Cincinnati Named One of the Top 5 Best Barbecue Cities in the Nation

Porkopolis knows its meat.

Jun 28, 2021 at 2:20 pm
Eli's BBQ - Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Eli's BBQ

We may not have our own particular "Cincinnati" style when it comes to barbecuing meats, but Porkopolis knows its way around the smoker. 

That's what lawn care website LawnStarter has proclaimed, at least. 

A recent survey by the company — a group which may or may not be qualified to be jumping into the food rankings industry — outlined the "best bbq cities in the America" in a recent study, basing their findings off of categories like barbecue accessibility, quality of barbecue and barbecue-related events. 

[Cincinnati's Top 10 Barbecue Spots, According to CityBeat Readers]

Those main categories were then divided up into over a dozen smaller metrics like barbecue restaurants per 100,000 residents, number of top-rated smokehouses, number of National Barbecue & Grilling Association (NBBQA) Excellence Award Winners in the sauce, rub, and/or food categories in past five years and number of barbecue festivals. 

The study included 199 of the nation's largest cities. 

Cincinnati came in at No. 4 on the list, just before Memphis, Tennessee at No. 5 and just after Houston, Texas at No. 3.

The No. 1 best barbecue city was Kansas City, Missouri. Coming in last place at No. 199 was Aurora, Illinois. 

The Queen City had an overall score of 35.885 and ranked No. 5 in access, No. 11 in quality and No. 5 in events. 

See the full list of rankings at, or read about Cincinnati's top 10 barbecue spots, as voted by our readers in CityBeat's Best Of Cincinnati 2021 issue.