Nobody can deny the fact that without sauces, significant meat cuts, and diverse styles, you can never pull off an authentic regional BBQ. Every state has a different signature BBQ style. The cooking method and the meat cuts vary from one region to another. As BBQ is one of the most ancient methods of cooking, the variety in its types is wide and vast. However, the elements that define the history of BBQ in America are the most interesting.
This low and slow protein cooking method boasts about four different styles in the USA. Two of them are named after cities while the other two have state-inspired names. However, all of them represent a significant portion of the South and Midwest. If you are a true BBQ fanatic, it is crucial that you know what these four major BBQ styles are!
1. Kansas City Style
One of the most known US-style barbecues is Kansas city style. It is characterized by a wide variety of meats like pork, mutton, turkey, chicken, and beef. The Kansas style barbeque is the only kind that can work for a multitude of diversities. For example, for Muslims, eating pork is prohibited. They can always grill their meat according to this style and enjoy an original BBQ themed lunch or dinner. If you ask for a Kansas city-style BBQ at a restaurant, you will get served with a meat brisket with burnt ends with crispy and juicy tips. The sauces that engulf the meat in Kansas style BBQ are mostly made up of tomato with a tangy flavor.
2. Memphis City Style
Memphis city BBQ style belongs to the original southern culture of the USA. This style usually focuses on meat like pork. However, you can find Kansas City BBQ style beef, mutton, and chicken in many restaurants all over the states. The original Memphis-style BBQ is slow-cooked in a pit. That is why the meat is super juicy and flavorsome. The ribs can be cooked either dry or with gravy. That depends on the diner’s preference. Although, most Americans would prefer to have their BBQ ribs with a sweet and sour sauce. The dry ribs are marinated with a dry rub that only consists of salt and a few other spices to give an authentic flavor to the meat.
3. Carolina Style
The Carolina BBQ style meat is spicy, smoked, and is served in varying meat cuts. You can always enjoy a classical Carolina BBQ style dinner in shredded, sliced, or chopped cuts. Most BBQ experts will rub the meat with a flavorful mix of spices before smoking it to enrich its originality. You can also try to mop it with a spice and vinegar liquid during smoking to add more flavor to the meat. The Carolina style is one of the oldest American Barbecue styles and is easily seen in every restaurant’s ribs and kabobs menu. The wood that is used to fuel this type of BBQ is hickory or oak. If you are from Eastern Northern Carolina, the waiters will always serve you with a thin sauce that is usually made up of vinegar and a spice mixture,
4. Texas Style
Texas BBQ can be divided into four sub-styles. East Texas, Central Texas, West Texas, and South Texas-style. These different cooking styles are distinguished in the following manner.
- East Texas Style: The beef is slowly cooked to the point that it reaches “falling off the bone”. For this style, the meat is cooked over hickory wood and is served with a sweet tomato sauce.
- Central Texas Style: The meat is rubbed with a mix of spices and is cooked over indirect heat.
- West Texas Style: The meat in West Texas-style is cooked over direct heat. The wood used for this style is mostly mesquite.
- South Texas Style: It is more modern than any other BBQ style. The highlight of the South Texas BBQ style is a thick sauce with a texture similar to molasses.
These styles alone define BBQ in America.