America’s best ‘BBQ cities’ revealed in new ranking


The study ranked a total of 199 American cities based on three sets of criteria and 14 total metrics. (Getty Image)


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(NEXSTAR) – A new ranking of the best “BBQ cities” in America has determined the country’s premiere destinations for quality ‘cue.

The study, conducted by LawnStarter, an Austin-based lawn-care “concierge” service, ranked a total of 199 American cities based on three sets of criteria, including access to barbecue, the quality of local barbecue, and the prevalence of barbecue-based events and festivals. Points were awarded to each metro area based on 14 weighted metrics, for a maximum total of 100 points.

The top-ranked city, by a wide margin, was determined to be Kansas City, earning a total of 60.14 points for its highly rated barbecue and the number of awards and contest winners that hail from the area. Oddly, however, Kansas City ranked 108th in access to barbecue restaurants, but it was ultimately “quality over quantity” that sealed the win.

“Sorry, Memphis. Kansas City tops our list of the Best BBQ Cities,” wrote LawnStarter in a June 29 blog post, which also detailed the city’s many World Series of Barbecue winners, as well as a local ice cream parlor that serves a flavor swirled with BBQ caramel sauce and candied burnt ends.

Chicago and Houston finished second and third, with 46.46 points and 37.51 points, respectively.

The top 20 barbecue cities, as determined by LawnStarter, were ranked as follows:

  1. Kansas City, Missouri (60.14 points)
  2. Chicago, Illinois (46.46 points)
  3. Houston, Texas (37.51 points)
  4. Cincinnati, Ohio (35.88 points)
  5. Memphis, Tennessee (34.08 points)
  6. Louisville, Kentucky (31.47 points)
  7. St. Louis, Missouri (29.86 points)
  8. New York, New York (29.22 points)
  9. Minneapolis, Minnesota (28.61 points)
  10. Overland Park, Kansas (27.26 points)
  11. Washington, D.C. (27.07 points)
  12. Richmond, Virginia (26.47 points)
  13. Denver, Colorado (25.33 points)
  14. Los Angeles, California (25.30 points)
  15. Omaha, Nebraska (25.22 points)
  16. Atlanta, Georgia (25.08 points)
  17. Grand Rapids, Michigan (24.64 points)
  18. Austin, Texas (23.04 points)
  19. Elk Grove, California (23.03 points)
  20. Raleigh, North Carolina (22.87 points)

LawnStarter made a special note of the “mouthwatering Midwest” cities for their strong showing, totaling eight out of the top 10 rankings. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t good barbecue elsewhere: Los Angeles was found to have the most “top-rated” restaurants, while Santa Rosa, California, had the “highest median rating” for barbecue spots.

The full list of 199 cities, from best to worst, can be found at

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