Study sez: St. Louis BBQ is better than Kansas City BBQ....

The Tradition

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ST. LOUIS – The Gateway to the West might also be home to some of the best barbeque in the nation, a new study suggests.

LawnStarter released its “2022’s Best BBQ Cities in America” study last week, ranking 200 cities based on access, accolades, and quality of barbeque. The study gave St. Louis the best overall score (49.41), edging out Kansas City (46.45) as the nation’s top spot for barbeque.

“There are cities that cook barbecue, and there are barbecue cities,” says the study. “The difference is the latter will make you produce ‘meat sweat’ after eating a ridiculous amount of ’cue.”

Missouri actually had three of the top four spots in the study. Kansas City placed second with a score of 46.45. Springfield, Missouri, was named the fourth-best barbeque city in the study. The study also recognized Kansas City, Kansas, as the seventh-best barbeque city.

The study credits St. Louis as the top ten cities for access (2), accolades (6), and quality (6) when it comes to barbeque. Jeff Herman, editor in chief of LawnStarter, recently told KMOX that St. Louis’s top rating was helped by the large business involvement in the National Barbecue and Grilling Association and American Royal World Series Of Barbecue.

 

FSUTribe76

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That list is a giant load of ^*%*. No North Carolina city ranked until 39 and it‘s Charlotte (well known for having the worst Q in the state)? Completely leaving off the so-called capital cities of NC, KY and TX BBQ in Lexington NC, Owensboro KY and Lockhart TX entirely from a list of 200? Just one of those has more elite bbq places than Tallahassee (ranked 53rd) has in total bbq places! Chicago is 3rd and Memphis is 61st? Memphis is behind Tallahassee!!! Orlando is 5th best?!?!?!?! Orlando isn’t even 5th best in Florida, a state that kind of sucks for bbq. Birmingham is 23rd behind Des Moines Iowa? LOL

That list is a complete and utter joke. What a piece of %*#*. It doesn’t take a bbq aficionado like myself to blow up that stupid list, anyone who has traveled even once or twice to Texas, North Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama would know how terrible it is.
 

The Tradition

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If someone was to take a gastronomical trip to eat at the best pits Missouri has to offer, how many days and nights, theoretically, should someone plan for such an adventure?

I'm not Joey Chestnut so I could really only complete a lunch and a dinner each day.
 

FSUTribe76

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I don’t even have a major problem with saying St Louis is #1. I wouldn’t have it that high as it’s my least favorite style other than southern Alabama and southern Mississippi sweet red style, but I would put it in a list with Austin, Memphis, Birmingham, and Kansas City as best overall due to the number of places (with Lexington NC, Owensboro KY, Lockhart TX, and Huntsville AL having the biggest concentration of elite places compared to the population).
 

FSUTribe76

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If someone was to take a gastronomical trip to eat at the best pits Missouri has to offer, how many days and nights, theoretically, should someone plan for such an adventure?

I'm not Joey Chestnut so I could really only complete a lunch and a dinner each day.

Since no one else responded, I’ll say that TripAdvisor lists 61 bbq places in St Louis but some of those are chains with multiple locations, some are closed and some may not REALLY be BBQ places ie they’re Korean bbqs. So let’s just say there’s roughly 50 and be done with it.

Of those 50 how many are really worthwhile? I have been to Pappy’s, Roper’s Ribs, Hendrick’s, Salt & Smoke and Sugarfire. Of those, the only one I would consider a top bbq place in my mind was Roper’s Ribs. Roper’s is the oldest of that lot BY FAR although only dating back to 1976, but they use only 100% hickory for their bbq. Ordinarily I would consider that a little too strong for most bbq and on my own bbq I usually pair hickory with some black cherry wood, some dehydrated apples and some red oak and/or pecan wood to tone it down a bit on my Memphis Style ribs, but you have to remember in St Louis they love to smother everything in a pretty sweet sauce (and I mean smother, usually there’s like a half inch deep swimming pool of sauce underneath the ribs which are fully drenched), so the hickory barely even shines through all that sweet sauce. And that’s probably the main reason I wasn’t a fan of Pappy’s as they claim to smoke only using cherry and apple wood which you know is very mild and I’d say on their own only good for chicken, turkey and fish, so you get NO smoke flavor on the ribs. At Roper’s though the 100% hickory does give the Snoots a nice bacony flavor and they don’t drench the Snoots quite as much as the ribs.

