No food tradition speaks to the heart and soul of the American South quite like barbecue. However, the love affair with smoked meat is one that spans the entire continent. While places like Dallas, Kansas City, and the Carolinas remain obvious destinations for slow-cooked brisket and fall-off-the-bone pork ribs, cities far and wide are expanding their barbecue offerings. Top-notch barbecue joints dot the West Coast, bringing the best of barbecue to Seattle, Los Angeles, and everywhere in between. And on the opposite end of the country, cities like New York City and Washington D.C., which aren’t typically recognized for their barbecue expertise, are continuously striving to elevate their game and master the art of Texas-style meat.
While restaurants like Franklin Barbecue in Austin are legendary for their traditional barbecue, others aren’t afraid to serve their meat with an innovative twist. Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint in Nashville sells an iconic pulled pork sandwich piled high with slaw, while Sweet Auburn Barbecue in Atlanta offers Korean-style short ribs topped with jalapeños and Sriracha aioli. Here are maps of the best barbecue there is to find in each Eater city.