Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Regional Barbecue Traditions

There is no "perfect" bbq meat. Pork ribs or pork shoulder, beef brisket or beef ribs, chicken thighs or chicken's all good. Some areas of the country lean more toward pork and others tend to favor beef. There are even a few that split it down the middle. It kind of reminds me the "red state" versus "blue state" debate.

In the southeast, pork is defnitely king. Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama are traditional "pork states". Pulled pork sandwiches are hugely popular. They also favor vinegar in their bbq sauce. Mustard-based in South Carolina; thin and spicy in North Carolina. The sauce starts to thicken a little in Tennessee.

The closer you get to Kansas City, the thicker the sauce. In the midwest, you'll find a more even split of pork and beef, whether it's ribs, sandwhiches, burnt ends, or sliced brisket. It's kind of ironic, but when I lived in Missouri I had never heard of bbq brisket. Now it's all the rage.

In Memphis they love their ribs and cook them "dry" with a spice rub, or "wet" with a heavy dose of bbq sauce. They like their blues and rockabilly too.

Beef rules in Texas. Brisket is the definite meat of choice in the land of the Lonestar and armadillos. And lest you not forget, "Bob Wills is still the King" (Ray Benson and Dale Watson are fairly popular too.)

Here in Florida, we've got sunshine, Space Shuttles, armadillos, alligators, hurricanes, and....we've got a little barbecue too.

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