Easy Breezy Recipes
Different Styles of Barbecue
By Felix Chesterfield

Few foods are as American as barbecue. There is some dispute as to
where it originated, but no other culture as embraced it and put its own
stamp on it like the good ole USA. However, that does not mean that
American barbecue comes in a standard, one size fits all variety. In fact,
barbecue varies greatly from one region in the United States versus
another; heck, it often varies greatly within these regions. Nonetheless,
there are four primary styles that Americans attribute to the word
barbecue: Kansas City, Texas, Carolina, and Memphis. Again, that is
not to say that all barbecue fits under these descriptive umbrellas, but
they are certainly the most common.’

Kansas City is probably the most famous home of American barbecue.
No less of a critic than Anthony Bourdain once said that, “The best
barbecue in Kansas City is the best the best barbecue in the world.”
Establishments such as Oklahoma Joe’s, Arthur Bryant’s, Gates
Brothers’, and (the now defunct) KC Masterpiece entrenched Kansas
City’s place in the barbecue world. The style of barbecue is typically
that of smoked and quite dry (compared to some of the others that will
be discussed here). There is also a tomato based sauce that fans feel
really separates it from the competition. Never get KC style BBQ without
burnt ends. Nowhere else does them, or at least nowhere else does
them right.

Texas also features a very distinct style of barbecue, although it is a
regional flavor that extends beyond just the state over most of the
southwest. This style dates back the old west cowboy days when meat
was purchased directly from the market and cooked out on an open
fire. Colter’s BBQ and Rudy’s represent some of the most
quintessential style Texas BBQ locations. Texas style cuisine is notable
for its dry rub and typically has a bit more kick (spice) compared to
other regional styles. Because everything is big in Texas, they really
excel with a big hunk of brisket slow cooked over a fire of mesquite.

Carolina style is quite different from the aforementioned version. This
style of barbecue would be classified as “wet.” This is because it is
dipped with a vinegar/spice mixture prior to serving. While Carolina
style can applied to just about any meat, it is most famous for its
shredded or pulled pork, usually served as a sandwich. Another unique
aspect of this style is that cole slaw with a red base is put inside the
sandwich itself. The most famous locales for Carolina style include
Stamey’s (in Greensboro) and the Lexington Barbecue Festival, one of
the largest BBQ events on the east coast.

Memphis style offers a bit of a hybrid form of the aforementioned types,
as it can be served wet or dry. This typically depends on whether a
sauce or a rub is applied. Memphis fans really pride themselves on
their ribs. Corky’s and Memphis Minnie’s are among the most popular
and famous Memphis joints.

The most interesting thing about all of this is how territorial Americans
are with their BBQ. As far as we are concerned, our favorite style is the
only style – and to hear contrary is fighting words!

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