The Motor City and its environs seem to be blowing up with barbecue joints, enough to warrant a two-part ‘cue special from Metro Times.The first installment highlights nine spots—a mix of new and old—dotting the metro area.

Any existing BBQ traditions, explains former Detroit News food editor Robin Mather in the Chicago Tribune, “come from the influx of people who moved to the Motor City from those places post-World War II and brought their favorite rib style with them.” 

While the city might not have as distinct a barbecue tradition as you’ll find in the south, Detroit pit masters are no slouches when it comes to slow-cooking pork shoulder over a hickory flame. The New York Times covered Slows Bar B Q in 2010, crediting the restaurant for its part in ushering in a food-scene revival in Downtown Detroit. 

For a metropolitan region reinventing itself amidst the economic downturn, a wave of barbecue restaurants could have a positive effect. 

[via Metro Times]