What is Your BBQ Style?
BBQ style in America is one of the most highly debated food topics of all time. Over the years, many parts of America have created loosely defined BBQ regions, which use similar cooking styles, meats, and sauces but the difference is how unique the flavors in the region are and how wildly variant they are from each other.
Certain regions cook pig (either shoulders or the whole hog), some use different cuts of beef, lamb, and some chicken. The sauces are similarly varied as well. Some regions use a vinegar and pepper-based sauce for their low and slow-cooked meat. In others, their predominant flavor is mustard as a sauce base. And lastly, a majority of regions use tomato as their primary base for their BBQ sauce. You might have your favorite one, or you might not know where to even begin. So here’s a list we generated on what you can expect when you to travel across America to eat BBQ!
The uniqueness of North Carolina BBQ style is that it’s made entirely of two different kinds of pork. One being slow smoked pork shoulder in the West, known as Lexington-style and the other is a whole hog in the East or Eastern-style. Both styles agree that the pork should be brushed with a spice and vinegar mixture while cooking and served with a ketchup based sauce. It’s often topped with slaw and served on a bun, but you can eat BBQ any way you want. Here at Adam’s Prince Frederick, we have a Pulled Pork BBQ sandwich served either with our signature Adam’s BBQ sauce or North Carolina pig pickin’ sauce.
You probably thought at first that Carolina BBQ is the same for both states. They are actually vastly different! The main difference between South Carolina from North Carolina is that its’ sauce is vinegar and mustard based and they use the whole hog. This includes the white meat and the dark meat. The whole hog can be smoked for nearly a whole day. The purpose of this is to have a smokey and roasted flavor. The vinegar and mustard sauce are only used to enhance the flavor of the smoked pork.
Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City is one of the capitals of American BBQ, ribs, brisket, and burnt ends which is its’ defining trait. However, Kansas City BBQ is what really matters here – it’s not just a way to add flavor to meat, it’s an integral part of the experience itself. In addition, their side dishes are what sets them apart from everyone else. On occasion, they will even slow cook their beans just like they would with the meat. Kansas City sauce is most commonly a thick, sweet molasses and tomato based sauce that flavors beautifully with any form of meat.
In Memphis, you’ll find everything from two styles of ribs (dry and wet) to sliced or chopped pork sandwiches. A “purest” from Memphis will tell you that a dry rub rib is the way to go for traditional Memphis-styled BBQ. Their dry ribs are coated with a spice rub before they are cooked. The wet ribs have been sauced before the smoking process. A pit master will never reveal his/her secrets to you, but typically a dry rub mixture includes paprika, salt, cayenne pepper, cumin, and garlic powder.
Although Texas is a large state and there are different BBQ styles within the region, one thing for certain is that beef is king here and you’ll find brisket in all forms. Texas BBQ is set apart from other styles of BBQ. They separate the different cuts of brisket between fatty or lean cuts. Central Texas has a huge number of meat markets that serve heaping portions of brisket and ribs smoked over pecan or oak wood. Texas BBQ sauce is considered unnecessary and unbecoming of real central Texas BBQ. So if you head to Texas, don’t expect to have sauce on your BBQ.
Now, we have only listed five select types of BBQ styles in America, however, there are much more. When you’re looking for great BBQ, consider the region or style that you might prefer because after all, every BBQ place is going to be different. So, what do you think your BBQ style is?