While you can probably find really good grilled meats wherever you are, some cities have a reputation for quality barbecue that goes a little beyond a trusted steakhouse or two.
Kansas City, Missouri, is the country’s barbecue epicenter, according to a new survey from lawn care company LawnStarter. The ranking system is based on 14 weighted factors, including number of barbecue and smokehouse restaurants, number of top rated barbecue and smokehouse restaurants, number of barbecue festivals and competitions, restaurant ratings of consumers, the number of top-ranked kitchen teams, etc. . Cities were awarded points in each category, and those values were added together for an overall score out of 100. Kansas City had about 60 points, nearly 14 points ahead of finalist Chicago.
If you thought most of the top performers would be located in the South and Midwest, you were right. Houston, Cincinnati, and Memphis round out the top five, and the majority of the top 20 are in those regions as well. But the list is not without surprises. New York and Los Angeles, in eighth and 14th place respectively, have clearly benefited from being massive hubs for chefs and foodies. Los Angeles has the top-rated barbecue restaurants of the 199 cities included in the study; and New York is just behind (tied with Honolulu, Hawaii).
When it comes to celebrating the art of barbecuing and the fun of eating it, Cincinnati is unparalleled, with more barbecue festivals than any other city. And champion pitmasters often come from Missouri: Kansas City and St. Louis took first and second place on the list of cities with the most kitchen teams ranked in the top 25 percent of World Series of open contests. Barbecue.
If you don’t see your city in the list below, you can see where it landed on the full list of 199 cities here.
- Kansas City, Missouri // 60.14
- Chicago, Illinois // 46.46
- Houston, Texas // 37.51
- Cincinnati, Ohio // 35.88
- Memphis, Tennessee // 34.08
- Louisville, Kentucky // 31.47
- St. Louis, Missouri // 29.86
- New York, New York // 29.22
- Minneapolis, Minnesota // 28.61
- Overland Park, Kansas // 27.26
- Washington, DC // 27.07
- Richmond, Virginia // 26.47
- Denver, Colorado // 25.33
- Los Angeles, California // 25.30
- Omaha, Nebraska // 25.22
- Atlanta, Georgia // 25.08
- Grand Rapids, Michigan // 24.64
- Austin, Texas // 23.04
- Elk Grove, California // 23.03
- Raleigh, North Carolina // 22.87