Special Report

The Best Barbecue Joints in America

Source: Courtesy of Swig & Swine via Facebook

Swig & Swine
> Location: Charleston, SC

A hip roadside eatery with craft brews and a happy hour, Swig and Swine has three South Carolina locations that serve trays of slow-cooked barbecue with not-so-standard sides including baked potato salad, corn pudding, and mixed pickled vegetables. The brisket and burnt ends are crowd favorites, as are the pork rinds and pimento cheese appetizers.

Source: Courtesy of JR's Rhodehouse BBQ Pit via Facebook

JR’s Rhodehouse BBQ Pit
> Location: Summerset, SD

A Texas-style outpost outside of Rapid City, JR’s Rhodehouse has consistent five star reviews for its mouth watering brisket, ribs, sausages, turkey, and pulled pork. Meats are sold by the pound, in sandwiches with pickled onions and jalapeños, or on platters with sides including smokehouse beans and green chili jack mac and cheese.

The Ridgewood Barbecue
> Location: Bluff City, TN

Serving large portions of Southern comfort food since 1948, this family-owned restaurant offers award-winning smoked beef and locally raised hams along with burgers, fried shrimp, and chicken. Crackers and hand-cut fries come with a bowl of house blue cheese dressing for dipping, and the barbecue beans are famous in the area.

Source: Courtesy of Charlie Vergos' Rendezvous via Facebook

Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous
> Location: Memphis, TN

Since 1948, this funky subterranean establishment with brick walls and vintage decor has been serving their famous dry-rubbed smoked ribs. Barbecue sauce is optional, as the spice-coated ribs, brisket, and chicken can stand alone. Enjoy the red beans and rice and smoked sausages, too, but be ready to wait for a table.

Franklin Barbecue
> Location: Austin, TX

This legendary lunch spot by James Beard award-winning pitmaster Aaron Franklin is open from 11 a.m. until they sell out, usually by 2 or 3. Despite the limited hours and long lines, the wait is absolutely worth it for the tender brisket, pulled pork, turkey, ribs, and sausages. The smokey flavor and peppery crust are always on point, and the sides and pies are fantastic as well.

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