There is no more traditionally American meal than Barbecue, a special mix of brisket, ribs, and sausage that embodies the very heart of our country's cuisine. However, unlike the more common burgers and shakes, a good barbecue joint is hard to find. From overdoing the sauce to undercooking the meat, it's easy to make simple barbecuing missteps that result in soured meals and unhappy customers. 

Which is what inspired us here at Travelers Today to come to the aid of the consumer. As a result we have listed, below, the 5 absolute best barbecue joints in the country, places that you're sure to enjoy, no matter the situation.

5. Wilber's, Goldsboro, North Carolina

If you're interested in pork barbecue, there's no better place to go than Wilber's, one of the best places for traditional, hog roast in the country. From their unique post-cooking treatment (including vinegar sauce and chili flakes) to their down-home ambience, Wilber's is sure to remind you of an era gone-by, making it one of the most memorable places on the list. The good news, though, is that along with that nostalgia, you'll get a heaping plate of barbecue that rivals any in the country.

4. Beachwood and Barbecue, Long Beach, California

The obligatory non-Southern restaurant on the list, Beachwood and Barbecue in Long Beach, California offers a slightly more modern take on the original barbecue joint. But that's not to say it suffers in quality. Indeed, the almost-gourmet style of ribs and brisket this restaurant offers is interesting and exciting: a change of pace that leaves everyone who goes there full and happy.  

3. Central BBQ, Memphis, Tennessee 

Of course, no list of the country's best barbecue joints would be complete without mention of a Memphis restaurant, and this list is no exception. However, picking the right Memphis restaurant is a task in and of itself. Ultimately, we gave the prize to Central BBQ, one of the largest joints in the city, and also one of the most universally acclaimed. Special items to check out at this place include pork rinds, barbecue nachos, and chips, all of which are made in-store, and all of which will totally change your expectations about how good a barbecue-snack can be.

2. Black's Barbecue, Lockhart, Texas

A down-home favorite, Black's barbecue in Lockhart, Texas has supposedly had its coals burning for over 100 years. If that's the case, then those coals are holding up pretty good. From massive half-racks of rib, to some of the best sausages in the country, Black's makes all of its barbecue in-house and you sure can tell. The lack of traditional sauce makes the experience even better (if you can believe it), leaving you with nothing but the taste of the meat itself, a delectable, down-home experience you can't afford to miss.

1. Oklahoma Joe's BBQ & Catering, Kansas City, Kansas

This last item on the list might not be much to look out. But that, in it's own way, makes the experience all the more rewarding. Served, literally, out of a gas station, Oklahoma Joe's is known the world-around for its unbelievable specialty sandwiches, "burnt ends," or twice-cooked brisket, and traditional rack of ribs, all best-in-their class in the state and the country. The only downside of this restaurant is the wait. Lines start forming before they open for lunch every single day, which means while your meal may be good, it'll take a while to get it. However, we believe that in the end, even the inconvenience is superseded by the sheer quality of the barbecue, making Oklahoma Joe's the best BBQ joint in the country.