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Jul 29, 2009 04:39 PM

Barbecue Road Trip

I will be travelling across the country over the next few months in search of the best and most unique barbecue restaurants from Kansas to Georgia. Please refer to the enclosed link to map/route and let me know if you know of any great places that might have slipped below my radar.


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  1. I don't know how much time you will spend in Eastern NC, but if you're going to be in ayden B's is not far away in greenville and well worth the trip (cleaner style than skylight, also great dark meat chicken). I have also discovered a little wood cooked treasure in Conetoe called blackbeards. They happen to be open for lunch on Sunday, which is rare. It's probably the smokiest ENC barbecue I've encountered, and utterly delicious.

    1. Wow! I'm jealous!

      You've picked a couple of great choices for the Nashville area (probably the best two, actually). You do realize that Martin's and Center Point are on opposite sides of town, and like an hour away from each other though, right?

      Regarding Memphis, I would strike Interstate and substitute either Payne's or Central. Payne's is the best barbecue sandwich in Memphis, which probably makes it the best in the world, and Central has some incredible ribs. And I wasn't that impressed with Interstate. But your other Memphis choices are spot on. If you want more info and pictures, I did some blog posts on my Memphis BBQ travels last year.

      3 Replies
      1. re: jamiecarroll

        I forgot that I actually tried Central BBQ the last time I was in Memphis for a friend's bachelor party and really liked it. I've heard mixed reviews re: Payne's. Locals love it and swear it's the best but friends who I know that have tried it gave it less than stellar reviews. Sometimes barbecue places have subpar days so I'll add her to the agenda. Thanks!

        1. re: 3rd Degree Berns

          It's a love it or hate it situation with Payne's, it depends upon the day you're there. I like the meat but thought the sauce was syrupy sweet. Yet, I have friends and family who say it is the Holy Land of pulled pork. for my mind, you're better off going to Bar-B-Q Shop for shoulder, and Central for ribs, and just skip the Rendezvous.

          If you have never tried BBQ spaghetti and think you might like it, by all means go to Interstate; they invented it.

        2. re: jamiecarroll

          Thanks a lot for your recommendations and link to your blog. I ended up eating at Interstate and was fairly disappointed especially since I had heard great things. I thought BBQ Shop was incredible (best in Memphis) and I also liked the ribs at Germantown Commissary.

          Central BBQ
          2249 Central Ave, Memphis, TN 38104

        3. If you're running up I-81 in Virginia, check out Franks for the Memories in Buena Vista (Exit 188A + 4.5 miles, right downtown) Edible Barbecue and sauce made right there...

          1. Is this a road trip or a book project?

            3 Replies
              1. re: 3rd Degree Berns

                there was a destination spot -- local landmark around Spartanburg SC where they even held church services on Sunday. Gi-hugic place. Probably still there. Google it. Certainly worth the 'experience.' FYI -- IMO we're losing our culture of southern food to factory made and chain restaurants.... I've had very little really good barbeque in a year in the Carolinas. Most places don't smoke it, and even the caterers run to IGA for the 'igabbq 89cents' on special. I've only had really good 'pig' as they call it here on a game preserve... BTW, the former food critic for Esquire compiled essays into a book, 'Fork It Over.' One was just such a BBQ road trip. A good read....

                1. re: lil magill

                  Actually (and thankfully), NC still has lots of great bbq. Since you are in Chapel Hill, you should try Allen and Son, if you haven't already. Excellent 'q, cooked over hardwood the old way. They are located on Hwy. 86 between CH and Hillsborough.

            1. Cozy corner is great, just don't forget it's not open at night.