Lexington KY | Best BBQ in America? | Red State BBQ

Photo Taken by @aaron_yih

Today is our last day in Lexington KY, but we have no idea if we’ll be able to leave! We received a message from United informing us that the weather may not allow us to depart. The flight from LEX to SFO is not a direct flight, and our layover is only 45 minutes or so. Our first flight from LEX to SFO got delayed, so we missed our connecting flight to SFO. We had to reschedule and catch a much later flight at 10:15pm. We won’t arrive home until 3am or so! Sometimes travel plans don’t workout as you expect. Fortunately, I discovered something unexpected. Apparently one of the top bbq joints in America is here in Lexington KY, and it’s near the airport.

Table of Contents

How I Heard About Red State BBQ

I spend a ridiculous amount of time researching the best restaurants in various places, so I’ve become very adept at discovering the best places to eat. This time, I searched something along the lines of, “best bbq in Lexington KY” haha, and a listicle featuring the best BBQ places in America came up with a place in Lexington KY!

I immediately knew that I had to try it! And now that our plane was delayed, I had the opportunity!

The Atmosphere at Red State BBQ

It’s a pretty perfect for a roadside BBQ joint in Lexington KY. The red in “Red State BBQ” definitely comes through. Even the Christmas tree was red. In addition to the excessive red, another unique characteristic is the marker writing and drawing scrawled across every possible surface that isn’t red. It’s a rainbow of strangers’ imagination, and it’s awesome.

The interior is very playful! (pc: @aaron_yih)

Close-up on the walls covered in marker (pc: @aaron_yih)

Overall, this place is fun and friendly. It’s also very clean; you can tell this place is run by a professional.

What I Ordered at Red State BBQ

It was hard to choose between meat, but one particular phrase caught my eye: “depending on availability.” This was beside something called, “Double smoked brisket.” I wasn’t sure what it was, but I figured that if it runs out, people must really like it. I ordered it. Each entree also comes with 2 sides, and I had sort of had enough fried food for a life time down here, so I opted for the green beans and something called “corn pudding.”

The Menu (pc: @aaron_yih)

I later learned that double-smoked brisket is a specific part of the brisket called the cap that tends to be more fatty and tender. They take this highly marbled piece and smoke it twice rather than just once like a traditional cut of brisket.

The green beans were actually more like snap peas or green peas, and if you’ve ever been to the south, you know that you either don’t find veggies, or you find veggies that are cooked “right,” which essentially means cooked for a very long time with a strong spiced flavor. Not my favorite, though worth a try.

It turns out that the corn pudding is almost exactly that, pieces of corn, and some sort of doughy-like pudding. It’s actually really tasty and sweet, and about halfway through, I realized that it’s likely because there’s a decent amount of butter in there. Anyway, it was delicious.

Double smoked brisket with green beans and corn pudding (pc: @aaron_yih)

Our table shared a plate of pretzels and beer cheese, which was also pretty interesting. The pretzels were insanely good, possibly because they were deep fried. The pretzels themselves were super fluffy and hot, and the outer dark part was pristine and slightly crunchy. The beer cheese is one serious flavor punch of savory and spicy. they give you a giant bowl of it, but we couldn’t even finish a third of it with the amount of pretzels they gave us. Worth a try, but the flavors may have been a bit bold, too potent for us.

Beer Cheese and Pretzels (pc: @aaron_yih)

After all that, the food was so good, I wanted to try something else before leaving, so I opted for a classic pulled pork sandwich. The bread was mediocre compared to some of the other brioches we had this trip, but the pulled pork was fantastic. I used the “Kentucky Small Batch” Sauce, which was my favorite out of the 4 different bbq sauces that they offered. If you come here, I would definitely recommend the double smoked brisket plate. It’s out of this world good!

Pulled Pork Sandwich with Kentucky Small Batch BBQ Sauce (pc: @just.me_cathy)

Overall, this place is a HOMERUN!

Pro Tip

If you check in on Yelp, you can get a free Red State BBQ bumper sticker. I probably won’t be donning this on my car, but it will remind me of ol’ red state when I’m back in school, 2,000 miles away.

Check in on Yelp and get a free bumper sticker

Thoughts and Until Next Time

I haven’t traveled for longer than a weekend for quite some time. This trip has really reaffirmed the wonders that a little exploration in life can do for your soul. If I can have such an incredible travel experience over the course of 4 days in Lexington KY, I really feel like I can have an amazing travel experience anywhere. There’s just so much to see out in the world, and you don’t really understand the breadth of it until you go out and see little parts of it for yourself.

Photo Taken By @just.me_cathy

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