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  1. Default Advice Needed: Planning a BBQ Roadtrip

    We're from California, and for all the good things about it, there are no good places to get BBQ. So I hatched my idea to a BBQ road trip. And without instigating an all out war about what parts of the US to get the best BBQ, I would really appreciate some help planning a roadtrip that allows ample time to take in local sights and famous landmarks.

    I was thinking 10-ish days in November... My original map had us going: Houston, New Orleans, Mobile, Montgomery, Atlanta, Greenville, Charlotte, Chapel Hill, Asheville, Knoxville, Nashville, St. Louis, Kansas City, but that seems like WAY too many cities to do in anything less than 2 weeks. I really only had us starting in Houston so that we could get some Texas BBQ in, but it seems easy enough just to start in the Carolinas or maybe hit different cities like Memphis or Birmingham.

    Thanks in advance for any advice as to good routes and timing in this part of the country, or any sample itineraries you can point me to.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO



    There really is no "best" part of the country for BBQ - different regions have different "styles". You are also going to find restaurants that claim to have a certain "style" all over the country.

    We normally don't make specific restaurant recommendations here, because places frequently change and/or change hands, so what was "good" before may be "bad" or nonexistent now. "Good" and "bad" are also subjective. However, I will tell you some BBQ joints I've personally eaten at and have liked just to add to your database.

    Eureka MO (St. Louis suburb) - Super Smokers. They also have one in St. Charles MO. Award winning, but supposedly their pitmaster has moved on. Excellent pulled pork.
    Joplin MO - Woody's. In the back of a gas station/C-store. Excellent brisket and ribs.
    Nevada MO - Buzz's. 2 of them, across the street from each other, I've eaten in the larger of the 2.
    Durango CO - Serious Texas BBQ. 2 in Durango, one in Loveland. I ate at the one in Durango across the street from the Super 8.
    Algonquin IL (suburb of Chicago) - Texas BBQ.
    Nashville TN - Jack's. Downtown on Broadway.
    Elizabethton TN - Ridgewood. Killer beans. Hard to find, out in the middle of nowhere.

    Chains - not really worth a road trip in my opinion, but there's Famous Dave's (you have those in CA, decent), Rib Crib (lower midwest, spotty, the one here in Joplin isn't very good), and Sonny's Real Pit (southeast, so-so).

    Kansas City is noted for their BBQ, but I haven't had a chance to sample any of it yet!

    You are right - what you are looking at is way too much to try to do in 2 weeks. Depending on where in CA you are, it's going to take you 3 to 4 days just to GET to Houston.

  3. Default Advice Needed: Planning a BBQ Roadtrip - Clarification

    Wow! Thanks for the quick response! The foodie tips are always appreciated, but I guess I should clarify a few things.

    First, my plan is to fly in to wherever and rent a car. Like you said, it would take days just to get to that part of the country from CA (and we're in the San Francisco area, so it's 4 hours just to get out of CA).

    More importantly, what's I'm really struggling with is the roadtrip planning. Having never done a real roadtrip before (I'm generally a flyer), I have no idea what's realistic in terms of the amount of driving vs seeing stuff. We're young so driving late at night isn't a huge deal, although even if hotel reservations aren't made in advance, we're going to want a place to wash up every day.

    I guess what I'm hoping for is some advice like: "Realistically, you could easily do SC, NC, TN, MO" or "A smaller loop counter clockwise from Memphis" with additional details from roadtrippers who have spent some time in that part of the country (or live there).


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default RoadTripping style?

    Quote Originally Posted by traciemarie View Post
    I guess what I'm hoping for is some advice like: "Realistically, you could easily do SC, NC, TN, MO" or "A smaller loop counter clockwise from Memphis" with additional details from roadtrippers who have spent some time in that part of the country (or live there).
    Problem with what you are asking for is so variable. Saying 'you could easily do....' depends so much on your style of travelling. What you could 'do' in a day, I might take a week 'to do'. And since you have not been on a roadtrip before, you are yet to establish your style of travelling. I would research all the areas where you plan to go, and then see how much you can comfortably and enjoyably cover.

    And I'd definitely think twice about driving after dark. It can get you into trouble in more ways than one... wildlife on the road being not the least of them.

    And there's no fun in driving at night.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I'd recommend that you not drive at night - you can't SEE anything. I'd plan on arriving in a city around dinnertime, find a hotel, and go out to eat. A realistic amount of driving to do in one day would be about 500 miles, that would assume Interstate highways and minimal stops.

    A realistic loop could possibly be Memphis, Nashville, Atlanta, New Orleans, Houston, Dallas, KC, and St. Louis - or at least SOME of them. None of those cities in that order are more than 1 day's drive from each other - Dallas to KC and Atlanta to NO are both a full day. I'd fly into wherever you can get the best airfares and car rental rates.

  6. Default

    Thanks everyone for the responses. After considering it, I think rushing from city to city is not for us, as we haven't seen much of that part of the country and really want to spend enough time in places to get a little local flavor. I'm now thinking three cities max if we're trying to do it in 10ish days. Time to pull up a fresh map and get to thinking!

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