Perhaps with a nickname like the Show-Me State, it was inevitable that Missouri would be all about rivalries. Cardinals vs. Royals. Jazz vs. Blues. Missouri vs. that-state-to-our-west-that-shall-not-be-named.

St. Louis barbecue vs. Kansas City barbecue.

Mmmm, BBQ...

Just the word alone can start your taste buds to dancing and your mouth to watering. So when you have established rivalries over who has the best, you’d better be able to back up your claim as the tops for slow-cooked, dry-rubbed and sauced deliciousness. Missouri can.

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Kansas City is considered the melting pot of barbecue.

Pulled pork, pork ribs, pork steak, beef brisket, smoked mutton, smoked chicken, sliced turkey...all typically served with the signature thick, sweet, tomato-and-molasses based sauce that has become the American standard. Distinctive to the city: burnt ends – the crusty, fatty, flavorful meat cut from the point of a smoked beef brisket. These nuggets of pure barbecue gold are a definite don’t miss.

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There’s a strong link between barbecue and jazz, which explains why Kansas City is at the forefront of the cuisine in the state. In the famous 18th and Vine jazz district in the early 1900s, Henry Perry created the regional barbecue known as Kansas City style... slowly smoked meats rubbed with spices and cooked using a variety of woods, then served with a thick tomato-based barbecue sauce. Perry’s restaurant was a major player in the heyday of Kansas City jazz, and became the founding father of the next generation of barbecue joints in the city.

In addition to the historic Kansas City barbecue restaurants like Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque and Gates Bar-B-Q, both of which were offshoots of the Perry restaurant, modern classics like Q39 and Char Bar can be found among the perennial favorites in national surveys– but you can find fantastic barbecue around every corner.

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St. Louis style barbecue normally refers to meats that are usually grilled,

rather than slow-cooked over indirect heat with smoke, and are heavily sauced. St. Louis is said to consume more barbecue sauce per capita than any other city in the nation. The sauce is described as “very sweet, slightly acidic, sticky, tomato-based usually made without liquid smoke.” Claim to fame: neatly trimmed St. Louis style rib and the distinctive thick-cut barbecue pork steak – seared, smoked and basted with a tomato-and-vinegar-based sauce as it finishes cooking.

Topping most of the lists of best barbecue? St. Louis’ Pappy’s Smokehouse with a brown sugar dry rub that makes their ribs hard to beat and Sugarfire Smoke House BBQ (with six locations including Washington and St. Charles) combines their chef’s talent for all things smoked and meaty with incredible desserts.

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Topping most of the lists of best barbecue? St. Louis’ Pappy’s Smokehouse with a brown sugar dry rub that makes their ribs hard to beat and Sugarfire Smoke House BBQ (with six locations including Washington and St. Charles) combines their chef’s talent for all things smoked and meaty with incredible desserts.

For melt-in-your mouth smoked pastrami and unusual smoked prime rib, Bogart’s Smokehouse is a must-try. Across from famed Soulard Market, the restaurant only serves until they run out, so get there early. In the Loop neighborhood, Salt + Smoke serves an incredible brisket along with more than 200 craft beers.

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Outside of the big city rivalry,

the rest of the Show-Me State also has barbecue sauce running in its veins – with offerings like Danna’s Bar-B-Que in Branson, which makes the "best" lists on a regular basis; family-owned CoMo Smoke & Fire in Columbia; Missouri Hick Barbecue in Cuba and Elbow Inn Bar & BBQ near St. Robert, both along Route 66; and too many more to mention.

Outside of the big city rivalry,

the rest of the Show-Me State also has barbecue sauce running in its veins – with offerings like Danna’s Bar-B-Que in Branson, which makes the "best" lists on a regular basis; family-owned CoMo Smoke & Fire in Columbia; Missouri Hick Barbecue in Cuba and Elbow Inn Bar & BBQ near St. Robert, both along Route 66; and too many more to mention.

We even celebrate our fantastic food – often alongside our musical heritage – with delicious barbecue festivals like Q in the Lou in St. Louis, Roots N Blues N BBQ in Columbia, Bluegrass & BBQ in Fulton, BBQ Fest in Cape Girardeau, Rock’n Ribs BBQ Festival in Springfield and BBQ, Blues & Bluegrass in St. Joseph.

We even celebrate our fantastic food – often alongside our musical heritage – with delicious barbecue festivals like Q in the Lou in St. Louis, Roots N Blues N BBQ in Columbia, Bluegrass & BBQ in Fulton, BBQ Fest in Cape Girardeau, Rock’n Ribs BBQ Festival in Springfield and BBQ, Blues & Bluegrass in St. Joseph.

Just turn your nose to the air and let it lead you where it may – because in Missouri – despite our rivalries – we’re proud to show you that where there’s smoke, there’s low-and-slow, sweet and sassy, melt-in-your-mouth barbecue.