Home > America’s Barbecue Capitals: Best States to Have a BBQ
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Let’s face it, when it comes to relaxing on a cool summer’s day, there’s nothing better than breaking out the barbecue, cracking open a cold beer, and grilling up your favorite BBQ treats while you catch up with friends and family.

Blessed with fantastic weather every summer, the U.S. is the premier country for holding a BBQ when the sun comes out and the clouds vanish — but which state takes the crown as the BBQ king?

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To find out, USBettingReport.com took a break from covering U.S. betting sites and analysed a range of keyword data to determine which states had the most interest in hosting a BBQ and then combined this with government survey data asking respondents which state they felt did the best BBQs. We then added other indexable ranking factors, like their BBQ food ranking, and used these to score each state out of five.

So, with this information in hand, we can now reveal the top 5 U.S. states dedicated to having the best BBQs in the country!

1. Texas

Perhaps coming as a surprise to no one, the No. 1 state for BBQs in the U.S. is Texas.

With a total ranking of 4.74 out of 5 and associated with having good BBQs by 73% of Americans, it would seem Texans are the go-to people for anyone wanting to get outside and make the most of the good weather with a meal.

And this reputation for good BBQs is certainly backed up by our data. Texas boasted a whopping 219,850 BBQ search terms a month and delivered a food index ranking of 83.04, making it the place to be at this time of the year if you want good, honest, outdoor cooking.

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2. California

Coming in second, we have the Golden State. Delivering a total ranking of 3.16 and accounting for 172,220 BBQ-themed search terms a month, California is certainly a good spot for some light outdoor grilling, but its reputation for BBQs is dwarfed by that of Texas.

In fact, according to government data, only 16% of Americans associate California with BBQs — that’s 57% less than Texas. Combine this with 47,630 fewer BBQ searches per month, and it’s actually quite surprising California ranks so high on our list.

However, where California excels is in its BBQ and food ranking, which sit at 158.97 and 100.15 respectively and are the highest of any U.S. state.

3. New York

While it might not be the first state you think of when it comes to good weather — even if it is the first place you think of when it comes to legal online sports betting — New York still comes out high as a top BBQ hotspot in America.

New York achieved a total ranking of 2.57, landing it the third spot in our rankings, though much like California, it’s only considered to be a good BBQ spot by 16% of Americans. And they certainly show less enthusiasm for this activity when compared to Texans and Californians, with just 88,400 BBQ searches made across the state per month.

But, with that being said, New York is still a great choice for BBQ celebrations, holding a solid 84.15 ranking for their BBQ atmospheres and a respectable 61.21 for their choice of BBQ foods.

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4. Florida

Having already earned the nickname, the Sunshine State, is it any wonder then Florida grabbed a top spot on our list? Seeing 94,210 BBQ-based searches every month, which is 5,810 searches more than New York, Florida is the go-to BBQ spot for 12% of Americans.

But while this might not seem too impressive initially, much like New York, Florida has a well-earned reputation for having good BBQ food, delivering an excellent spread to provide a score of 67.26 on our BBQ food index ranking.

5. New Jersey

Upon first glance, there’s little to identify Jersey as a popular BBQ hotspot — after all, Jersey residents make an average of just 37,050 BBQ-related queries every month. Maybe they are too busy with New Jersey sports betting.

However, readers may be surprised to know Jersey generates as much BBQ interest from Americans as Florida, being a popular choice for at least 12% of those spoken to, though with lower food and BBQ index rankings than our other top 5.

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Other Barbecue States of Note

Although our top five states have done more than enough to earn their spot at the top of our rankings, they weren’t the only states to provide us with some interesting stats and facts.

For example, North Carolina, despite having many of its stats rank higher than those of Jersey, actually ended up coming in sixth on our table. This is also in spite of being one of the more common states Americans picked when asked which state offered the best barbecues, with 30% of those spoken to putting it on their list compared to Jersey’s 12%.

On top of this, and apparently, regardless of the fine weather experienced in all of these states, Tennessee, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Kansas all missed out on top spots, even though their popularity as choice BBQ spots ranged from 31%-37%.

Finally, while no one is probably surprised Alaska came in at the bottom for BBQ searches, with only 1,460 inquiries made by admirably enthusiastic grillers per month, what did come as a shock is Alaska was not at the bottom of our BBQ list overall.

It turns out this infamous honor goes to South Dakota, which holds the lowest overall score of 0.2 and is thought of as a good BBQ state by just 6% of Americans.

Top BBQ Foods By State

Last, but not least, while you now know the best spots in the U.S. to take your barbecue this summer, we wouldn’t be doing our job without providing you with a list of the top foods by state as well. And, rather interestingly, it would seem all of our top 5 states are in agreement as to what the top 5 BBQ foods are.

For Texas, the No. 1 food for any BBQ is a classic Texan favourite, the brisket, which saw roughly 33,100 searches per month. This is then followed by a selection of chicken, sausage, and rib options.

In New York, chicken is the top pick.

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Methodology

To discover which states have the strongest affinity for BBQ, we gathered data on several key factors: BBQ searches, Government Survey, BBQ Index and BBQ Food Index. These factors comprised four individually weighted metrics, collectively totaling 100.

  • BBQ searches: Using Google Search Data, we were able to identify the states that search for BBQ the most, ranking them based on the highest search volume.
  • Government Survey: Utilizing a government survey, we uncovered the locations in the U.S. where BBQ enthusiasts are concentrated, with insights from 1,000 respondents.
  • The BBQ Index: By employing a Keyword Tool, we assessed the 20 most popular BBQ phrases and words including Barbecue platters, BBQ Competitions, BBQ Gloves, Grill, Charcoal, and smoker to determine the states with the highest search frequencies. Each keyword was divided by the respective state’s population and aggregated to create an index in proportion to the state populations.
  • BBQ Food Index: Analysing the popularity of various BBQ foods allowed us to identify states that truly cherish their culinary traditions. This assessment enabled us to rank BBQ food preferences in each state and establish an index highlighting the search intensities relative to the population. Key words included: brisket, ribs, pulled pork. We ranked 11 different BBQ foods.
  • BBQ restaurants per Capita: Using information from World Population Review, we determined the states with the highest number of BBQ restaurants per capita. The data was ranked from highest to lowest. Source: World Population Review — BBQ by State.
    By aggregating the weighted scores for each factor across all states, we derived a final index score, scaled from 0 to 5. A higher score indicates a state’s stronger suitability as a location for significant events such as weddings.

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