14 Best BBQ Joints in the South

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There’s nothing better than a hole-in-the-wall Southern BBQ joint.

14 Best BBQ Joints in the South:

14. The Joint: New Orleans, LA
New Orleans isn’t exactly known for BBQ, but in 2004, The Joint started to change that. Try the pork ribs, which are coated in a Cajun rub that gives them a spicy, blackened effect — it’s different and delicious. Oh, also, there’s peanut butter pie. You should get it.

13. 4 Rivers Smokehouse: Winter Park, FL
The pit master behind this Florida gem made a name for himself through the unconventional fundraising barbecue circuit. Now, it has 13 brick-and-mortar locations in the Sunshine State.


12. BBQ Exchange: Gordonsville, VA
Having no real regional barbecue style of its own doesn’t bother proprietor’s Craig and Donna Hartman, who seem to be blissfully unanchored to any tradition, as their menu is filled with every imaginable rendition of smoked pork.

11. The Shed: Ocean Springs, MS
Pecan wood and live blues tunes set the smells and sounds, and the full baby back rib racks are cooked to perfect tenderness.

10. Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn: Owensboro, KY
Get the mutton, served sliced or chopped. But save room for burgoo, the spicy veggie and smoked meat stew that put Western Kentucky on the BBQ map.

9. Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q: Decatur, AL
This institution has been around since 1925, when a railroad worker named Bob Gibson dug a pit in his backyard and started smoking chicken. That succulent chicken is still the main attraction, slathered in his famous “white sauce,” which has given Alabama its stake in barbecue stardom.

8. Wiley’s Championship BBQ: Savannah, GA
Go with the brisket. Or the ribs. Or the chicken. But you also need to try the Brunswick Stew. Just get comfortable … you’re going to be there awhile.

7. Louie Mueller Barbecue: Taylor, TX
Walking in is like entering another era, and each bite is the culmination of 65 years of post-oak seasoning.

6. Rendezvous: Memphis, TN
This Memphis landmark still cooks ribs like they did 60 years ago — with a vinegar wash and a dry rub borrowed from the founder’s family chili recipe.

5. Skylight Inn: Ayden, NC
Alongside Texas, North Carolina might have the highest concentration of great barbecue anywhere in the States. Their specialty is whole hogs, chopped with just a little bit of skin to create a texture that’s become the restaurant’s calling card.

4. Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q: Atlanta, GA
Fox Bros. started as the backyard barbecues of two Texas brothers and grew into to an Atlanta staple.

3. Dreamland: Tuscaloosa, AL
As revered as Bear Bryant, both the legendary coach and this legendary barbecue joint got their start in Tuscaloosa in 1958.

2. Southern Soul Barbeque: St. Simons Island, GA
A converted old gas station in this Georgia beach town is barbecue heaven.

1. Franklin Barbecue: Austin, TXAustin, TX
You’d better get there early. The listed hours are 11 a.m. to SOLD OUT.