Midwest Urban Barbecue


When barbecue migrated up the Mississippi from its homes in the Deep South and in Texas, it took on a new personality — similar to what happened to the blues when they came north. As the blues went electric in St. Louis and Chicago, so barbecue got electrified by sauce. Sauce is a major player in all the great barbecue parlors of Midwestern cities. Here is our choice of one superb barbecue parlor in each of six smoke-pit havens.



Snead's is a wood-paneled BBQ at the outskirts of Kansas City that makes superb meats of all kind: sliced pork, beef brisket, ribs, zesty burnt ends.

Must Eats

Speed Queen

Speed Queen is Milwaukee’s best barbecue, serving pork, beef, and turkey cooked until ridiculously tender and served in a glaze of spicy sauce.

Must Eats

Private: Smoque

Smoque's devoted clientele come to eat scrupulously created replicas of barbecue from around the United States: St. Louis ribs, Chicago baby backs, Texas sausage, southern-style pulled pork, and even, on occasion, smoked salmon.

Must Eats
Cole Slaw , St. Louis Ribs Full Slab w/slaw & 2 sides , Fresh Cut Fries , Chopped Brisket, Pulled Pork, Brisket Chili, Texas Sausage , Smoked Sausage

C&K Barbecue

A humble, take-out-only BBQ, C&K smoke-cooks the best versions of St. Louis ribs, pork steaks, chicken, and hot links, plus pig ears and snoots.


Slows BBQ

A full-menu BBQ parlor in the heart of Detroit, Slow's signature is the Triple Threat: applewood smoked bacon, pulled pork, and ham stacked high and mighty.