All The Barbecue Styles In America

In the South, barbecue is a way of life. Drive a few miles in different directions and you might find totally different barbecue styles. Many parts of the United States have their own way of taking pork, chicken, or even lamb, smoking it until it crumbles, and dressing it in deliciousness. We spoke to barbecue experts across the country to see how they do it in their state. Here is a breakdown of the main barbecue regions in the United States

North Carolina

north carolina bbq

Best known for: Whole pig on the smoker, vinegar-based barbecue sauce

“The whole hog, now found in other areas, was made famous by North Carolina,” said Elizabeth Shepard of Shepard Barbecue in Emerald Isle, North Carolina. “It comes with our vinegar sauce. Usually a slightly spicy, sweet and tangy vinegar-based sauce added to the pork when done.”

Caroline from the south

south carolina bbq

Best known for: regional sauces, pork

South Carolina, that’s it. on. pork. “South Carolina barbecue has traditionally been synonymous with pork — whether it’s pulled pork or whole pork depends on the establishment,” said John Lewis of Lewis Barbecue in Charleston. “Typically [it’s] smoked low and slowly over an open fire. “The sauce is what differentiates the regions. In the northern regions of the state you will find a light tomato, the west is a heavy tomato, the south and center is mustard, and the east is a sauce vinegar-pepper.

texas bbq

Central Texas

Best known for: smoked beef brisket, pork chops, hot casing sausages

Central Texas is all about the dry rub. It is smoked over mesquite, pecan or oak wood and eaten without bread, no sandwiches.

East Texas

Best known for: ground pork and beef sandwiches

In East Texas, you can almost guarantee the meat will fall off the bone. It is marinated in a tomato-based sauce and usually smoked over hickory wood. And you’re sure to find plenty of pulled meat sammies served with pickles. “All orders come with dill pickles, sliced ​​white onions and homemade bread,” said Rick Og of Goldee’s Barbecue in Fort Worth. “We have a mustard sauce on the tables.”

south texas

Best Known For: Barbecue sauce made with barbacoa and molasses

Due to the nearby Mexican border, you will find many Tex-Mex barbecues here, such as the barbacoa. You will also see a lot of meat covered in a molasses-based sauce. Sticky, sweet and so delicious.

West Texas

Best known for: direct heat, mesquite wood

Unlike the rest of Texas, in the western part of the state they cook over direct heat with mesquite wood, so it’s more like traditional grilling than smoking.

Kansas City

kansas city bbq

Best Known For: Burnt Ends, Hickory Smoke, Thick, Sweet BBQ Sauce

If you go to Kansas City and don’t try the burnt ends, you’re missing out. They come from the “tip” half of the smoked brisket and are so fatty and delicious. You’ll also find them slathered in a tomato-based barbecue sauce.

“We use a variety of meats and smoke our meats with hickory or oak wood,” said Deborah Jones of Jones Bar-BQ. “We use a five-brick barbecue pit and hickory wood. We’re also known for our mild and thick barbecue sauces.”


memphis bbq

Best known for: smoked pulled pork, served “wet” or “dry”

Memphis is known for loving pork-ribs, pulled, shoulder-pork, pork, pork. It can be rubbed with spices like paprika and garlic in a “dry” way. If prepared “wet”, however, it will be continually brushed with sauce while being smoked.

“Marinades and whitewashes usually consist of apple cider vinegar, spices, and sometimes apple cider, Coca-Cola, or beer,” said Ernie Mellor of Hog Wild. “The finished product is completed with a well-balanced, tomato-based barbecue sauce with spices, honey, apple cider vinegar and usually a little yellow mustard. Aromatic vegetables such as onion and garlic are essentials of the sauce.”


alabama bbq

Best known for: white barbecue sauce made with mayonnaise, vinegar, lemon juice

Alabama barbecue is identified by pork, ground or sliced, served on a hamburger bun with coleslaw and dill pickles. In the north, you’ll find vinegar-based sauces, while statewide, you’ll find white barbecue sauce made with mayonnaise, vinegar, lemon juice, black pepper, and salt smothering all the meat.

“Every chicken that comes out of the pit at Big Bob Gibson is baptized in a tub of white barbecue sauce,” Chris Lilly, the barbecue pit master credited with inventing, said in a Thrillist video. “It’s a zesty, peppery flavor. It’s unique to Alabama.”


bbq kentucky

Best known for: Mutton (lamb meat) served with a Worcestershire-based dark sauce

Mutton in Kentucky (mostly western Kentucky) is thinly sliced ​​and topped with dipping sauces made with Worcestershire or vinegar and cayenne pepper. You don’t know sheep? These are pieces of mutton, usually from the shoulder, slowly roasted.


a barbecue

Best known for: regional sauces, ground and sliced ​​pork

Any barbecue place you go to in Virginia will likely have pork on the menu. But the most important thing is the sauce. Each region has its own type: Northern Virginia is known for its sweeter tomato-based sauces sometimes incorporating fruit; Central Virginia has sweet and sour sauces; and in Southern Virginia, you’ll find tomato-and-vinegar-based sauces with mustard. And then you have the Shenandoah Valley, famous for its barbecue chicken with a sauce made with apple cider vinegar.

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