Riverport is a quintessential small-town barbecue joint, sitting on a corner in a charming East Texas town. After the place burned to the ground five years ago, the city rallied around owner Stephen Joseph. When he could barely make a profit in this secluded small town, the townspeople stepped up their patronage. There was a line out the door on the Wednesday we visited. The sweet and salty spareribs were supremely tender, as was the combination of simple pinto beans and hot-water cornbread on the side. A new method Joseph was trying for the smoked turkey breast was also a winner. The Bewley pit in back turns out a great brisket even though this is one of the few spots on our list that doesn’t use premium beef. Folks in Jefferson aren’t gonna cough up $20 a pound for it, but happily for them, Joseph does a fine job with Choice grade for $14.
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