Viva the Pig! Check out the South’s best barbecue sandwiches.

I really, really love BBQ, and am always on the look out for the smokey goodness. I am now in the process of adding these joints to Best Road Trip Ever! iPhone app, so I won’t miss them next time I’m on the road. They were voted “The South’s Best Butt “by Southern Living, June 2012. Article: Hanna Raskin, Produced by: Jennifer V. Cole (with additional info by yours truly.)

A & R Bar-B-Que
24 N. Third Street
Memphis, TN

A&R serves tamales, bologna, and barbecue spaghetti, but the star is the sloppy chopped-pork sandwich, twitching with tangy slaw and bathed in a sauce that doesn’t obscure the robust smokiness of the meat.

  • Open daily
  • Monday through Thursday, 10:30 am til 9 pm
  • Friday and Saturday 10:30 am til 11 pm
  • Sunday 11 am til 5 pm

Allen & Son BBQ
6203 Millhouse Road
Chapel Hill, NC
(919) 942-7576

If a foreigner was studying for a barbecue exam, the Allen & Son flash card would surely get a workout. Keith Allen’s restaurant straddles the dividing line between western and eastern Carolina ‘cue, and idiosyncratically borrows from both traditions. They use a thin, vinegar-based sauce, the same as Eastern pitmasters, but cook only shoulders, considered the Piedmont’s domain.

  • Open Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 am til 5 pm
  • Open Thursday through Saturday 10 am til 8 pm
  • Closed Sunday and Monday

The Bar-B-Q Shop Restaurant
782 Madison Avenue
Memphis, TN
(901) 272-1277

It’s not hard to find an expertly smoked pork shoulder in Memphis, but this sandwich has won accolades for its accoutrements, including a mustard-tinged sauce, a fiery hot sauce, and sturdy Texas toast.

  • Open Monday through Saturday, 11 am til 9 pm
  • Closed Sunday

BBQ Barn
605 Atomic Road
North Augusta, SC
(803) 278-7202

South Carolina is the only state with four distinct sauce regions, and BBQ Barn offers them all, including the thick mustard variety rarely found beyond Palmetto State borders.

  • Open Wednesday through Saturday
  • Closed Sunday, Monday and Tuesday

Bozo’s Hot Pit Bar-B-Q
342 U.S. 70
Mason, TN
(901) 294-3400

Bozo’s had a bit part in Walk the Line, the 2005 Johnny Cash biopic, but the western Tennessee restaurant has long been famed for its treatment of pork shoulders, which emerge moist and tender from the pit, bearing the faintest trace of smoke.

The Brick Pit
5456 Old Shell Road
Mobile, AL

On its website, The Brick Pit features testimonials from a car dealer, a banker, and a bonsai artist. But it doesn’t take a professional palate to appreciate their succulent pulled pork, slathered with a thick tomato sauce. Be cure to check out Mrs Waits Homemad Banana Pudding, made fresh daily. Featured on “Man vs Food.”

  • Open Tuesday through Thursday, 11 am til 8 pm
  • Open Friday and Saturday 11 am til 9 pm
  • Closed Sunday and Monday

Bunn’s Barbecue
127 North King Street
Windsor, NC
(252) 794-2274

Sandwiched between two flaps of crisp cornbread, Bunn’s minced Boston butt is so good it may explain why the Russell family rebuilds every time the coastal restaurant suffers a hurricane-inflicted flood. Located in a 1938 filling station.

  • Open Monday through Friday, 9 am til 5 pm
  • Open Wednesday and Saturday til 2 pm
  • Closed Sundays

Georgia Pig Bar-B-Que
1285 S State Rd 7
Davie, FL
(954) 587-4420

Wayne Anderson chops oak-smoked meat and crunchy bits of bark before saucing with his tangy original sauce. They also serve up Brunswick stew.

  • Open Monday through Thursday, 7 am til 8 pm
  • Open Friday til 9 pm, Saturday til 6 pm
  • Closed Sundays

Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q
1908 11th Ave S
Birmingham, AL
(205) 320-1060

A multiunit chain might provoke skepticism from purists, but Jim ‘N Nick’s produces a phenomenal pork shoulder with traditional methods many have written off as too time-consuming. Committed to freshness and sustainability, the restaurant just launched its own heritage pork-raising program, and none of the 28 locations even has a freezer.