A pic of Roper’s Ribs swimming in Sauce (not my pic)

roper-s-ribs.jpg


Here’s a pic of someone else’s snoots and Rib tip combo (which I do suggest) showing it soaked but not swimming in sauce.

snoots-rib_tips.jpg


And here’s someone else’s rack of Pappy‘d Ribs which are drenched in sauce but not swimming….but without the hickory you don’t get a strong smoke flavor to shine through all that sugar and tomato. They seem to rely on the carmelizing sauce to catch the smoke but even still those fruit woods are so light I was unimpressed.

photo+4.JPG
 

prlyles

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That list is a giant load of ^*%*. No North Carolina city ranked until 39 and it‘s Charlotte (well known for having the worst Q in the state)? Completely leaving off the so-called capital cities of NC, KY and TX BBQ in Lexington NC, Owensboro KY and Lockhart TX entirely from a list of 200? Just one of those has more elite bbq places than Tallahassee (ranked 53rd) has in total bbq places! Chicago is 3rd and Memphis is 61st? Memphis is behind Tallahassee!!! Orlando is 5th best?!?!?!?! Orlando isn’t even 5th best in Florida, a state that kind of sucks for bbq. Birmingham is 23rd behind Des Moines Iowa? LOL

That list is a complete and utter joke. What a piece of %*#*. It doesn’t take a bbq aficionado like myself to blow up that stupid list, anyone who has traveled even once or twice to Texas, North Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama would know how terrible it is.
Totally agree, the list is pure bullshit.
 

BlIIlken2

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Lived across the street from pappys in college before it became “famous.” We would eat there all the time. One random day after they were on the food network it blew up. Everyday the line would be wrapped around the street corner. Luckily we knew them pretty well and we would call and say we would be coming in and they would just let us skip the line and grab the food.

yes I know, /csb
 

St. Louis Hawk

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If someone was to take a gastronomical trip to eat at the best pits Missouri has to offer, how many days and nights, theoretically, should someone plan for such an adventure?

I'm not Joey Chestnut so I could really only complete a lunch and a dinner each day.

St. Louis

Bogarts
Pappy’s
Sugarfire

And none of these places pours BBQ sauce over their food like two of the photos above. That looks like crap. All 3 are Memphis type BBQ with sauce in the side if you want it.

Here are their ribs:


Kansas City

(Oklahoma) Joe’s
Jack Stack
Q39

Haven’t been to Slaps but everyone says it’s great.

Might do Gates, LC’s, and Bryant’s for nostalgia but I think the other 3 are far better.
 

The Tradition

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ST. LOUIS – A new bone of contention in the friendly rivalry between St. Louis and Kansas City.

A new study from the website Lawn Starter showed that St. Louis has the best barbecue in the country. The Gateway City edged out Kansas City for the top spot. That’s not sitting well with Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas.

Lucas got a little saucy on social media saying “There are lies and outright BS. This is the latter. STL has T-Ravs, Ted Drewes, and White Castle (still). We own BBQ.”


😂
 

FAUlty Gator

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That list is a giant load of ^*%*. No North Carolina city ranked until 39 and it‘s Charlotte (well known for having the worst Q in the state)? Completely leaving off the so-called capital cities of NC, KY and TX BBQ in Lexington NC, Owensboro KY and Lockhart TX entirely from a list of 200? Just one of those has more elite bbq places than Tallahassee (ranked 53rd) has in total bbq places! Chicago is 3rd and Memphis is 61st? Memphis is behind Tallahassee!!! Orlando is 5th best?!?!?!?! Orlando isn’t even 5th best in Florida, a state that kind of sucks for bbq. Birmingham is 23rd behind Des Moines Iowa? LOL

That list is a complete and utter joke. What a piece of %*#*. It doesn’t take a bbq aficionado like myself to blow up that stupid list, anyone who has traveled even once or twice to Texas, North Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama would know how terrible it is.
I’m wondering what they did to get some of those locations. I assume for either Orlando or Tampa they included places in Polk County like Jimbo’s or Peebles. However, the lack of Georgia BBQ is silly but understood because the best places are in the small towns that wouldn’t register on that list. Like Elizabeth City in NC.
 
