Our favourite regional BBQ styles in the US!Editorial Team
To date, we’re yet to find someone who doesn’t enjoy a good, old-fashioned barbeque feast.
Especially in countries like the US, cooking meat on a grill or a smoke oven is such a beloved pastime that it has surpassed its traditional role at summer parties and become a year-round favourite!
So much so, in fact, that there are a wide variety of BBQ styles that hail from various states and regions in the US. While the Carolina, Memphis, Kansas City, and Texas styles are some of the most widely known, they’re not all the US has to offer.
In this post, we take a look at how some of our favourite recipes are made and how they came to be as we take you on a gastronomic tour of North America!
The Carolina style
The Carolina style is perhaps the oldest variation of the American BBQ style and is a very popular preparation method for meats like pork. Here, the meat is often served pulled, shredded, chopped, or sliced before it’s sent to the table to hungry and expectant guests!
To give it a flavoursome kick, the pork is sometimes rubbed with a spice mixture before being barbequed and topped with a spice and vinegar liquid to give it the tangy flavour it has become popular for.
The Memphis style
Memphis BBQ comes in the form of two main delicacies: Wet and dry ribs and barbecue sandwiches.
Wet ribs are prepared by brushing them with sauce before and after being cooked, and the dry ribs use a dry rub for the seasoning. Barbecue sandwiches, on the other hand, are a full meal to be enjoyed with chopped pork on a bun, topped with barbecue sauce, pickles, and coleslaw.
Chopped BBQ pork is used in many non-traditional dishes too. If you find them heaped on top of your pizza or nachos, don’t be surprised!
The Kansas City style
The BBQ style of Kansas City is marked by the use of a variety of meat including beef, pork, chicken, turkey, lamb, sausage, and even fish.
The meat is smoked with a dry rub and the sauce is often served after the meat has been cooked, as a table sauce. This makes it the perfect dip for diners who like to go hard on their spice intake!
This style also uses a tomato and molasses-based sauce that makes a thick, sweet syrup that bursts with flavour with each bite.
Today, these traditions are a major part of Kansas City’s local culture and BBQ meat is served on almost every occasion from family nights to business meals and community events that bring people together.
If you’re looking for an authentic Kansas BBQ experience, Three Little Pigs BBQ’s ‘Kansas City Sweet’ BBQ Sauce allows you to enjoy one from the comfort of your own dinner table!
The Texas style
Texas BBQ is such a major part of its culture that it has at least four distinct sub-styles:
- The East Texas style or the Southern BBQ style
- The Meat Market style of Central Texas
- The Cowboy style of West Texas
- The South Texas barbacoa
When it comes to Texas-style BBQ, popular meat options include beef, brisket, and pork. These smoked treats are often served with plenty of hearty side dishes like potato salads or baked beans.
The Alabama style
Barbeque is no stranger to this city, which is known for its backyard chefs. What the Alabama style is most known for, however, is its use of white BBQ sauce.
This unique addition is often mayonnaise and vinegar-based and includes mustard, brown sugar, and spices. What we really love about it, though, is its versatility; it can be used either as a marinade or a dressing, which is perfect for the meaty dishes Alabamans love!
The main meat used for the northern Alabama preparation style is chicken—smoked chicken dipped in a flavourful white sauce is definitely a dish you need to try at least once in your life.
The California style
The California style has its roots in the buried barbecue pits favoured by Native Americans and Mexicans who inhabited the southwest deserts.
Nowadays, when we say Californian BBQ, the first city that comes to mind is Santa Maria, which is known for its succulent dishes.
The Santa Maria style is famous for using beef tri-tip, which was once grilled over coals of the native coast live oak or “red oak” wood, with spices like black pepper, salt, and garlic.
Today, mixed spices like Cattleman’s Grill California Tri-Tip Rub & Seasoning make nailing the preparation of California-style BBQ much easier for home-cooked meals!
St. Louis-style barbecue spans a flavourful variety of pork dishes, with regional favourites being the pork steak and ‘crispy snoots’, which are cut from the nose and cheek area of the pig.
Snoots have a flavour similar to pork rinds and can be served in a variety of ways—placed on a sandwich or broken into pieces and dipped in sauce are some of the most popular.
The sauce used to prepare St. Louis BBQ often contains an apple cider base, and is thinner than most condiments and has a tangy flavour compared to tomato-based sauces. This gives it a more distinct texture and flavour compared to other styles!
Regional BBQ styles in the US have something for everyone!
Barbecuing is more than just smoked meat; today, it’s a meal that represents the various histories and traditions of the United States, and one that can bring communities together.
Each regional style is a treat of its own, so find a way to try them whenever you whip up a BBQ feast at home!