Zagat has released “The Ultimate Guide to American Regional Barbecue,” which breaks down regional styles and offers three local recommendations.
A national guide to top restaurants, the website says the history of barbecue is the history of America, with regional barbecues offering a diverse range of proteins, cuts and sauces that vary from chef to chef.
“Where most regions are best known for one, maybe two, different cuts or proteins, Kansas City offers a bit of everything: pork, beef, chicken, lamb, mutton, and yes, even fish. It’s best known, however, for two things: burnt ends and sauce. The former is made from the point of the brisket, which is full of fatty marbling and juicier than the rest of the cut, that’s slowly smoked over wood,” Zagat says.
It quotes Rob Magee, chef and owner of Q39, “It’s something you don’t get when you go to other places.”
The guide also looks at barbecue in St. Louis, Memphis, Nashville, as well as Alabama, California, the Carolinas, Georgia, Hawaii and other regions.
Zagat also surveyed 3,559 diners nationwide and found that 42 percent would be willing to drive several hours for great barbecue, and 19 percent were willing to fly to a favorite spot. They picked Texas-style as the best (32 percent), followed by Kansas City (16 percent) and Memphis (14 percent).
Ribs were the favorite barbecue meat, followed by brisket, pulled pork, burnt ends, chicken and sausage. Coleslaw is the go-to side, followed by baked beans, cornbread, potato salad and mac-n-cheese.