NEWARK, NJ – New Jersey BBQ enthusiasts rushed to Newark’s defense after the city drew up a controversial list of the “Best BBQ Spots” in the United States

As a nod to National Barbecue Month in May, the culinary website Chef’s Pencil scoured Tripadvisor ratings for more than 2,020 grill restaurants in 75 of the country’s largest cities. The researchers then ranked them on scores to create a list of the best cities for amazing keywords.

A Tripadvisor spokesperson told USA Today that the website was unrelated to the chef’s list of pencils, adding that there were “concerns” about its use of the data.

The list immediately raised eyebrows with its dubious results. Legendary BBQ hotspots like Memphis and Kansas City didn’t make it, and no city in Texas, Mississippi, or Georgia cracked the top 10. However, Newark was the ninth best grill town in America.

At the top of the list were New Orleans and Oklahoma City. It was followed by Charlotte, Wichita and Virginia Beach, who took third place. The top 10 slots from Columbus, Seattle, St. Louis, Miami and Newark were rounded off.

That must be a joke. pic.twitter.com/5LIzBgznb9
– Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) May 13, 2021

As the list came out, a big question arose, “Why did Newark make the cut?” – was repeated on social media. Some people were politely curious:

Newark gets a bum and is underrated, but any “best barbecue town” list it contains is automatically suspected as https://t.co/NNCatdTD80
– Sandy Smith (@MarketStEl) May 24, 2021

Others have mocked Newark for being mentioned in the same breath as the others on the list.

“I’m from California, where we put kimchi on our grill, and even I know this card is wrong,” one commenter wrote. “Newark? Really?”

“I grew up in New Jersey and can assure you that there is no alternate universe where Newark can grill better than Texas,” wrote another person.

“Newark, New Jersey famous BBQ destination” rofl
– Sir Pagg A. Woot, IV (@paggawoot) May 20, 2021

But according to other local foodies, there’s a reason Newark made the cut when it comes to good cue: its many amazing Portuguese restaurants.

For the record. Newark, NJ has real Portuguese BBQ.
– Chris Hahn (@ChristopherHahn), May 13, 2021

“As for Newark, they are definitely referring to Portuguese BBQ killing Newark,” wrote one social media user, summing up the sentiments of many other local foodies. “But there is a distinction that should be made … there is more than one type of grill.”

Newark has an excellent BBQ, especially during the summer cooking season. Top 5 if you ask us.
– the lucas bros (@lucasbros) May 13th, 2021 You don’t know. Born and raised in Newark. The best BBQ ever on Ferry Steet. Ferry Street BBQ to be precise.
– Jake Hamilton (@JakeTheDream) May 13, 2021

Want to check out some of the restaurants that Newark is high on the list? These places got a big thumbs up from reviewers on Tripadvisor:

Still hungry? According to Newark Happening, here are some more great Brick City BBQ spots to check out:

1 of 2 – Newark is in the Top 10 Cities for BBQ in the US! Here are two reasons why you should come to Newark this summer weekend! @CityRubNewark – amazing brisket tacos, nice (safe) indoor and outdoor ambience and great service – https://t.co/kEjy6Wjk1Q#NewarkIsOpenSafely pic.twitter.com/veJkOBcXDy
– Allison Ladd (@AIlisonLadd) May 22, 2021

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