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TC Nole OX

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Tampa has one good BBQ place, First Choice in Brandon.. It's good but doesn't hold a candle to places in Lexington, Lockhart/Luling, Memphis or Kansas City. Beyond that, I don't know of any good BBQ places in the state. Tom Jenkin's near the Ft Lauderdale airport was very good when I used to go there 20 years ago. I have no idea if it is still good.
 
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runkpanole

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Tampa has one good BBQ place. It's good but doesn't hold a candle to places in Lexington, Lockhart/Luling, Memphis or Kansas City. Beyond that, I don't know of any good BBQ places in the state. Tom Jenkin's near the Ft Lauderdale airport was very good when I used to go there 20 years ago. I have no idea if it is still good.
Perhaps I did the wrong spots in Memphis, but I was really underwhelmed. I may stay in Memphis in November and go to the Ole Miss/Alabama game. Will have to try some new spots.
 

ping72

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I abhor bbq swimming in sauce. Barf.

If a place does this I won’t order. I assume it’s really sh!tty BBQ that they have to mask.

If the meat is done really well I don’t use any sauce... it doesn’t need it; in fact it detracts from great meat.

Sauce is a crutch for poor/mediocre pit masters.
 
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Bro D

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I'll take Texas over KC, Memphis and Carolina but love em all.

St Louis? Somebody said that about their pizza once and that shit makes QC pizza look good. Pass
 

FSUTribe76

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I'll take Texas over KC, Memphis and Carolina but love em all.

St Louis? Somebody said that about their pizza once and that shit makes QC pizza look good. Pass

St Louis style pizza is just about the only style I don’t like. Other than St Louis style, the only other styles I can remember hating are Old Forge, Ohio Valley, Punxsutawney, Pittsburg Cold Cheese and Long Island Cold Cheese styles.

It’s not just the terrible Provel cheese which in and of itself would make any pizza inedible but the sauce is a sickeningly sweet style that reminds you of school lunch pizza but in the worst possible way. The Punxsutawney style is essentially St Louis style but with actual mozzarella instead of Provel and it’s STILL revolting because of that super sweet tomato sauce. The only redeeming value of St Louis style is that the crust is a thin ”Cracker-crust“ like a lavash or Pizza Hut thin crust. But even if it was the greatest crust, having horrendous sauce and terrible cheese ruins it.
 

FSUTribe76

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Perhaps I did the wrong spots in Memphis, but I was really underwhelmed. I may stay in Memphis in November and go to the Ole Miss/Alabama game. Will have to try some new spots.

My favorites in Memphis are:

1) Charlie Vergos Rendezvous for the lamb ribs. The pork ribs are good and should be tried because they are literally the originator of the Memphis Style of BBQ, but I absolutely love the lamb ribs. Lamb and Goat ribs are the 5 star bbq missing from most places, they are better than beef or pork ribs.

2) Germantown Commissary for the dry Rub ribs and pulled pork. It’s the perfect example of the style with a sweet and smokey but not too sweet tangy and thick sauce to add to the meat. If you want the perfect definition of Memphis style, it’s the Germantown Commissary.

3) Cozy Corner for the Cornish game hens and to a lesser extent pork ribs. The real star here is the game hens which isn’t necessarily a Memphis thing so much as it’s a Cozy Corner specialty. The ribs are solid but not as good as the first two.

4) Leonard’s Pit BBQ is a 100 years old and is buffet style. They serve the ribs both dry rub and heavily sauced St Louis style, plus has a good version of the Memphis BBQ Spaghetti, great fried catfish and plenty of other foods. The pork ribs here are I’d rank only 5th through 10th but that’s still some amazingly good ribs because 5-10th in Memphis is probably still top 50 worldwide.

