BBQ in the South: A Foodie Tour Guide

Categories: Food Fun, The List
ribshack.jpg
Summer's in full swing, and that means the kids are driving you crazy vacation, vacation, vacation! Ditch the tired Caribbean and load up the car for a Southern BBQ trip, where the adventure lies in the journey as much as the destination.

The following suggestions are from a bona fide BBQ connoisseur, from Texas (so he knows BBQ), with a love for North Carolina's vinegar-based sauce. [Note: The suggestions are for the very best of the eastern part of the South, which includes Georgia, Tennessee, and both North and South Carolina. Texas is not included in this list.]

But before we get to the list, here are some BBQ facts you should know:
(1) BBQ should never be fancy. (2) The best BBQ comes out of an old building that looks like it will collapse at any moment, because of the years of smoke damage it has endured. (3) Putting a piece of meat on the grill, i.e. grilling, is not the same as barbecuing. Barbecuing requires indirect heat, wood smoke, and a lot of time. (4) The South is famous for having the best BBQ in the country, but it still varies greatly between and within states in style of cooking, marinating, and choice of meat. 

And finally, for those who don't love food as much as we do (really?), there are great adventures throughout the South for you to enjoy as well, like white-water rafting, kayaking, hiking, bird-watching, blues singing...

Tom Jenkins Bar-B-Q
1236 S. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
954-522-5046
How could you not begin with this classic?

Fat Matt's Rib Shack
1811 Piedmont Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30324
404-607-1622 ‎

Porker's BBQ

1251 Market St., Chattanooga, TN 37402
423-267-2726

Judge's Express - Hickory
1975 U.S. Highway 70 SE, Hickory, NC 28602
828-324-0020

The Pit
328 W. Davie St, Raleigh, NC 27601
919-890-4500

Cooper's BBQ & Catering
109 E. Davie St., Raleigh, NC 27601
919-832-7614

Ole Time Barbecue
6309 Hillsborough St., Raleigh, NC 27606
919-859-2544

Carolina Barbecue
733 U.S. Highway 70 W, Garner, NC 27529
919-773-0222

We've mapped it out for you too!

View BBQ Tour, Eastern South in a larger map


Follow Clean Plate Charlie on Facebook and on Twitter: @CleanPlateBPB.

Location Info

Tom Jenkins' Bar-B-Q

1236 S. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Category: Restaurant


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9 comments
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Cabana
Cabana

I'll be second to bring up Fox Bros. in Atlanta, it's the best in the city.  Nevermind Fox Bros., I'm surprised Fat Matt's made it on the list and not Williamson Bros., the even older stand-by.  They always seem to be the BBQ joint that everyone claims to be "best" when they haven't made it down to Fox Bros.  Exceptional brisket, solid pork, and a "burger" from another planet (they use chopped brisket instead of ground beef, and pimento cheese, om nom nom nom).

Serena
Serena

Been to The Pit & Clyde Cooper's. I believe The Pit was on Man vs. Food? Somewhat "fancy". Cooper's is a 10 minute walk down the street & way better, and cheaper. There is also a place in Savannah down a dirt road/alley that is supposed to be awesome (by the time we got there it had closed for the night)- might have been Wall's.

ted inserra
ted inserra

the 2 best bbq places in south florida have both closed!!!  Smith and Jones on las olas with Chef Johnny Vinczencz, who knows bbq,and Chef Jonathan Eisman's "Q" that was in the Design district in Miami!!

BBQLVR
BBQLVR

Judge's Express in Hickory has great BBQ (and sourdough buns)! They also have a location in Valdese, NC and a sister restaurant in Morganton, NC called Butch's BBQ.

freakerdude
freakerdude

No no no....Tom Jenkins does not belong on any list of 'great' bbq. I don't even think they have a smoker but more like a grill. There is no rub on the ribs and the sauce is just plain odd tasting of molasses.

Fat Matt's is grilled ribs only and not even from a smoker guaranteed! I know, I lived in ATL for 23 years. This is not smoked BBQ and the sauce is plain jane red. The best items are the rum baked beans and the blues music they have. This is a touristy place for out of towners.

You can't mention Atlanta and not bring up the name Fox Brothers. Hell, these 2 brothers are from Texas and serve a great brisket!!!! Fox Bros is the best in Hotlanta.

Judging from these 2 selections alone, this guy has no merit. Arghhhhh!

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