America’s Best Cities for Barbecue

Char Bar
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Aaron Leimkuehler

Sauce or no sauce? Burnt ends or whole pig? Travel + Leisure readers offered meaty results in the search for the nation’s best barbecue. 

No. 1 Kansas City

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Whether it was for the sweet, tomato-y sauce, the rich history in meat-packing or those densely flavorful scraps—the burnt  ends—this Midwestern city took the gold medal this year. To understand its basics, start at legends Arthur Bryant’s or Gates Bar-B-Q, which date back to the 1920s and ’40s, respectively. Then, branch out to the newbies, like Q39—led by national barbecue champion team Rob Magee—or Char Bar, which complements its burnt ends and pulled pork butt with lobster deviled eggs and a vegetarian-friendly, smoked jackfruit. Char Bar has also has added a huge beer garden with bocce ball, croquet, and local beer—like beloved Boulevard Brewing—a reminder why KC also won the silver medal for its craft beer scene. 

Char Bar

America’s Best Cities for Barbecue

No. 1 Kansas City

Whether it was for the sweet, tomato-y sauce, the rich history in meat-packing or those densely flavorful scraps—the burnt  ends—this Midwestern city took the gold medal this year. To understand its basics, start at legends Arthur Bryant’s or Gates Bar-B-Q, which date back to the 1920s and ’40s, respectively. Then, branch out to the newbies, like Q39—led by national barbecue champion team Rob Magee—or Char Bar, which complements its burnt ends and pulled pork butt with lobster deviled eggs and a vegetarian-friendly, smoked jackfruit. Char Bar has also has added a huge beer garden with bocce ball, croquet, and local beer—like beloved Boulevard Brewing—a reminder why KC also won the silver medal for its craft beer scene. 

Aaron Leimkuehler
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