A Q&A with Dr. Jeff Miller and LawnStarter’s 2021’s Best Barbeque Cities in America
What makes a true barbecue city for aficionados?
A true barbecue city has a respect for the traditions. BBQ is an old and honorable art. Serious BBQ people want pitmasters who understand what it takes to make the classics correctly; pitmasters who are willing to spend the time to do it right — there is no “hurry up” shortcut to great BBQ.
A city also needs a critical mass of people who love BBQ. I’ve seen some great barbecue joints close because the locals didn’t support it with their wallets.
Which non-iconic BBQ cities, if any, can fans expect to emerge in the national barbecue scene in the next few years? What makes those cities stand out?
It is really more regions that are coming on than individual towns. BBQ has always been associated with the South in general, the Carolinas and Texas, and a few great cities like Memphis and Kansas City.
But great BBQ can be had in a lot of places now. Some great BBQ is coming out of the Midwest. Oklahoma has always had a great BBQ tradition that is just now getting recognized. The whole belt across southern Kansas, southern Missouri, northern Oklahoma, and northern Arkansas is growing great BBQ traditions.
What are some non-traditional barbecue dishes (such as BBQ tacos) that every serious fan must try?
While the classics are hard to beat, there are a few outliers to try:
- If a place has a bologna sandwich on the menu, try it. There is some great BBQ bologna in Oklahoma.
- BBQ corned beef can be really good.
- I wish there was more BBQ lamb. The place I miss the most is the late, lamented Prospect BBQ in Kansas City. They had BBQ lamb shanks and lamb riblets that I still dream about.
What are some fresh barbecue side-dish ideas to try this Fourth of July?
- Anything with dark leafy greens like collards: They pair perfectly with the smoke of real BBQ.
- Try some really sweet watermelon with feta cheese crumbles. You can never go wrong with sweet and salty.
- Hawaiian-style mac salad is always great with ribs.
Barbecue vs. barbeque: Apart from spelling, is there a difference?
It’s not the spelling; it’s the process. A steak on the grill is a treat, but it’s not BBQ. Low and slow wins the race.
Besides visiting the top BBQ cities in the country, what’s the best way to discover one’s favorite style of ’cue?
One thing the pandemic did was blow food delivery wide open. You can order BBQ from nearly anywhere. You can enjoy most of the great BBQ styles of America from the comfort of your own patio.
For the full article, visit: 2021’s Best Barbecue Cities in America