BBQ Variations By Region: What To Expect

When a BBQ aficionado hears someone say they love BBQ, the first question is: what kind? Not all BBQ is the same. There are regional differences in the way the meat is cooked, the sauce used and even the sides.

Here are the main regional variations and a brief description of each.

North Carolina Style Part 1: Lexington Style

Lexington is home to a red sauce, pork shoulder based BBQ.  Lexington style BBQ is made by shedding the pork shoulder, marinating it in ketchup, vinegar, salt, and other spices, and cooking it. It is served with slaw, which is often red due to the use of the BBQ sauce in the slaw's perpetration.

North Carolina Style Part 2: Eastern Style

Eastern style is different from Lexington style in two ways. First, the entire pig is used, not just the shoulder. Second, there is no ketchup in the sauce. The sauce is not red at all. It is a yellow sauce made with mustard, vinegar, and mayonnaise. The meat is still shredded, so it is similar in that regard. If you've only had red style sauce on ribs, then this is going to real change of pace.

Kansas City Style

Kansas City has a famous BBQ that is served with a thick, sweet sauce and almost always paired with French fries. Unlike many regions that only BBQ pork, Kansas City style chefs will BBQ pork, beef, and even lamb. Some believe that this is because Kansas City has a history of large meatpacking plants, and therefore there were plenty of animals available besides hogs.

The meat is not shredded. It is sliced into cuts. Before going on the grill, the meat is dry rubbed with a mixture of peppers, paprika, celery salt and spices. Then when it is done it is served with French fries and a molasses and ketchup sauce.

Central Texas Style

While East Texas has some fine BBQ, the style that differs most from other regions is Central Texas style. This method of BBQ places all the emphasis on the meat. Sauces are an afterthought. They are often not even served on the meat, but in small paper cups. The BBQ is made with large slices of beef, pork, chicken, and even sausage. The history of this style dates back to the German and Hungarian immigrants to Central Texas. Many of them were butchers, and they sold cooked sliced meat to customers on butcher paper. They didn't shred it or soak it in sauce as was common on the East Coast.

Nowadays, most restaurants serve the meat with potato salad, macaroni and cheese, pickled jalapenos, and often an individually wrapped package of sliced white bread.

For more information, contact Bassett Caterers or a similar company.