Pit Stop Barbecue (address and info)
The Q: Beef brisket and pork ribs combo
It’s been around in Morton Village for a long time, but when the Debnams bought it eight years ago, the quality took a leap up, vaulting this long-time favorite ahead of other perennials like Soulfire, Blackstrap, Redbones, and Sweet Cheeks. You’re not going to get a seat in the tiny spot, so just be ready to order up the beef brisket and the pork ribs as a combo, and two servings of banana pudding, and eat in your car selfishly, because, after waiting in that line, you won’t want to give any of it up.
Union Woodshop (address and info)
The Q: Burnt ends in Memphis sauce on Texas toast
Plenty of people might give Slows the nod for Michigan, but the truth is that they're better known for their chicken and mac & cheese. And while the guys at Detroit BBQ Co. are trying their damndest to pump out Franklin-style quality and technique, when we polled local pitmasters, they spoke loud and clear for Union Woodshop. Halfway between Flint and Detroit, the Clarkston-based Q spot was actually first envisioned as a wood-fired pizza spot before they realized that where there's smoke, there should be meat. You can't go wrong with any of their meats, but it's a starter that's a surprise stand-out, a heap of burnt ends tossed in Memphis sauce that might have traditionalists screaming blasphemy, but slices of Texas toast pay attrition for any regional mismatching.