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Smokin'! Minnesota chain makes list of best barbecue

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A Minnesota company has landed on USA Today's list of the nation's best barbecue chains.

The majority of the chains on the list are located south of the Mason-Dixon line, but Famous Dave's made the cut. The story notes that despite his northern roots, founder Dave Anderson "really knows his stuff." The story said the 200 Famous Dave's restaurants please the palate with Texas beef brisket, Georgia-style chopped pork, Memphis-style rib tips, and St. Louis-style spare ribs.

The newspaper list only named chains, explaining, "We looked at dozens of barbecue restaurants with multiple locations all across the country, and ranked them according to the following criteria: local renown, consistency of the food across all locations, adherence to traditional barbecue techniques like "low and slow" on-premises smoking, atmosphere and, most importantly, if the food tastes good."

Also on USA Today's list is Dickey's Barbecue Pit, which has 10 locations in Minnesota. Dickey's is the world's largest barbecue franchise. "There are no frills at Dickey's, just solid, honest-to-goodness barbecue," the story says.

But purists may argue that no chain can really deliver the pungent punch of a funky barbecue shack. Minnesota has its share of those places, too

Last summer, the Minneapolis Eater website named its favorite barbecue joints. In first place on the list was the tiny takeout spot Scott Jamama's BBQ (3 E. Diamond Lake Rd, Minneapolis).

Food website the Heavy Table recently favorably reviewed C & G's Smoking Barbecue (4743 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis), where proprietor Greg Alford "smokes a mean rib, fries a fine wing, and makes delectable sandwiches." Another review on the site this month gave a rave to the hole-in-the wall shack called Roosters BBQ-Deli (976 Randolph Ave., St. Paul). The reviewer praised the hickory smoked chicken, which the reviewer said "...made us very, very happy. The combination of smoke and spices produced so much wonderful flavor that we forgot about the barbecue sauce."

A reviewer for the Trip Advisor travel website picked Big Daddy's BBQ (609 University Ave. W., Saint Paul) as its top spot, saying it was "far and away the best barbecue in the Twin Cities." (pictured)

If this story has your mouth watering and you're craving that barbecue tang, head to Yelp for a long list of other local options, most of them independents.

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