Discover the Top Barbecue Spots in 2024 Which Serves Delicious Food


Every year, Southern Living’s readers are invited to vote for their favorite barbecue restaurant in each state of the South. On this occasion, it appears that they are embracing a more conventional mindset. A multitude of recently established barbecue establishments have emerged throughout the Southern region in recent times, with the 2024 selections favoring traditional and well-established options.

Interestingly, a significant number of this year’s winners are noticeably more mature than the restaurants they replaced from last year’s poll. According to my calculations, the 15 institutions featured on the 2024 list have collectively provided over 500 years of exceptional Southern barbecue to satisfy the appetites of diners.

Alabama: Big Bob Gibson’s

Big Bob Gibson’s is renowned for its mouthwatering pork, ribs, and chicken, all prepared on traditional wood-fired brick pits. It’s no wonder that loyal customers keep coming back for these delectable dishes. The chicken is coated in the renowned Alabama white sauce, a mayo-based creation that was originally invented by Big Bob around a century ago.

Arkansas: Wright’s Barbecue

In 2017, the initial Wright’s Barbecue establishment made its debut in Fayetteville, and ever since, owner and pitmaster Jordan Wright has been making remarkable progress. He has expanded to include locations in Bentonville, Rogers, and most recently in the capital city of Little Rock.

The offering is a classic Texas-style feast, featuring platters of thick-sliced brisket, spareribs, and sausage, accompanied by delicious sides like gooey shells-and-cheese and pit-smoked beans.

Florida: Big John’s Alabama BBQ

Big John’s has recently made it onto the South’s Best list, but it has been a well-established presence in the Tampa Bay area for quite some time. In 1968, the late Rev. John A. Stephens arrived in East Tampa from Eufaula, Alabama and established Big John’s. The restaurant is currently managed by Stephens’s grandchildren.

Despite relocating to a new building in 2010, they continue to serve delicious chicken, sausage, and ribs cooked on an Alabama-style open pit with a large brick chimney.

Georgia: Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q

Fox Bros. has become a beloved barbecue institution in Atlanta, blending the flavors of Texas and Georgia. In 2007, twin brothers Justin and Jonathan Fox brought the flavors of their native state to the city, captivating Atlantans with their slow-smoked brisket and jalapeño cheddar hot links.

There are now four locations spread throughout the city, but the Dekalb Street location is known for offering a wide variety of unique barbecue combinations. Some highlights include “chicken fried” ribs with white BBQ sauce and “Tomminator” tater tots covered in Brunswick stew.

Kentucky: Moonlite Bar-B-Que Inn

Once again, Moonlite Bar-B-Que Inn has been recognized by our readers as the top choice for barbecue in Kentucky. It is truly a quintessential representation of the state’s renowned barbecue tradition. Indulge in a mouthwatering selection of hickory-smoked mutton, beef, and chicken, all expertly dressed in a tangy orange sauce or a thin Worcestershire-laced “dip”.

Accompany your meal with a delightful serving of Kentucky’s classic barbecue stew, the splendidly peppery burgoo. Guests are free to indulge themselves, as the restaurant offers two generous buffets that allow for unlimited servings.

Louisiana: The Joint

Located two miles downriver from Bourbon Street in the vibrant Bywater neighborhood, The Joint is a place that is always buzzing with activity. Brisket, ribs, pork, and sausage are presented on paper-lined platters or heaped onto freshly-baked Gendusa French bread buns. They also offer a variety of rotating specials, such as chopped brisket cheesesteaks and pork or brisket tacos on their own homemade flour tortillas. You can find it all in a vibrant building with funky brown and yellow stripes, located at the intersection of Mazant and Royal Streets.

Maryland: Smokehouse BBQ Shack

Established in 2018, Smokehouse BBQ Shack stands out as the newest addition to this year’s lineup, and it truly embodies its name. A charming white-walled establishment sits gracefully next to Three Notch Road, just a short distance from Mechanicsville. The menu boasts a delectable array of wood-smoked delights, featuring succulent spareribs, tender baby backs, as well as mouthwatering pork, chicken, and brisket options.

One standout item is the sliced pit beef, a unique addition to the American barbecue scene that Maryland is known for. The Shack takes a unique approach to cooking pit beef, opting to roast top round slowly over hickory wood for a rich, smoky flavor. The thinly sliced beef is then piled onto a fluffy bun, resulting in a truly delicious sandwich.


Oklahoma: Oklahoma Joe’s Bar-B-Cue

What defines Oklahoma-style barbecue? Simply visit any Oklahoma location Discover Joe’s various locations, with three conveniently situated in and around Tulsa and an additional two up north in Nebraska. The main highlight of the menu is the mouthwatering pork ribs, accompanied by the delicious flavors of brisket and burnt ends, reminiscent of the renowned barbecue styles of Texas and Kansas City.

They are accompanied by some Oklahoma specialties such as BBQ bologna, hot links, and the restaurant’s famous “BarbeQulossal” sandwiches. These sandwiches are filled with brisket, chicken, or burnt ends, along with onion rings and smoked provolone, all inside a Kaiser roll.

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