Kevin's BBQ Joints

Kevin's BBQ Joints Blog

Daniel Vaughn – My Favorite BBQ Joints (Outside of Texas) – Volume 16

If there’s a BBQ Joint in Texas that I’m wondering about there’s ONLY one person out there that I know has been there and can give me his honest opinion of it. His name is Daniel Vaughn (aka BBQ Snob) and his website is Full Custom Gospel BBQ. He’s a BBQ Joint visiting machine and if you care about BBQ (and BBQ Joints) you should be following him via twitter, facebook, and of course his blog. Although we haven’t met (we will in August though at the Gettin’ Sauced event) I am happy to call him a friend and honored that he decided to participate in my weekly feature ‘My Favorite BBQ Joints‘. I really appreciate the time and effort he put into each entry below and I know you’ll be putting many (if not all) of these on your BBQ Joint bucket list.

Photo of Daniel courtesy of Texas BBQ Posse

Here is Daniel’s list in his own words(and all photos are from Full Custom Gospel BBQ):

All of my BBQ exploits are well known if you read my blog Full Custom Gospel BBQ, and my favorites in Texas are pretty obvious from the star rating system. I thought I’d share a few of my favorites from around the country outside of Texas. While I feel like an incomplete BBQ aficionado of the US not having done a true Carolina trip or made a visit to Owensboro, Kentucky, my opinions cannot be contained by the Lone Star State lines.

Bob’s Omahoma BBQ – Wooster, Ohio
I’ll start with a joint in my hometown. This wasn’t around when I was growing up, but I was happy to find a real Texas Style BBQ joint on a visit back home. This joint has better brisket than some of the joints I’ve eaten at in Dallas. They also have Zapp’s chips from where I went to school in Louisiana and Head Country BBQ sauce from my wife’s home state of Oklahoma.

Smokin’ Joe’s Rib Ranch & RV Park – Davis, Oklahoma
This joint in a small town smokes up some huge flavors. Not only are the ribs and brisket stellar, other less popular items like thick cut pork tenderloin and spicy smoked chicken wings are done quite well. It’s on the way to the in-laws place in Oklahoma City, so I try to stop whenever I can.

The Original Van’s Pig Stand – Shawnee, Okalahoma
They’ve been serving BBQ out of this building since 1935. You can just feel the age of those bricks when you walk in, and the food is great to boot. Grab a pig sandwich and a Van-ized potato and savor the history.

4 Rivers Smokehouse – Orlando, Florida
This is a joint I’ve just recently visited. Maybe it was the Florida sun or the low expecatations of Texas style BBQ in the Sunshine State, but this place was good. The brisket was admirable and ribs were downright good and smokey.

Honey 1 – Chicago, Illinois
Chicago style BBQ doesn’t get much press as a unique genre or smoked meats, but this place does it well. The aquarium style pit in front lets you know that you’ll be eating smoky meat done over direct wood heat. Rib tips and hot links typify this style and Honey 1 does an exemplary job on both. That sauce is pretty tasty too.

Smoque – Chicago, Illinois
This newer joint is more Texas than Chicago style. While it’s bothersome that they try to sauce the meat, their brisket is incredible as long as you stop that ladle. Both baby backs and St. Louis style ribs are served, and both are excellent. Sides don’t usually impress me much, but they pay special attention to their smoked beans, mac & cheese and crunchy slaw.

LC’s Bar-B-Q – Kansas City, Missouri
KC has plenty to offer in the way of ‘que, but this place stands out. It’s one of the few in the city that values smokey flavors, their sausage is homemade and the ribs are both crispy and tender. Unlike the limp excuses for burnt ends found in other joints, LC’s has true chunks from the blackened fatty ends of the brisket covered in a tangy sauce.

Leonard’s Pit Barbecue – Memphis, Tennessee
Some folks in Memphis use wood and some use charcoal, some use gas-fired rotisserie smokers and others use old fashioned smokers fired only with wood or charcoal. Leonard’s uses a combination of all this. Ribs are smoked in a Southern Pride with wood, then finished over a direct charcoal fire. This gives them a smoky flavor and crispy crust that’s itching for sprinkling of their magic dry spice rub.

Payne’s Bar-B-Q – Memphis, Tennessee
I can’t say that I’ve had a better pork sandwich than the one sampled at Payne’s. An ancient looking charcoal pit sits to the side of small kitchen in full view of the ordering counter. Here you can watch that sandwich get assembled with bright yellow slaw over the pork that’s covered in a thin and pungent sauce. The combinations of flavors makes for one great sandwich.

Stubby’s Hik’ry Pit Bar-B-Q – Hot Springs, Arkansas
I didn’t dare try brisket in this state, but the ribs at Stubby’s were better than their more popular competition down the street. The pot o’ beans was a thing of textural and flavorful beauty. Smoked beans covered with smoky bits of pit ham covered in a sweet sauce. That sauce deserves a sentence of its own. I’m not one who’s usually big on sauced meats, but this stuff was incredible. It’s cooked for hours to reduce and intensify the flavors, and although the sauce is sweet, it’s not overly sweetened to the point of making liquid candy. I couldn’t get enough and even brought a bottle home.

Have you been to any on this list? Let me know what your thoughts are.

Posted in My Favorite BBQ Joints on by kevin - Comments (4)


  1. those beans are a thing of beauty. I want to to get a plane ticket out there just to try them!

    Comment by Eva — July 13, 2011 @ 11:01 am

  2. darn looks good and want bbq now
    The beans do look great

    Comment by Christopher Sorel — July 22, 2011 @ 10:06 am

  3. Have you ever been to Fox Bros BBQ in Atlanta?

    Comment by Bill Schoonmaker — January 30, 2012 @ 11:02 am

  4. You need to check out Dinosaur BBQ in NY. Best BBQ I’ve had outside of Tx and better than most here.

    Comment by Jon — May 27, 2012 @ 6:10 am

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