There’s a new list of ‘Best Barbecue Cities,’ and Kansas City doesn’t make the top 30

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Walk outside anywhere in the Kansas City metro and there’s likely a barbecue restaurant in the area. Kansas City-style barbecue is smoked into the city’s DNA.

But, the latest list ranking the best BBQ cities in America doesn’t include Kansas City, or Memphis in its Top 20. It’s also doesn’t include the cities in Texas you’d think of as barbecue powerhouses.

In fact, the new list from Chef’s Pencil doesn’t even list Kansas City in the top 30 barbecue cities in the country.

The site looked at the 75 largest cities in the U.S. and based the list solely on TripAdvisor reviews and ratings. The authors analyzed more than 2,000 restaurants and bars in all 50 states. Each restaurant had barbecue listed on the menu, and had at least five reviews. Chef’s Pencil also tossed out any city with fewer than 10 barbecue restaurants.

After this article was published, TripAdvisor contacted us. In a statement, the travel site said, “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 and states against each other.”

Fair warning, this list will turn what you think you know about barbecue on your head!

Here are the Top 20 rankings according to Chef’s Pencil:

Kansas City is finally mentioned at number 39, one spot behind Dallas. Houston ranks 56th and is called out as one of the worst cities in America to eat barbecue.

Kansas City’s famous barbecue restaurants also aren’t mentioned among the highest rated in the country, according to TripAdvisor reviews.

Those bragging rights go to:

  1. Blue Door Smokehouse in Lexington, Kentucky
  2. Konan’s BBQ in Tampa, Florida
  3. Niwa Japanese BBQ in Dallas, Texas

Chef’s Pencil describes itself as an international foodie magazine launched in 2009 by a Dutch chef based in Sydney, Australia.

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