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Jane Wooldridge is an award-winning travel and business journalist, entrepreneurial manager, and an innovator in multimedia content delivered via newspapers, magazines, online, and broadcast. She was named the Lowell Thomas Travel Journalist of the Year, 2006-07, the highest honor in travel journalism, based on a portfolio of work.
Larry Bleiberg is the award-winning former travel editor of Coastal Living magazine and The Dallas Morning News, which was honored by the Lowell Thomas Foundation for having the best newspaper travel section in North America. He has been published around the world, and traveled to all 50 states and dozens of countries.
100 Best Affordable Vacations
FOLLOW THE BARBEQUE TRAIL
From North Carolina to Texas
No food seems more quintessentially American than barbecue. To fully immerse yourself in barbecue, sample the fare and flavors on offer at a few favorite towns and fests where grilled beast—be it smoked, rubbed, pulled, slathered in sauce, or massaged with spice—is the main draw. If you’re truly a ‘cue fan, string the recommendations into a road trip. But beware: After five barbecue feasts in as many days, you may be in need of a giant salad.
Kansas City, Kansas and Missouri. If there is a center of the American barbecue universe, it may well be Kansas City, straddling the Kansas-Missouri state line. As a staging center for western exploration, Kansas City was home to early meatpacking operations and stockyards; barbecue naturally followed. But it wasn’t until the 1920s that fellow named Henry Perry opened the first barbecue pit. Among the best loved of the city’s more than one hundred barbecue joints are Gates (800-662-7427, www.gatesbbq.com), where you’ll be greeted with a shouted “Hi, may I help you?”; Fiorella’s Jack Stack (816-531-7427, www .jackstackbbq.com), for white tablecloth service; and the dignitary must-stop Arthur Bryant’s (816-231-1123, www.arthurbryantsbbq.com); all have several locations around town.
Lexington, North Carolina. Lexington stakes its claim as “barbecue capital of the world” thanks to the 1919 establishment of the town’s first pit-cooked barbecue tent. The furniture-manufacturing operations that were once the centerpiece of Lexington’s economy have waned, but the town of 20,000 remains beloved for its coziness and two dozen barbecue restaurants, famed for pork—sliced, chopped, or pulled—served with coleslaw and hush puppies (beef and chicken dishes are also offered at some). Most are open any day you land there, though some are closed on Sunday. One of the largest and best known is Lexington Barbecue No. 1 (10 Hwy. 29/70 S, 336-249-9814).
Lockhart, Texas. Located some 25 miles south of Austin, this tiny town of 14,000 on the historic Chisholm Trail boasts less than a handful of barbecue restaurants, but collectively they serve up 5,000 meals per week. Barbecued pork sausage is the specialty here, though you’ll find chops and brisket as well. All the barbecue joints win raves, but if you must choose only one, make it Kreuz (pronounced krites) Market (619 N. Colorado St., 512-398-2361), where smoky brisket, peppered pork ribs, and jalapeño-cheese sausage win raves. Don’t ask for
sauce—they don’t have it; but the sauerkraut is divine.
Memphis, Tennessee. Debating where to find the best barbecue here is something of a city sport. With more than a hundred ‘cue joints, there’s plenty to choose from. Often mentioned are Rendezvous (52 S. 2nd St., 901-523-2746), famed for its ribs since 1948; Central BBQ (2249 Central Ave., 901-272-9377), known for its slow-smoked ribs, pulled meat, and hot wings; Corky’s (5259 Poplar Ave., 901- 685-9744), seasoned with a dry rub, slathered in sauce, and slow cooked; and Neely’s (670 Jefferson Ave., 901-521-9798), made famous by the Food Network’s show Down Home with the Neelys. Also recommended? The funky Blues City Café (138 Beale St., 901-526-3637), where the ribs are flavored with a wet rub and slow cooked at 225°F, then drenched in a sweet barbecue sauce. They’re worth every last calorie.
St. Louis, Missouri. St. Louis is known for its barbecued spare ribs and reportedly leads the world in per capita consumption of barbecue sauce. The sauce is sweet; the ribs are trimmed to remove the fatty portion off the rack. But as far as the locals are concerned, you haven’t tried St. Louis-style barbecue until you try the barbecued pork steaks, says Donna Andrews, spokesperson for the city’s visitors bureau. Among the city’s famed ‘cue joints are Pappy’s Smoke House (3106 Olive St., 314-535- 4340), known for its dry-rubbed, slow-smoked pork ribs; Roper’s Ribs (6929 W. Florissant Ave., 314-381-6200), seasoned with a secret blend of spices and smoked over hickory; and Smoki O’s (1545 N. Broadway, 314-621-8180), where the menu includes rib tips, crispy snoot (that would be pig and nostrils), and barbecue spaghetti.
Now I have so many great ideas for trips I have to take! This book is a great resource for all kinds of creative and interesting trips. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Whitcoltd.
This is a cute little book with a lot of suggestions of places to see and things to do there. I will admit that it is a bit disconcerting to not have a thorough index nor table of... Read morePublished on July 31, 2013 by Nancy Ferguson
Well, the authors did a very comprehensive job of covering all sorts of different ways that you could spend your vacation (from learning fly fishing, wine tasting, to wooden boat... Read morePublished on March 17, 2013 by Ken in San Diego
Unusual and adventurous vacation ideas. I found many new ideas and places that I had not known before. Great fun.rPublished on January 26, 2013 by Shannon
admittedly, I did not purchase this book, but checked it out of my local library. I thought the areas covering volunteering and taking courses at colleges with open enrollment to... Read morePublished on July 23, 2012 by Yahtzee!
I would call this book an outline of travel possibilities rather than a travel guide. The first huge flaw is the table of contents which does not break down the 100 locations. Read morePublished on July 18, 2012 by Carol Toscano
As other reviewers have pointed out, this book is a good starting place if you wanted to take a family vacation different than what you may have done in the past and didn't want to... Read morePublished on January 13, 2012 by Jerry Sanchez
I ordered this book at the request of my daughter. She said it was helpful information and I looked it over last night to see for myself. Read morePublished on November 22, 2011 by Randy Keehn
I love travel books. While I do not expect a travel book to replace the latest Dean Koontz thriller or a heart-pounding battle memoir from a WW2 vet, I do expect a travel book to... Read morePublished on November 17, 2011 by J. E. Nelson