Here in North Carolina, we are proud of our BBQ. And for good reason. We may be biased but there is a pretty good argument to be made that we serve some of the best smoked meat in the country. If you’ve lived here for any length of time you most likely have strong feelings about BBQ and a list of your favorite spots. Perhaps you even have some recipes of your own. And while we know here in North Carolina and even the South in general, we do BBQ well, it’s always nice to have your ego stroked a little bit. So when I clicked on this list of the top States for BBQ I figured that’s what I was getting.

The list was compiled by Empire Stakes who ranked each US state based on the best places to host BBQ. And quite honestly I think North Carolina was disrespected. There are other southern states you could maybe make an argument about. But getting beat out by New York and New Jersey. Absolutely not, I refuse to accept these rankings as valid. And I get it, I don’t think they are imagining the same thing when creating this list as I was when reading it. They can’t be. But regardless, North Carolina BBQ just barely missed out on the top 5 of these rankings. See the top 10 below:

  1. Texas
  2. California
  3. New York
  4. Florida
  5. New Jersey
  6. North Carolina
  7. Virginia
  8. Georgia
  9. Mississippi
  10. Oklahoma

So how on earth were these rankings compiled? Empire Stakes considered the following metrics: BBQ searches, Government Survey, BBQ Index, BBQ Food Index, and BBQ restaurants per capita. You can read the full study and more about the methodology here. Sorry NYC an NJ I think I’ll stick North Carolina BBQ, and I suggest you do the same.

What Are the Most Popular Barbecue Restaurants In North Carolina?

If there is one thing you can say about North Carolinians it’s that we LOVE our BBQ. There are different styles, different meats of choice, and different sauces. But we do it all well. And no the term barbecue should never refer to the outdoor cooking of hamburgers and hotdogs- that’s a cookout for your northerners. There are so many incredible barbeque restaurants in North Carolina, it’s hard to say what the best is. And that’s honestly a personal preference. Your choice may be different than mine which may be different from your coworker’s. But while we can’t objectively tell you the best barbecue restaurants in North Carolina, we can tell you the most popular.

Did you know that May is National BBQ Month? It is and in celebration, our friends at BetCarolina used Google Trends to determine the most popular barbecue restaurants in North Carolina. The data used in this analysis is from May 1, 2022-September 6, 2022. And there is a dominant winner that’s right here in the Queen City. It’s one that many celebrities choose to dine at when visiting Charlotte. And funny enough, when we told you about the best Charlotte BBQ Restaurants (per TripAdvisor) last year, it was also the winner. So even with different methods, it’s still coming out on top.

Keep reading to see which that is, you’ll also find the best Charlotte BBQ Restaurants list at the end of this one. You can read BetCarolina’s full study and analysis here.

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