Jimmy’s BBQ
1703 Cotton Grove Road
Lexington, NC
(336) 357-2311

A prickly, red slaw tops the pork shoulder at Jimmy’s, a Lexington mainstay that specializes in chewy, hickory-scented meat.

Leigh’s Barbecue
9405 U.S. 60
Kevil, KY
(270) 488-3434

Open since 1950, there aren’t any pretensions at Leigh’s, where the terrific hickory-kissed pork shoulder is chopped to order and sauced with vinegar. They use an open pit with hickory, taking 24 hours to cook.

Lexington Barbecue
101 West Center Street Extension
Lexington, NC
(336) 249-9814

The defining Piedmont barbecue joint—known locally as The Monk’s Place—chops its shoulders and slaw into an extraordinary mixture of sweetness and smoke.

  • Open Monday through Saturday, 10 am til 9:30 pm
  • Closed Sundays

Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint
7238 Nolensville Road
Nolensville, TN
(615) 776-1856

You may have seen them on “Diners, Drive Ins and Dives.” Patrick Martin’s open-faced sandwich, what he calls a Redneck Taco, piles hickory-smoked pork, slaw, and Piedmont-style tomato sauce atop a plate-size hoecake.

  • Open daily, 11 am til 8 pm
  • Open until 9 pm Saturdays and Sundays

Neely’s Sandwich Shop
1404 East Grand Avenue
Marshall, TX
(903) 935-9040

Marooned in beef territory, Neely’s is known by locals as The Brown Pig. The 85-year-old restaurant crowns ground smoked shoulder with mayonnaise, lettuce, and the signature sauce on a hamburger bun.

Papa Kayjoe’s
119 West Ward
Centerville, TN
(931) 729-2131

The flat disks of cornbread that book-end Papa Kayjoe’s pork sandwich are fried to order in lard, in keeping with pitmaster Devin Pickard’s philosophy that barbecue ought to be a celebration of swine fat. “I know when folks think of grease they think of unhealthy,” he famously told a Southern Foodways Alliance oral historian in 2008. “But the key to good barbecue is grease.”

Payne’s Bar-B-Q
1762 Lamar Avenue
Memphis, TN
(901) 272-1523

Arguments rage over the best barbecue in Memphis, but the field narrows when you talk sandwiches. At Payne’s, where lunch is so popular it’s punctuated by the nonstop slap of a cleaver on the chopping block, the pork sandwich is graced with smoke-tinged bark, a robe of tomato-based sauce, and mustard slaw yellow as a buttercup.

  • Open Monday through Saturday, 11 am til 7 pm
  • Open until 9 pm on Friday, Wednesdays until 6:30
  • Closed Sunday
  • Cash only

Pecan Lodge
1010 South Pearl Expressway
Dallas, TX
(214) 748-8900

In a state known for barbecue, Dallas is rarely a player. But Pecan Lodge has reset ‘cue expectations with killer pulled pork developed to satisfy the owners’ Carolina nostalgia.

  • Open Thursday through Sunday, 11 am to 3 pm, or until they sell out.
  • Closed Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday

Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge
2000 East Dixon Boulevard
Shelby, NC
(704) 482-8567

Longtime customers know to request their sandwiches with “outside brown,” the dark, chewy bark that lends textural zing and a woodsy demeanor to chopped meat.

  • Open Wednesday through Sunday, 11 am til 8 pm
  • Closed Monday and Tuesday

Saucy’s Walk-up
Bollingbrook St & 5th St
Petersburg, VA
(804) 504-3075

The reclaimed shipping container that houses Saucy’s may be the ultimate 21st-century symbol. But the meat served from within is smoked according to long-standing low-and-slow traditions, then swabbed with sauces such as mustard-jalapeño. The pulled pork is moist and flavorful, and topping it off with some of their homemade slaw is the right idea!

  • Open Monday through Saturday, 11 am til 7 pm
  • Closed Sundays

Sims Bar-B-Que
7601 Geyer Springs Road
Little Rock, AR
(501) 562-8844

In 1937, Allen Sims and his wife, Amelia, opened a cafe, and quickly became known for great barbecue and their tangy, brown Sims Sauce, which they apply to every serving of chopped pork. And if that isn’t to your liking, they have 6 other sauces to try.