CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — America is known as a land of restaurant chains for any kind of cuisine you could imagine.
Our nation features chains for burgers and chicken, soup and salads and almost everything in between.
But one area where the nation is lacking is for a truly national barbecue restaurant. It left many clamoring for the baby-back ribs at Chili's as something truly unique only a decade ago.
Most prefer local restaurants, featuring a particular style of "Q" associated with a regional area.
But one leading food blog has chosen 11 barbecue chains across the country where the art of smoking meat is raised to an artform. And one of the restaurants it has chosen has a Corpus Christi location.
Rudy's is listed by Thrilllist.com as one of the American barbecue chains that "you should get excited about."
The location on South Padre Island Drive is one of 34 locations in Texas. The chain also has 10 other restaurants in Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Colorado.
Rudy's aficionados know the chain started at a humble location in Leon Springs, which is now part of San Antonio near the exclusive Dominion enclave that serves as home for celebrities such as George Strait, Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich. Their signature barbecue consists of 100% oak-wood smoked meats, rather than the usual Texas Mesquite smoke, seasoned with a blend of specific spices.
It began serving barbecue in 1989, in addition to roadside gas stations and Thrillist says it may just have the best quality-to-volume ratio in the country. They have a little bit of everything -- brisket, ribs, sausages and chicken. And Corpus Christi customers are fortunate that the local restaurant serves up smoked prime rib on weekends and go-to breakfast tacos every morning. Not all Rudy's stores have them available.
Thrillist also lists a few other national chains well known to Foodies across the nation like Corky's (Memphis dry-rub ribs) and Gates (Kansas City burnt-end brisket). They also have elevated the celebrated H-E-B True Texas BBQ restaurant, featured at 10 select locations across the state, including two in San Antonio.
Would you consider Rudy's among the best barbecue in the nation? And if so, what makes them special compared to others?