|They only met online, but it |
changed their lives forever
Barbecue is an American word borrowed from either the Spanish or Haitian barbacoa (my favorite thing at Chipotle, btw). Although many cultures use the word barbecue (or barbeque or bar-b-cue or BBQ) to mean to cook over an open fire (that would be grilling, sweetheart) most Americans (the ones who are right) mean cooking low and slow over smoke.
And the people who do this best are the southerners. (I'm New Hampshire born and raised, New England for generations, but my belly is all southern.) The main styles of barbecue, which vary widely, are from the Carolinas, Memphis, Kansas City, and Texas. (There are lesser-known styles.) The dude and I decided, after eating barbecue on our cross-country stop in Memphis, that we should travel to all the major barbecue capitals. Three main things distinguish the difference between the styles: meat, wood, and sauce.
|Barbecuing at L.C.'s in KC|
(This next part is going to be oversimplified because whole books have been written about American barbecue traditions, and I'm writing a blogpost. Don't hate.)
Memphis-- primarily ribs. These come wet or dry. (Wet is basted with sauce at the beginning and end of, and sometimes during, cooking; dry is cooked with spice rub.) When we went to Interstate in Memphis, I willingly ate a rib for the first time, and then I got it.
Kansas City--variety of meats, although burnt ends (which I ate every day in KC) are particular to the place; these are the charred ends of brisket (beef or pork). The distinction is the barbecue sauce, which is slathered over the smoked meat and is tomato based with sweet and spicy flavors. Mmmm. FWIW, when the dude and I went to KC, we though LC's had the best sauce. We brought two bottles home with us.
Carolina-- pork; usually oak or hickory; vinegar-based sauce (sometimes mustard-based). Unless you're on the other side of the state, then all bets are off (actually it's a tomato-based sauce with vinegar and pepper). We were on the Eastern side of things when we visited. You can read the report here.
Texas--we haven't been to Texas on the barbecue tour yet. They say there are four main styles of Texas barbecue, but we're going for "East Texas" style the where beef is cooked over hickory wood and marinated in a sweet, tomato-based sauce.
We also have Owensboro, Kentucky on the tour. Their claim to fame is mutton with a vinegar based sauce...and a barbecue festival that's been going since the 70s.