Southern Living

Barbecue is a Southern art that's been perfected through hours of cooking meat over low, slow-burning fires. From classic, juicy pulled pork to Texas' famous slow-cooked brisket, barbecue spreads far and wide across the region in all different forms. Some of us dredge our pulled pork in a tangy, vinegar-based red barbecue sauce, while others are smothering their shredded smoked chicken with creamy Alabama white sauce. We asked around–here are your vote for the top 10 Southern spots for finding perfect, melt-in-your-mouth barbecue.

View all of the South's Best 2017 winners here

10. 4 Rivers Smokehouse; Winter Park, FL
4 Rivers began when owner John River cooked barbeque for a friend’s fundraiser. Now, it has 13 locations in Florida.

9. Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q; Decatur, AL
In 1925, railroad worker Bob Gibson started serving barbecue right out of the pit he dug by hand.

8. Franklin Barbecue; Austin, TX
You can only grab lunch at this dining spot. The listed hours are 11 a.m. to SOLD OUT.

7. Central BBQ; Memphis, TN
You won’t find sauce near this Memphis barbeque spot. Instead, Central BBQ uses a secret combination of dry spices.

6. The Salt Lick BBQ; Driftwood, TX
Three generations of the Roberts family have been barbecuing over the same fire pit for 50 years.

5. Charlie Vergos' Rendezvous; Memphis, TN
This Memphis landmark still cooks ribs like they did 60 years ago – with a vinegar wash and a dry rub borrowed from the founder’s family chili recipe.

4. Lexington Barbecue; Lexington, NC
Locals refer to it as the “Honeymonk” in honor of Wayne Monk who opened the restaurant in 1962.

3. Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q; Atlanta, GA
Fox Bros. started as the backyard barbeques of two Texas brothers and grew into to an Atlanta staple.

2. Dreamland; Tuscaloosa, AL
As revered as Paul “Bear” Bryant Jr., both the legendary coach and this legendary barbecue joint got their start in Tuscaloosa in 1958.

1. Southern Soul Barbeque; St. Simons Island, GA
A converted old gas station in this Georgia beach town is barbecue heaven.

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