A road trip around the American south led Sam Evans and Shauna Guinn to open a BBQ restaurant in the UK in homage. Here are their favorite US smokers.

We fell in love with the southern states and their attitude to food and gatherings three years ago, when we quit our long-standing careers in London and embarked on a road trip across the US, eating at every barbecue joint we could afford. When we returned to the UK we knew we had to share what we had discovered. Our first kitchen takeover was a weekly pop-up in a backstreet pub in Cardiff. We went on to win the BBC Food & Farming Best Street Food award in 2015, and this year we opened our first permanent restaurant, Hang Fire Southern Kitchen in Barry, south Wales.

Counting down to our number one favorite, here is our hit parade of southern smokehouses...

10. Choo Choo BBQ, Chattanooga, TN
This simple, stripped-back, booth-style restaurant on the Georgia-Tennessee state line is a very popular local choice: the place is full of regulars who all seem to know each other and their servers. You can get a plate of ribs with two sides for under $10 (perfect for us, with our road-trip coffers dwindling). The individually cut loin ribs are meaty, with a lovely smoky ring, and glossed with sweet, rich barbecue sauce. The sides are the epitome of comfort food: the slaw is sweet and crunchy, the fried okra crisp and refreshingly bitter, and the smooth and creamy potato salad rounds it off. We absolutely love these little neighborhood joints – the hard work is evident in every forkful.

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Published by The Guardian on June 5, 2016: Written by Sam Evans & Shauna Guinn