5) Corky’s is famous for ribs but I was underwhelmed both times I’ve been there (only once in Memphis, the other was in Gatlinburg). The star for me was the bbq spaghetti.

6) Central BBQs pork ribs and pulled pork are probably the second best “all around” after the Germantown Commissary.

7) One and Only BBQ for the pork ribs as they’re pretty solid. Id say top 3-5 And they have multiple locations last time I checked.

Bonus: Do NOT Miss Abe’s BBQ in the Mississippi Delta. It’s a decently far drive from Memphis to the Blues Crossroads where many a musician has sold their soul to the devil. It’s not the bbq which is amazing but the chili. That stuff is absolute Magic and it doesnt matter if it’s slathered over Delta tamales, hot dogs, cheeseburgers, etc…. Hands down one of my favorite places to visit in the greater area along with the fried burgers and fried Bologna sandwiches at Dyer’s.
 
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GOHOX69

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If a place does this I won’t order. I assume it’s really sh!tty BBQ that they have to mask.

If the meat is done really well I don’t use any sauce... it doesn’t need it; in fact it detracts from great meat.

Sauce is a crutch for poor/mediocre pit masters.
You have hit the nail on the head.
 
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St. Louis Hawk

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I'll take Texas over KC, Memphis and Carolina but love em all.

St Louis? Somebody said that about their pizza once and that shit makes QC pizza look good. Pass

Trust me on this. St. Louis BBQ = top notch.

St. Louis Pizza = worst pizza on the planet.

First time I got into town, friends took me to Imo's for St. Louis style. When it came to the table, I thought it was a joke - it's Elmer's glue on a saltine.
 
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gojojo

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I've never been to Memphis or Houston, and I can't say I've ever tried BBQ when I've been to Vegas, but I have a hard time believing good ol' DM serves up better bbq. I sure hope we do but the Q at D's and Jethros is just average compared to the quality at Joe's KC and Gates.
 

ghost80

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My favorites in Memphis are:

1) Charlie Vergos Rendezvous for the lamb ribs. The pork ribs are good and should be tried because they are literally the originator of the Memphis Style of BBQ, but I absolutely love the lamb ribs. Lamb and Goat ribs are the 5 star bbq missing from most places, they are better than beef or pork ribs.

2) Germantown Commissary for the dry Rub ribs and pulled pork. It’s the perfect example of the style with a sweet and smokey but not too sweet tangy and thick sauce to add to the meat. If you want the perfect definition of Memphis style, it’s the Germantown Commissary.

3) Cozy Corner for the Cornish game hens and to a lesser extent pork ribs. The real star here is the game hens which isn’t necessarily a Memphis thing so much as it’s a Cozy Corner specialty. The ribs are solid but not as good as the first two.

4) Leonard’s Pit BBQ is a 100 years old and is buffet style. They serve the ribs both dry rub and heavily sauced St Louis style, plus has a good version of the Memphis BBQ Spaghetti, great fried catfish and plenty of other foods. The pork ribs here are I’d rank only 5th through 10th but that’s still some amazingly good ribs because 5-10th in Memphis is probably still top 50 worldwide.

5) Corky’s is famous for ribs but I was underwhelmed both times I’ve been there (only once in Memphis, the other was in Gatlinburg). The star for me was the bbq spaghetti.

6) Central BBQs pork ribs and pulled pork are probably the second best “all around” after the Germantown Commissary.

7) One and Only BBQ for the pork ribs as they’re pretty solid. Id say top 3-5 And they have multiple locations last time I checked.

