There has been no heated debate about Newark as a major national barbecue destination since politics and religion. Break it down, look carefully, and make some comparisons, and you’ll agree that naming Newark King of the Northeast for great grilling makes a very good argument.

Part of the criteria for getting into the top 10 cities with the best BBQ was the number of BBQ areas, but the numbers alone wouldn’t get you if that were the case, there was an overwhelming argument in favor of New York, that has more than four times the number of barbecue areas such as Newark as well as Memphis, Dallas, Kansas City and Birmingham are major barbecue destinations with many barbecue areas.

There seems to be a lot of controversy surrounding the ranking. Chef’s Pencil, a blog and food site based in Australia, used data from TripAdvisor, which uses ratings and reviews to rank the cities, and Newark was ranked 9th overall in the country and number one here in the northeast. Chef’s Pencil also published the Worst Grill Towns, which listed San Antonio and other cities in Texas. Well, that didn’t go well with Texas and loyal Texans started a Twitter war with TripAdvisor claiming they didn’t publish the poll. With that said, here is what they found:

The top 10 cities for barbecuing were listed in the following order:

  1. New Orleans
  2. Oklahoma City
  3. Charlotte, NC
  4. Wichita, Kan.
  5. Virginia Beach, Va.
  6. Columbus, Ohio
  7. Seattle
  8. St. Louis
  9. Newark, NJ
  10. Miami

While New York and Memphis have tremendous numbers of BBQ grills, many are rated 3.3 or below. Newark has fewer outlets but higher ratings, which is why they were ranked so highly. In fact, Newark has an average rating of 4.1.

There are a number of different BBQ areas in Newark that have a significant Portuguese and Brazilian community. There are plenty of churrascarias that serve incredibly good grilled meat. The number of Brazilian and Portuguese BBQ areas is large and most of them are superb. I love going into the Ironbound community and enjoying so many of the great restaurants that they have. Newark also has the good old fashioned North American BBQ that many of us know so well.

New Jersey has become a great haven for grilling over the years. I went to the New Jersey State BBQ Championships, which was held in North Wildwood in July. The participating New Jersey teams have won national tournaments. I invite you to enjoy Newark’s grilled specialties. Well worth the trip but take my advice, go hungry!

The above post reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Big Joe Henry. All opinions expressed are from Big Joe.

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