May is National BBQ Month. As if you needed an excuse to tear into a rack of meaty, smoky ribs. Or sink your teeth into a stack of juicy brisket slices. Or get good and messy with a pulled pork sandwich.
So let the pig out begin. Here are three places to get started.
Pitmaster co-owner Francisco Gonzalez has high standards. His St. Louis ribs are meaty, juicy and smoky; so, too, his fine BBQ chicken. There's also pulled pork, brisket and a roster of sides that hold their own: al dente mac and cheese, rich creamed spinach and toasty sweet potato fries.
Live blues pairs well with chef-owner Eric Rifkin's smoky St. Louis ribs and chicken, pulled pork, sliced brisket and smoked sausage. The mac and cheese is nicely al dente, baked beans just sweet enough. Finish with Lincoln logs -- little French toast sticks -- or a warm brownie soufflé, to be ordered at the start of your meal.
At her Southern-style eatery, chef-owner Mara Levi offers Arkansas-style BBQ, blending Memphis and Texas traditions. There's tender, spice-rubbed baby back and St. Louis-style ribs as well as smoked brisket, chicken and even duck. Pulled pork, of course. On the side: fried green tomatoes, collard greens, cheese grits, no-mayo coleslaw, jalapeño cornbread.