Internet Reacts to Map of America's Best Barbecue

In honor of National Barbecue Month, Chef's Pencil—a self-described international foodie magazine—compiled a list of America's best and worst cities for barbecue.

To figure out which cities serve the best and worst barbecue, the publication analyzed Tripadvisor ratings from every barbecue restaurant in the nation's 75 largest cities. The team at Chef's Pencil then ranked each city based on their average ratings.

Based on their analysis, the magazine found that the highest-ranking cities in America for barbecue are as follows:

  1. New Orleans, LA
  2. Oklahoma City, OK
  3. Charlotte, NC; Wichita KS; Virginia Beach, VA (tie)
  4. Columbus, OH
  5. Seattle, WA
  6. St. Louis, MA
  7. Miami, FL; Newark, NJ (tie)

Four cities in Texas — Plano, San Antonio, Houston and Fort Worth — placed in the bottom 10, along with Anchorage, AK; Boston, MA; Aurora, CO; Jacksonville, FL; Philadelphia, PA; and Omaha, NE.

The publication created a map of the results, which showed the top 10 cities and their rankings. It wasn't long before the map was distributed to the masses.

On Thursday, some of the top cities began to trend on Twitter, as many die-hard BBQ fans took to the app to express their shock and outrage with the results.

One Virginia Beach resident had this to say about the city's barbecue: "I have lived in Virginia Beach since 1978 and I have never, ever, heard of my city being associated with having good barbecue. To quote one of my dear mother's favorite things to say, may she rest on peace - that's wholesale horses**t."

"This has genuinely made me mad lol," tweeted a writer in response to the top 10 map. "WHO is saying 'let's go to Seattle for barbecue?' 'I've got a hankering for some 'cue. Let's hit up Newark.' 'You visiting Miami? Make sure you get some barbecue.'"

This has genuinely made me mad lol

WHO is saying “let’s go to Seattle for barbecue?”
“I’ve got a hankering for some ‘cue. Let’s hit up Newark.”
“You visiting Miami? Make sure you get some barbecue.” pic.twitter.com/J8FWuPpFni

— Nichole 🍞🍯 (@tnwhiskeywoman) May 13, 2021

One home chef eloquently summed up the opinion of thousands of commenters: "Throw the whole map away."

Throw the whole map away. https://t.co/AKlFWDZmnT

— Angela (@TheKitchenista) May 13, 2021

Texans were understandably furious with the results.

Asked one incredulous television writer: "Um... they know AUSTIN is part of the United States, right?"

"Absolutely absurd Texas isn't on this list ANYWHERE," said one surprised Texan. "Lost your f****ing minds."

However, one Texan had their own answer as to why Texas BBQ wouldn't place high in Tripadvisor ratings: "Texans give tougher ratings because we have higher standards for barbecue."

That is ratings from Trip Advisor.

Texans give tougher ratings because we have higher standards for barbecue.

— Rob Hotman (@RobHotman) May 13, 2021

Some of those living in Jersey went online to defend Newark.

Said one New Jersey local: "All these clowns coming after Newark don't realize that bbq isn't only smoking meat and drowning it in bbq sauce. Newark is Portuguese/Brazilian bbq headquarters. If you don't know something, don't speak on it."

All these clowns coming after Newark don’t realize that bbq isn’t only smoking meat and drowning it in bbq sauce. Newark is Portuguese/Brazilian bbq headquarters. If you don’t know something, don’t speak on it. https://t.co/ZK1G0u5Luv

— dre. (@driizzyDreee) May 13, 2021

"The Brazilian/Portuguese bbq in Newark is top tier," said another.

Overall, though, people were upset that Neither Memphis nor a single city in Texas—specifically Austin—made the top 10. But Chef's Pencil appears to have a reason for this, and it comes down to the fact that both Austin and Memphis are two cities with the most barbecue joints per capita. So, even though both cities are filled with top-rated barbecue restaurants, there are also a lot of average to low-ranking barbecue joints that bring their average ratings down.

"More choice doesn't always mean better choice, so do your research beforehand," said the publication.

Tripadvisor has clarified that they had nothing to do with controversial study, which they also appear to have some qualms about.

"Tripadvisor has no association with this BBQ study presented by Chef's Pencil. In fact, we have concerns about the use of and presentation of Tripadvisor data within the study, inclusive of how they ranked cities against each other," they said in a statement to Newsweek.

05/14/2021: this story has been updated to include a comment from Tripadvisor.

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