For the Bryan family, barbecue sauce is in their blood. Their tradition of award-winning barbecue began over a century ago, in 1910, when Elias Bryan's family faithfully followed him from Cincinnati to Dallas, where he opened the original Bryan's Barbeque. The restaurant established a firm following, which led Elias’ son, William, to open his own restaurant. It was there that the third-generation Bryan, William "Sonny" Jennings Bryan Jr., learned how to properly smoke brisket and concoct tangy, spicy sauces. In 1958, on February 13—the exact same date on which Elias and William opened their eateries—Sonny served the first rack of ribs in his newly opened Sonny Bryan's Smokehouse.
The small chain now shares its spin on traditional Texas barbecue across Utah and Dallas. Sonny Bryan's original barbecue sauce spices up its savory pulled meats and ribs, which have been devoured by U.S. presidents, famous entertainers, sports legends, and A-list animated Disney characters alike. Sonny's seasoned chefs also cater heaps of fresh brisket and smoked chicken to parties and events.
Sonny Bryan's Smokehouse has been on the culinary radar since 1989, snapping up awards and publicity from People magazine, Food Network, the Travel Channel, and The Barbecue Bible. The modest barbecue joints have also earned some highbrow epicurean chops through a 2006 Zagat rating and a 2000 James Beard Foundation award for Culinary Excellence and Achievement.
The SugarHouse Barbeque Company's owner, Bill Smithers, recommends the cherry-smoked chicken wings or the carolina pulled pork. Regardless of what diners choose, they'll enjoy the truly southern environment Bill has cultivated at his barbecue restaurant—a warm family-friendly atmosphere permeated by a sense of respect for the food, diners, and servers. Skilled barbecue chefs send out dishes from a menu of dry-rubbed Memphis-style specialties that let the meat shine through the seasoning, whether it's turkey breast, chicken and ribs, or beef brisket. The platters all come respectfully dressed in a choice of four sauces: the signature sauce is sweet and mild, whereas the hot sauce gets its fire from a healthy dose of cayenne, the mustard sauce's unusual bouquet adds depth to smoked meats, and finally, the carolina pig sauce is made from a traditional recipe that uses cider vinegar and a special blend of spices. To cap meals off, diners can choose from a menu of southern specialty desserts that include classics such as pecan pie, bread pudding, and lightly battered wraparound porches.
Reliving the experience of talking dry-rub and brisket with Food Network's Guy Fieri on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, the owner of Pat's Barbecue marveled to the Salt Lake Tribune, "For hell's sake, for a barbecue place on a dead end street in an old warehouse, to be on national TV . . ." Pat Barber's secret dry-rub lives up to the hype, adding distinctive flavors to chicken, ribs, and pulled pork cooked in a BBQ smoker, which are ably supplemented by traditional side dishes such as cornbread, mashed potatoes, and more meat. Local musicians fill the air with tuneful sounds on Friday and Saturday evening, and a rotating menu of daily specials provide variety, including Friday's offering of Burnt Ends, a house specialty made from tender brisket tips.
Aromas of smoking chicken, pork, and beef waft between the exposed-brick and blood-red walls and through the wooden rafters of Devil's Daughter Bar & Grill. Chefs wood smoke all their meats in-house and use the morsels to build Southern and Tex-Mex plates of smoked and charbroiled chicken wings, pulled-pork sandwiches, nachos, and tacos. On weekends, the restaurant reverberates with the sounds of live bands or underground house beats mixed by a rotating cast of DJs and at least one undercover Robocop. Studio lights illuminate weekly events such as trivia, poker, and pool tournaments.
There are knives on the tables at Rib City Grill, but you won't need them if you order the baby-back ribs. These ribs are basted in signature barbecue sauce, smoked until they're fall-off-the-bone tender, and then slow-cooked over hardwoods. The eatery's cooks even back their baby-back ribs with a bold claim?if you have to use a knife, they're on the house.
Baby-back ribs aren't the only specialty at Rib City Grill. Diners can also chow down on St. Louis?style ribs, burgers, and pulled-pork sandwiches on jumbo buns. Sides such as three-cheese fries sprinkled with bacon bits and fried okra round out meals, along with glasses of beer.
Customers can choose from three kinds of barbecue sauce which glaze the hickory-smoked meats at Rocky’s Rib Shack: a Carolina-style mustard sauce, a spicy Texas-style sauce, and the eatery’s signature Kansas City–style sauce. That last dressing, dubbed Rocky’s Sauce, is a tomato-based paste that's prepared 24 hours in advance and composed of 15 different ingredients. These sauces add a savory glint to many of the restaurant's slow-cooked creations—ribs, piles of pulled pork, brisket, and brisket burgers, all available here for your scratch 'n' sniffing pleasure.