Travel + Leisure magazine says most barbecue fans agree that it's about cooking the meat "low and slow" so the end result is tender, flavorful and melt-in-your-mouth goodness.
But that's where the agreement ends.
From state to state — even regions — there is fierce debate over the best type of barbecue and seasonings, from dry rubs to vinegars to mustards and hot sauces.
Travel + Leisure's new "The 25 Best Places for Barbecue in the U.S." list was compiled by Yelp (based on an algorithm that looks at both the number of reviews as well as the star ratings. Large chains were excluded, and there are no more than two establishments from each state to ensure geographic diversity).
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Here's what's not surprising: Perennial list favorite Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que in Kansas City, Kan., landed at No. 22.
Here's the shocker: Joe's was beat out by up-and-comer Scott's Kitchen and Catering at Hangar 29, which landed at No. 20.
Scott's Kitchen opened near the airport in July 2017. On Yelp, it has a 5-star rating, with more than 100 reviews. By comparison, Joe's has more than 2,800 reviews and a 4.5-star rating.
Food & Wine also recently named Scott's to its list of "The Best Burritos in All 50 States."
Founder and owner Scott Umscheid said it was hard for him to believe his restaurant was on any list with the "world's greatest barbecue, Joe's Kansas City."
"It feels amazing that our customers are rewarding us with such high ratings," he said. "To break into the scene, any new restaurant, let alone barbecue, there is no compromise.
"It's amazing to see our work is being recognized from our barbecue to our burritos."
Missouri also had another barbecue place on the list: His and Hers BBQ in Dardenne Prairie, near St. Louis, came in at No. 18.