecue Access. Orlando (No. 6) offers the most barbecue vendors and smokehouses per 100,000 residents. Tennessee cities Memphis (No. 4), Nashville (No. 9), Knoxville (No. 16), and Chattanooga (No. 28) are among the top 16 cities for BBQ vendor access, alongside Atlanta (No. 23) and Richmond, Virginia (No. 10).

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