Serious Texas Bar-B-Q. Texas transplants Cook and Joy Swanson know their way around a smoker, turning out tender beef brisket and hotter-than-a-Houston-summer sausage links. But the must-have meat at this temple of Texas ’cue is the impossibly moist smoked pork loin―best when paired with the fruity, fiery cherry-chipotle salsa. $. 3535 N. Main Ave.; 970/ 247-2240.
Memphis Championship Barbecue. This big, stylish barbecue joint is crammed with Memphis memorabilia and happy patrons wolfing down solid renditions of chicken, baby back ribs, and pork shoulder. $$. 2250 E. Warm Springs Rd.; 702/ 260-6909 (visit www.memphis-bbq.com for three other Las Vegas–area locations).
SALT LAKE CITY
Mama’s Southern Plantation Restaurant. A portrait of the late “Mama,” Rosemary Redmon Cosby―Pentacostal preacher and mighty fine cook―smiles over the bright white, pink, and blue dining room where daughter Rosalind Cazares and her husband, Mark, offer delectable smoked barbecue ribs and chicken, tender catfish, and to-die-for sides, such as cheesy corn pudding. $$. 1394 S. West Temple St.; 801/ 485-6715.
SALT LAKE CITY
SugarHouse Barbeque Company. Upscale look and down-home food in a family-owned haven for “dem bones”―Memphis-style. Go for spice-rubbed ribs, chicken, and beef brisket, slow-smoked over hickory and cherry wood and served with four original housemade sauces. Sublime Greek oven-roasted potatoes are winners too. $$. 2207 South 700 East; 801/463-4800.
Chuck’s Bunkhouse BBQ. Exceptional Texas-style spareribs, assertively spiced sausage coins, and whisper-tender pulled pork are served in a rustic, woody bunkhouse sporting three large communal tables conducive to conversation. The “Ranch House” sides―chorizo stuffing studded with garlic, cheesy skin-on potatoes, and tangy coleslaw―are heavenly. $; closed Mon–Tue. 1352 N. Monroe St.; 303/622-6814.