Craving a delicious summer vacation? No need to break the bank or hop any borders; we’ve scoured the States for the top domestic destinations with specialty dishes worth traveling for. Check out these must-eat spots to sample local recipes that Food Network chefs praise as being The Best Thing I Ever Ate.
Summer means barbecue, and Food Network stars have traversed the country to find the best ‘cue they ever ate. The BBQ Belt stretches from Texas to Virginia, wherein each state touts its own unique sauces, brines and smoking methods, often showcased at state fairs and competitions throughout the summer months. Anywhere in there is good, but everywhere is different. Bar-B-Q King will give you an intro to North Carolina-style chicken, Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q has the juiciest smoked turkey in Alabama, and if Tennessee-style pulled pork tickles your taste buds, then Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous is waiting for you to be the judge.
The staple of summer cookouts is the hot dog, and Chicago’s got a reputation for making the juiciest and most-unusual links in the country. Plus, summer is the ideal time to visit the Windy City. Ted Allen praises The Wiener’s Circle for serving up the best thing he ever ate: their famous dogs … served with a side of sass.
Lemonade stands lining the streets and the smell of sunscreen in the air can make you feel nostalgic for the summers of your childhood. Take a trip down memory lane with a treat worthy of a Best Thing I Ever Ate nod from Chuck Hughes: Maine’s classic dessert, Whoopie Pies, from Two Fat Cats Bakery in Portland. But don’t try to fit into your childhood swimming trunks … that won’t be nearly as delicious.
Check out the full list and let us know your favorite summer travel eats in the comments below!