Photo: Little Outdoor Giants

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Don't worry if you can't get enough of the sweet sauce at Missouri's C&K Barbecue—owner Daryle Brantley sells bottles of it on-site.

Mild and sweet, walleye (Minnesota's state fish) should be roasted over a campfire. Your next-best option: feasting on flaky grilled fillets amid the log cabin–style decor at Tavern on Grand in St. Paul.... El Triunfo in Northfield is a teeny, cluttered Mexican market selling authentic tacos (the carne asada and al pastor are spicy and succulent) made even better by their top-secret sauce: a fiery, creamy green concoction that keeps aficionados coming back for more.

New York City chef Floyd Cardoz deems Big Bad Breakfast's biscuit sandwich—oozy fried egg, gooey cheddar and sausage, country ham or bacon—one of the best he's ever eaten: "I dream about the flavor and texture. The biscuit is spot-on, and the sausage has the perfect amount of salt and spice."

There's one outdoor table at C&K Barbecue in St. Louis, and most days, you can bet your brisket it's taken. That's because owner Daryle Brantley's signature spicy-sweet sauce—served on juicy ribs and pork—is peppery, tomato-heavy barbecue bliss. "Barbecue is much more than a meal," says the 65-year-old Vietnam vet. "It's a coming together of people, food, fun, family and fellowship. The Thanksgiving of summer."

In Great Falls, Ford's Drive-In, its obelisk-like sign a beacon of nostalgic delight, looks like a place you'd hit up after a sock hop. Care for a shake? Green apple, butterscotch, eggnog and almond are just four of your 50-plus options.... If you've never had Native American fry bread—a deep-fried, puffy disc of goodness—do so on hallowed ground: Custer Battlefield Trading Post Cafe in Crow Agency serves it up as a taco bursting with beef and beans.