Best Restaurant Worth the Drive - 2011
In Texas, barbecue aficionados have been known to drive 50 miles for lunch. And before Bayport BBQ opened in the St. Croix River town by the same name, Minnesotans in search of Texas-style smoked brisket, ribs, sausage, and chicken would have needed at least a tank or two of gas. Previously the more formal Bayport Cookery, the new BBQ spot has retained the building's pretty stained glass, but it now has white paper on the tabletops, plays gut-punching blues on overhead televisions, and serves meat by the pound, family style, on big metal trays. The meat is consistently smoky and tender, whether served sliced, pulled, sausage-cased, or still on the bone, and it can be gussied up with bites of creamy potato au gratin, baked beans, and pickles. A few other nice touches: Recycled Corona bottles filled with barbecue sauce line up on a warmer; sweet tea and bloody Marys made with white whiskey are served in Mason jars, and Bayport bakes its own artisan-style rolls in lieu of packaged white bread. When there's nary a scrap of meat left on the tray, you can take your slice of pecan pie for the road.