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Searching for the best BBQ

Now in the middle of the summer barbeque season. I’m still searching for great barbeque in South Florida – without much success. To be fair, SoFla isn’t a BBQ wasteland, but none of its Q joints come close to these five of my all-time favorites.

Note the list is in alphabetical order because it’s just darn to close determine a true No. 1.

Arthur Bryant’s BBQ, Kansas City
Celebs, politicians, foodie and locals have been flocking to the original Bryant’s location on Brooklyn Ave. for more than 105 years.

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Like most classic BBQ joint, Bryant’s isn’t fancy but you’re there for the scenery. Bryant’s smoked beef brisket sandwich – piled high on what bread – and burnt ends, each are must-haves. The ribs are among the best in KC, which is saying something. Bryant’s sauce can be an acquired taste for first-timers, but it’s a perfect complement to some of the country’s best Q. www.arthurbryansbbq.com

Bryan’s Black Mountain BBQ, Cave Creek, Ariz.
Located 40 minutes north of Phoenix, Bryan’s fits right in with the Wild West culture of Cave Creek. Chef/owner Bryan Dooley is one of the barbeque scene’s most adventurous cooks. I once had fried Rocky Mountain oysters and duck tongue at Bryan’s. But for those less ambitious, the brisket is terrific and the Six-Pack Cowboy beans and olive coleslaw are excellent sides. The Black-Eye Brisket Chili makes a great starter – or a meal by itself. www.bryansbarbecue.com.

Dreamland BBQ, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Legendary restaurant serves the best ribs in the Southeastern Conference. They go great with the mustard potato salad and sweet tea. Great sauce, too. Customers often refer to the white bread as their “napkins.’’ One visit and you’ll know why. www.dreamlandbbq.com.
Sidenote: To learn more about barbeque in Alabama, read Annette Thompson’s book: Alabama Barbecue (Alabama Media Group).

Franklin Barbecue, Austin, Texas

Yes, the lines are long – sometimes up to five hours – but the Q is worth it. Franklin’s menu is just basic BBQ – brisket, pork, ribs, turkey and sausage – but the flavors are almost mythic. A bit of advice: Franklin is open only for lunch, so get there as early as possible. The restaurant is said to have sold out of meat every day since 2009. www.franklinbbq.com

Salt Lick, Driftwood, Texas

Lots of meat and sausage smoked on an open pit fire. It doesn’t get any better than the Salt Lick. For those who can’t decide, try Thurman’s Choice – a plate full of brisket, pork ribs and sausage. Don’t forget the unbelievable burnt ends. Salt Lick also has a location on Rosewood, Texas, as well as airport locations in Austin, Dallas and Oklahoma City. www.saltlickbbq.com.

 

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