Memphis Not a ‘City of Choice’ for BBQ’s, Online Restaurant Study Finds


This story and its title have been updated to show that TripAdvisor was not associated with this study.

Memphis is not among the “Best Cities” for barbecue in the United States, according to an online study released this week.

Working from what it dubbed “an analysis of TripAdvisor restaurant reviews,” online resource Chef’s Pencil ( released a study Wednesday that ranks New Orleans as “the best city for barbecue grills. in America, ”followed in the top 10 by Oklahoma City; Charlotte; Wichita, Kansas; Virginia Beach, Virginia; Columbus, Ohio; Seattle; Saint Louis; and – in a statistical tie – Miami and Newark, New Jersey.

Memphis, which hosts the annual Memphis World Championship barbecue cooking competition in May, which began on Wednesday, placed 47th. ) “, but also had the most lowest-rated restaurants (3 stars or less), a questionable distinction shared with San Antonio and Houston.

FOR SUBSCRIBERS:What’s the best barbecue in Memphis? Here are five of our favorite dishes

MEMPHIS IN MAY:What makes the barbecue contest a “cultural experience”?

“Few other topics generate such fierce debate as the humble barbecue,” the authors of Chef’s Pencil wrote on the website. “How to have a great barbecue or where to taste the best of the country can quickly escalate into a very heated conversation.

“Knowing that these debates will ignite around the grill in the weeks to come, we turned to TripAdvisor to find out which cities are best for enjoying a fantastic barbecue. We analyzed the TripAdvisor ratings of all the barbecue grills in the country’s 75 largest cities and towns based on their average rating.

“Overall, our team analyzed 2,020 places with barbecue on their menu that had 5 or more reviews.”

The Chef’s Pencil team also determined which cities supported the highest number of barbecues per capita. In a conclusion that could fan the flames of intra-state rivalry, Nashville placed fifth in that category, while Memphis was sixth. The cities with the most barbecue restaurants per capita, according to the study, are Orlando, St. Louis, Honolulu and Las Vegas.

For those planning a foodie road trip, Blue Door Smokehouse in Lexington, Ky. Is “the best barbecue restaurant in the country, being the top 5-star barbecue restaurant,” according to Chef’s Pencil.

In Memphis, the investigation was met with skepticism and derision. The Memphis Grizzlies account tweeted “Who’s gonna tell them?”, To which Memphis in May simply replied: LOL.

Meanwhile, perhaps sensitive to the controversial outcome of the online survey, TripAdvisor distanced itself from Chef’s Pencil on Thursday. “Tripadvisor is unrelated to this barbecue study presented by Chef’s Pencil,” said Brian Hoyt, head of global communications and industry affairs for the online travel company. “In fact, we have concerns about the use and presentation of Tripadvisor data in the study, including how they ranked cities and states against each other.”


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