ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — In the never-ending quest to find the best barbecue in the U.S., one national publication turned to Yelp to compile its list of this year’s top joints, and, no surprise, one New Mexico eatery has made the cut.
Watson’s Bar-B-Que of Tucumcari was ranked a lucky No. 13 on Travel + Leisure’s “The 25 Best Places for Barbecue in the U.S.” in its June 19 edition.
Contacted Monday right before the lunch rush, owners Stella and Jimmy Watson said they were honored that their platters of BBQ smoked meats and sandwiches had put their down-home eatery, which is located in a ranch supply store, so high on the radar of barbecue aficionados.
Travel + Leisure’s list was compiled by Yelp using an algorithm that looked at both the number of reviews and the star ratings. Large chains were excluded, and there were no more than two establishments from each state to ensure geographic diversity.
“It’s a pretty big deal,” said Stella. “Folks are very gracious” in their remarks on the social media website.
“It’s nice that people are coming off the interstate and finding us,” said Jimmy. “The food is definitely worth driving for.”
Watson’s is located at 502 S. Lake St., about a 2-1/2 hour jaunt from Albuquerque.
It’s best to arrive hungry. There’s pulled pork, brisket, pork ribs, ham, turkey, smoked sausage as well as burgers, burritos and frito pie on offer. Rounding out the menu are sides, such as potato salad, mac and cheese, coleslaw, pinto beans, homemade bread and cobblers.
One Yelpster put it this way: “The best beef brisket ever! The beans were delicious with a little bit of spice. Jimmy made us a little sampler platter. He also brought out a dish he was working on: green chile apple cobbler.”
Another raved, “If you want the best service in the USA this is the place! I have never felt so at home in an eating establishment. It was like I was at my uncle’s house. It’s a must stop on Route 66…. a real American place with values and good food.”
Business hours are Monday through Saturday, opening at 10:30 a.m. and closing “when the boss gets tired” proclaims the menu, which details the specials of the house, most of which are under 10 bucks.