May is National BBQ Month—a time to salute and celebrate delicious barbeque!
The epicenter of BBQ is moving. It used to be, if you wanted “real barbeque,” you’d have to travel to Texas, Kansas City, the Carolinas or Memphis. Relative newcomers from Ohio, New York, California, Arizona, and others are bringing championship-
In 2014, Yelp listed the top 100 restaurants in the country. According to Yelp reviewers, the top-rated restaurant in the country, of any type, was Copper Top BBQ in Big Pine, California; Little Miss BBQ in Phoenix, Arizona, ranked No. 10; and longtime-favorite Joe’s Kansas City Bar-Be-Que in Kansas City, Mississippi, registered at No. 25.
Americans are fascinated with the tender smoky goodness one can experience with a well-smoked chuck of meat. Like the craft beer movement, amateurs and pros alike have been honing their skills across the country to deliver the perfect rack of ribs and tasty meats.
“Every region has their specialty,” said Brian Hipsher, VP of Marketing for City Barbeque. “We go on gut-busting R&D trips to learn from the best of a certain style, then we apply our own creative ideas.”
What happens when a Midwest BBQ joint opens up in North Carolina? Well, so far, it’s been lines out the door and rave reviews by locals and visitors alike. One Yelper, Greg. O., sums up the sentiment well, “I’m not a huge fan of Ohio, but glad they brought us this gem. The smell as you pull up and get out of the car was almost enough to know this place would be good. Now I just got to get back there since it’s about time for my fix and I’m not in Texas.”
Increased interest in BBQ has also inspired a good amount of creativity in menu design.
“What is great about BBQ is that it really is America’s food,” Hipsher said. “And Americans love to innovate. There will be those who see these new creative approaches as blasphemous. But the fact is, any of those who are considered the best have done something different than the other guy down the street—it is what moves us all forward. Barbeque has become a competitive sport!”
City Barbeque recently introduced a sandwich called “More Cowbell.” This sandwich piles hickory smoked brisket layered with sautéed onions, green peppers, crunchy fried onions, melted and smoked provolone cheese, along with a light glaze of horseradish sauce between two slices of Texas toast. There is a reason folks have a fever for More Cowbell.
Not only are new purveyors of ‘que churning out top-notch smoked meats, they are adding culinary flair to traditional sides with menu items like Mighty Quinn’s roasted beet salad with fennel, mint and orange vinaigrette.
Get ready for a new wave of creative culinary treats in a town near you, and happy National Barbeque Month!
With joints located in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and most recently in North Carolina, City Barbeque has been a case study in the growth and popularity of barbeque. They have quietly grown to become one of the most respected guilds of ‘que in the field. With 25 joints and growing by 4-5 more per year, winning “best of” awards in every city they operate in, and often being singled out in national publications, City Barbeque has been turning heads.
“We started as a competition barbeque team, winning Grand Champion for our brisket at the American Royal Invitational back in 1997,” said Rick Mailer, President and Founder of City Barbeque. “This gave us the courage to open a pit in Columbus, Ohio.” The city loved their first taste of “real barbeque” and, as a result, more City Barbeque joints have opened across the Midwest—even extending into North Carolina.