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Epic Fail

Say what? Texas snubbed in best barbecue rankings in favor of . . . Georgia: A lesson in ridiculous lists

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Killen's barbecue brisket
TripAdvisor readers snubbed Texas barbecue in a recent poll.  Photo by: Kimberly Park
Franklin Barbecue
The site does rate Austin's Franklin Barbecue as the best in the country.  Photo courtesy of Franklin Barbecue
Franklin BBQ
Franklin Barbecue's meat is delicious.  Photo courtesy of Franklin Barbecue
Killen's barbecue brisket
Franklin Barbecue
Franklin BBQ

Signs and commercials advise people "Don't mess with Texas," but it appears not everyone got the memo. TripAdvisor, which describes itself as "the world's largest travel site" but is more likely to be your mom's favorite way to plan her girls weekend in Cape Cod, compiled a list of the Top 10 U.S. states for barbecue.

Texas came in third. North Carolina came in second, which, sure, some people think pork in vinegar counts as barbecue, so OK. Georgia came in first. WTF Trip Advisor?

The fault, of course, lies in how the rankings are compiled, which is based on how many people voted for a barbecue restaurant. Lots of people voted for lots of places in Georgia, so it's magically the state with the best barbecue.

 Georgia came in first. WTF Trip Advisor?  

Of course, Texans see things differently. When Texas Monthly published its list of the state's 50 best barbecue joints, it called them "the best in the world." After all, a little bragging is very Texan.

Texas and North Carolina each have multiple, distinctive regional styles that distinguish each state's barbecue from any other. What exactly is Georgia barbecue? 

Writing for the Southern Foodways Alliance, John T. Edge notes that Georgia barbecue "is not restricted to one style" but that barbecue in Georgia is "an event, where the bonds of community are celebrated, the tethers of tradition strengthened."

Is that a fancy way of saying it's an excuse to get drunk? Because it seems like every SEC football weekend provides a similar opportunity, with or without smoked pork shoulder.

Dallas TV station WFAA went so far as to track down Georgia-based barbecue blogger Dustin Moody, who said TripAdvisor's work is "one of the more bogus lists I’ve seen. Texas is still number one for me."

At least TripAdvisor users had the sense to rank Austin's Franklin Barbecue as the country's best, even if they snubbed other worthy spots like Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor or Snow's BBQ in Lexington (both Texas top five). Strangely, no North Carolina joints, not even the world-renowned Lexington Barbecue, make the Top 10. Three spots in Georgia did, of course. 

Oh, TripAdvisor. Never stop being you. It just means the rest of us won't have to compete with quite as many other people at actual barbecue joints people care about.

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