The High Five is a series that explores the five favorite things in a certain category. The following are Jess of Curating Style’s five favorite barbecue restaurants. You can view my High Five post on her blog. If you’d like to participate in future posts, please send me an e-mail.
I thought I knew what barbecue was—until I met my boyfriend, a native Southerner with a passion for all things pig. Growing up in upstate New York, you taste a lot of different types of BBQ, but there’s not a strong identity. Now that I’ve moved away and traveled through BBQ territory, I’m happy to share some of my favorites—Midwestern and Southern—for excellent BBQ.
Ray Ray’s Hog Pit BBQ. Without a doubt, the best place for ‘cue in central Ohio is Ray Ray’s. Open Friday through Sunday, they regularly sell out and close up shop until the next day. Order a slab of ribs and a chopped pork sandwich to share and enjoy alongside the best greens north of the Mason-Dixon. The mac-n-cheese and cole slaw are also notable. (Stopping by on Sunday? Get the grass-fed brisket with Dogfish Head ale sauce. And if you happen to see that Ray Ray’s has burnt ends available, hop in your car quick.)
Hill’s Lexington BBQ. On one of my first trips to North Carolina, we stopped through Winston-Salem for BBQ. If you want fast, delicious, and authentic Lexington-style BBQ, this is your place; the menu is simple and straightforward, the service quick and friendly. The pork plate with chopped vinegar-based slaw and a side of hush puppies is a go-to, and I usually do a glass of sweet tea to wash it all down.
City Barbecue. With locations around Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky, City BBQ is a consistent purveyor of BBQ in the Midwest. Beyond the basics, they also offer chicken and turkey for some lighter fare. Try their baked beans with brisket—yes, the brisket is in the baked beans!—and their Carolina-style pulled pork.
Sticky Lips BBQ. I would be amiss if I didn’t mention my hometown—Rochester, New York—for its local joint. With delicious ribs and an array of sauces, you’ll find that Sticky Lips is very Yankee with its mesh of several BBQ styles. (For example, you’d never find Memphis- or St. Louis-style BBQ at Hill’s!) Their brisket is also quite good. My advice? If you’re in town, go to the original location on Culver Road.
Willard’s Hash & BBQ. Driving from Raleigh to Atlanta, we stopped in Gaffney, South Carolina for some BBQ. Not quite central to the mustard-style sauce that the state is well known for, we figured we’d try out this small town’s take on hash. This walk-up is a local favorite with a long history, and on its walls you can see decades of photos. Stop by and try out a plate of their BBQ with mustard sauce (it’s pretty good) and try their hush puppies, which are more corn-crusted.
View more High Five posts