I will be 50 years old real soon, and decided to give myself a birthday present of a roadtrip through BBQ country. I realize that emcompasses most of this Chowhound board, but I need advice and recommendations. You should know that I am a yankee bbq wannabee, and own a specialty foods deli in Michigan. I have a 500# Southern Pride smoker and cook pork butt, ribs, turkey, chickens and anything else that isn't squirming. People from VA and NC who shop at my place say I make a pretty good pulled pork. I use a homemade rub and make a sauce based on the one found in the Colonial Williamsburg cookbook.
I have never eaten real NC bbq (eastern or western), never been to Memphis, or KC or St Louis. I have eaten at Lem's and other Chicago bbq places, have read lots about bbq including the entertaining and informative Smokestack Lightning, and spend lots of time for more than 20 years smoking turkeys and ribs and butt and chickens on various contraptions before spending lots of money on this beautiful Southern Pride smoker. (I know that is not "traditional" bbq). I have also searched a bit on this board and found lots of posts about various bbq places and cities, but it does not answer my issues.
So, with that introduction, I need some advice. I will be on the road about 7 - 9 days, and I want to get to NC and Memphis and KC and St Louis from Michigan. Am I biting off more than I can chew (pun intended)?
Narrowing it down a bit, if I want to experience genuine NC bbq, eastern and western, what places should I be sure to hit?
In Memphis, my reading inidcates things are changing with Rendezvous closed and other places not as good as used to be. What are the two or three top bbq joints in Memphis right now. Same question for KC, what places should I be sure to eat some que???
If any of you can be so kind as to help with ideas, and recommendations, I will appreciate it. Also, if anybody has a suggestion for a bbq roadtrip route (sort of AAA triptiks) please let me know. Thanks!!