Best BBQ in the United States

Some people take road trips because they want to see museums or national parks. Others drive around looking for the best roller coasters. But then there are the foodies, the ones who seek out culinary perfection, and BBQ junkies are right near the top of that list. Five of the most amazing places to visit in the US if you love BBQ. Learn all about where to find some of the best BBQ in the US.

Best BBQ in the Nation

Driving from town to town looking for a fantastic BBQ is something that not everyone has the time or the money to do. Maybe you’ve just retired, though, or you find yourself with some vacation time. Why not hop in your vehicle and try to determine which pit has the best-burnt ends or pulled pork sandwich?

Be careful on the road as you start your travels. There are semi-trucks out there that weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, and you don’t want a close encounter with one of them. Now that the safe driving disclaimer is out of the way, let’s go over five of the BBQ joints that have earned our highest marks.

Best BBQ in the United States

Big Rig BBQ

If you can make it all the way to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Big Rig BBQ makes pulled pork that is absolutely out of this world. This spot is particularly known for their:

  • Pulled pork
  • Pork ribs
  • A wide selection of mouth-watering sauces

The Food Network crowned Big Rig the Best BBQ in South Dakota at one point, and they garnered the same award from the Travel Channel. They were also a People’s Choice winner at the 2017 Ribfest.

The smoky, meaty taste and the complexity of their spice rubs mean that many individuals are willing to drive from miles around to sample this “Q.” The two and three-meat platters are not for the faint of heart, so bring your appetite.  

Bombers BBQ

In Munster, Indiana, America’s heartland, you’ll find Bombers BBQ, another top contender for best in the nation. This is the spot for:

  • Baby-back ribs
  • Rib tips
  • Brisket
  • Shrimp

The family packs here are exceptional, especially the B-52 Super fortress, which comes with four pulled pork or brisket sandwiches, mac-and-cheese sides, and cornbread. That should satisfy the whole family.

The meat is smoked over apple and cherry wood, which gives a subtle sweetness to the sauce. Don’t sleep on the sides, either. Bomber’s smokehouse chili is a standout, as are the sweet potato fries with garlic aioli.


SLOWS BBQ, in Detroit, Michigan, is a restaurant that has some of the finest BBQ alongside one of the best beer selections in the state. They recently expanded their restaurant space and added another 36 beers to what they already had on tap.

Making up beer and food pairings is one of the most enjoyable things to do as a foodie, and the staff here will be glad to help. You might opt for an IPA to go with their slow-cooked, fire-grilled chicken and coleslaw. Perhaps a dark nice Belgian-style beer is more your scene, paired with hearty beef ribs and baked beans.

It’s hard to find a bad selection at SLOWS, and they now have a sister location in Grand Rapids as well as Detroit.

Eli’s BBQ

Cincinnati, OH, is already known for its Skyline Chili three-ways, but that’s not exactly traditional BBQ. Eli’s puts the Queen City on the map with their hickory-smoked ribs. The tenderness of the meaty monstrosities they serve up is unmatched.

There are a couple of locations, including one in Findlay Market, where you can browse local crafts while you munch on their caramelized burnt ends. They also can be found in the food court in Over the Rhine, a rejuvenated neighborhood that is bursting with local color after years of neglect.

Big Bob Gibson BBQ

Big Bob Gibson BBQ in Decatur, Alabama, is the quintessential southern-style BBQ, and it might just be the best in the nation. Big Bob is mainly known for his twist on hickory-smoked chicken. The crispy skin and tender meat that’s lurking beneath are well worth the road trip.

The Alabama white sauce is Gibson’s real brainchild. What’s in it? We don’t know, but it’s often imitated, never duplicated.

With so many BBQ choices across the country, it’s going to be tough to hit them all. You might need to take multiple trips before you can determine who you feel is the winner.

Whether your favorite is pork, beef ribs, chicken, or a variety of the tasty sides that so often accompany them, the citizens of this great nation can all agree on the healing power of BBQ.     

Last Updated on June 30, 2023

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