Bonus: Do NOT Miss Abe’s BBQ in the Mississippi Delta. It’s a decently far drive from Memphis to the Blues Crossroads where many a musician has sold their soul to the devil. It’s not the bbq which is amazing but the chili. That stuff is absolute Magic and it doesnt matter if it’s slathered over Delta tamales, hot dogs, cheeseburgers, etc…. Hands down one of my favorite places to visit in the greater area along with the fried burgers and fried Bologna sandwiches.
1) Is a place that truly lives up to its worldwide reputation both in the food and atmosphere. It would be my favorite BBQ on the planet.
 

runkpanole

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My favorites in Memphis are:

1) Charlie Vergos Rendezvous for the lamb ribs. The pork ribs are good and should be tried because they are literally the originator of the Memphis Style of BBQ, but I absolutely love the lamb ribs. Lamb and Goat ribs are the 5 star bbq missing from most places, they are better than beef or pork ribs.

2) Germantown Commissary for the dry Rub ribs and pulled pork. It’s the perfect example of the style with a sweet and smokey but not too sweet tangy and thick sauce to add to the meat. If you want the perfect definition of Memphis style, it’s the Germantown Commissary.

3) Cozy Corner for the Cornish game hens and to a lesser extent pork ribs. The real star here is the game hens which isn’t necessarily a Memphis thing so much as it’s a Cozy Corner specialty. The ribs are solid but not as good as the first two.

4) Leonard’s Pit BBQ is a 100 years old and is buffet style. They serve the ribs both dry rub and heavily sauced St Louis style, plus has a good version of the Memphis BBQ Spaghetti, great fried catfish and plenty of other foods. The pork ribs here are I’d rank only 5th through 10th but that’s still some amazingly good ribs because 5-10th in Memphis is probably still top 50 worldwide.

5) Corky’s is famous for ribs but I was underwhelmed both times I’ve been there (only once in Memphis, the other was in Gatlinburg). The star for me was the bbq spaghetti.

6) Central BBQs pork ribs and pulled pork are probably the second best “all around” after the Germantown Commissary.

7) One and Only BBQ for the pork ribs as they’re pretty solid. Id say top 3-5 And they have multiple locations last time I checked.

Bonus: Do NOT Miss Abe’s BBQ in the Mississippi Delta. It’s a decently far drive from Memphis to the Blues Crossroads where many a musician has sold their soul to the devil. It’s not the bbq which is amazing but the chili. That stuff is absolute Magic and it doesnt matter if it’s slathered over Delta tamales, hot dogs, cheeseburgers, etc…. Hands down one of my favorite places to visit in the greater area along with the fried burgers and fried Bologna sandwiches.
Leonard’s was ok imho. Central was meh. They were really busy, so that may have contributed. Will try Cozy if I go back.
 
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KupHawk

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St. Louis

Bogarts
Pappy’s
Sugarfire

And none of these places pours BBQ sauce over their food like two of the photos above. That looks like crap. All 3 are Memphis type BBQ with sauce in the side if you want it.

Here are their ribs:


Kansas City

(Oklahoma) Joe’s
Jack Stack
Q39

Haven’t been to Slaps but everyone says it’s great.

Might do Gates, LC’s, and Bryant’s for nostalgia but I think the other 3 are far better.

Slaps
Zarda
Q39
KC Joe's
Gates
Jack Stack
Harp BBQ
Jousting Pigs
Char Bar
Buck Tui

All outstanding in their own ways
 
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rchawk

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Leonard’s was ok imho. Central was meh. They were really busy, so that may have contributed. Will try Cozy if I go back.
I agree with posters above that sauce should be light, the taste of the meat is the star of the show. The sauce may be good but it's just a flavoring.
 

TC Nole OX

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I was in North Carolina for about a week. As I always do, I made the two hour drive from Blowing Rock to Lexington and brought several days worth of bbq back to the house. I forgot to take pictures so this Mark Wiens video will have to do.

I did not know about Stamey's in Greensboro until watching this video. I also learned that Lexington style bbq was invented because they used to throw away the pork shoulders back in the day.


Huge BBQ Meat Smokers!! EXTREME BARBECUE Tour in Lexington, North Carolina!

 
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TC Nole OX

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I've had this book on NC bbq since 2016 and never cooked anything from it. The book has recipes for Lexington slaw, red dip and hush puppies. I am going to cook all of this for the FSU game this weekend.



I bought Kindle versions of these today. The first is an eastern NC bbq cookbook. The second is by a SC bbq legend.