Best New Barbecue Restaurants

The Southern barbecue trend shows no signs of slowing. Here are new spots to get your smoked-meat fix, from a place created by a Chicago BBQ champ to a joint run by two Brooklyn hipsters.
Best Barbecue Restaurants: At Bogart's in St. Louis, Skip Steele browns apricot-glazed ribs with a blowtorch.
At Bogart's in St. Louis, Skip Steele browns apricot-glazed ribs with a blowtorch. Photo © Greg Rannells
Best Barbecue Restaurants: Lillie's Q in Chicago
© Neil Burger

Lillie's Q, Chicago

Chef Charlie McKenna, who has won big on the competitive barbecue circuit, makes five kinds of sauces to go with his meat. His signature dish is baby back ribs rubbed with a secret "Carolina dirt" spice rub.

Best Barbecue Restaurants: Doc Crow's Southern Smokehouse in Louisville
© Jesse Hendrix

Doc Crow's Southern Smokehouse; Louisville, KY

Vietnamese brothers Michael and Steven Ton grew up in Texas and cooked in North Carolina. Now they make great barbecue in Kentucky, like brisket with Texas toast. One local perk: a 100-plus whiskey list.

Best Barbecue Restaurants: Using s blowtorch for bbq at Bogart's in St. Louis
© Greg Rannells

Bogart's Smokehouse, St. Louis

St. Louis's reputation as a barbecue destination just got better. Skip Steele worked at local institution Pappy's Smokehouse before opening his own place in February. He cooks his pork ribs in an Old Hickory wood smoker, then coats them with an apricot glaze and blasts them with a blowtorch that sounds like a plane taking off. His baked beans are terrific; they cook in the smoker underneath the brisket to absorb the drippings.

Insider's Tip: Besides barbecue standards like ribs and brisket, Bogart's also offers less traditional smoked specialties: juicy pastrami and crispy pork skins.


Best Barbecue Restaurants: Mable's Smokehouse and Banquet Hall in Brooklyn
© Andrew Zimmer

Mable's Smokehouse and Banquet Hall; Brooklyn, NY

Meghan Love and her husband, Jeff Lutonsky, have renovated this Greenpoint warehouse, installing a wood smoker and decorating with mismatched chairs at long tables. Love, who used to shake cocktails in fancy NYC restaurants, keeps the drinks list simple, while Lutonsky makes sauces based on his grandmother Mable's recipes and gets hot links from Schwab's in his home state of Oklahoma.

Best Barbecue Restaurants: Hill Country in Washington, DC
© Sylva Lin

Hill Country; Washington, DC

At the original Hill Country in Manhattan, chef Elizabeth Karmel serves her gargantuan, messy beef ribs on butcher paper with sides like creamy green bean casserole. Now, Hill Country has expanded to DC (owner Marc Glosserman is from there). The menu is basically identical but with more desserts, including monthly changing cakes like five-layer red velvet cake.

Sneaky's, San Francisco

Until recently, the only way to get almond-wood-smoked kurobuta pork belly from Sneaky's was by delivery. Now Sneaky's has a permanent home at Hayes Valley's Rebel bar; that superrich pork belly and Carolina-style pulled pork are served nightly until 10 p.m.

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PUBLISHED June 2011

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