Say the word barbecue to anyone in America and a different image will pop into nearly everyone’s heads. Sadly for some people, the closest thing they’ve had to a BBQ experience is when McRib season rolls around, but we all know that pressed patty of sadness falls desperately short of the ways true barbecue feeds the soul.
What can be found across the nation are the very best BBQ joints, representing the heart of several southern states, the years of skill and artistry passed down from generation to generation. There are decades (if not centuries) of deep tradition in barbecue preparation techniques, from Tennessee to Texas and every other state in between, so it’s definitely not a flash-in-the-smoker trend
However, that’s not to say you won’t find trendy takes on BBQ, even in otherwise traditional spots. (Case in point: using high-dollar Prime beef or Japanese Wagyu to cater to fans of the very best a cow has to offer-or pigs in instances where pitmasters use heritage cuts of pork.) To better make sense of what each BBQ Utopia’s known for, here’s a handy guide to smoked meats from coast to coast. Perhaps a culinary road trip’s in your future-and hopefully a trip to the salad bar.
What it is: This town’s big on pork, whether it’s in rib or pulled form, and usually uses a dry rub that includes garlic, paprika, and other spices. The meat’s cooked in a big pit, and it’s typically served with a tangy, thin, tomato-based sauce. How Marc Cohn still managed to sing that song about this city between bites of BBQ is truly remarkable.
What it is: Divided between Lexington-style and Eastern-style, both camps agree that the meat (also typically pork) should be brushed with a spice-and-vinegar mixture during cooking then served with a ketchup-based sauce. Eastern proponents use the entire pig when barbecuing, while Lexington tends to use just the pork shoulder or ribs.
What it is: Kansas City goes for the gusto-no meat is off-limits (owing to the city’s status as a meatpacking hub), and it’s all cooked super-slow and super-low, preferably over hickory wood. The sauce is most commonly a thick, sweet molasses-and-tomato concoction that sticks to ribs.
Signature dish: Burnt ends, the end of a cut of brisket that has a high fat content
What it is: Highly influenced by Czech and German immigrants, Central Texas has a huge number of meat markets that serve heaping portions of brisket and ribs smoked over pecan or oak wood. Meat is king here, and sauce and sides are treated as secondary elements. Also, Kreuz Market popularized its sausage, which is considered the gold standard of sausage around the country.
What it is: Beef and pork get ordered almost equally, but East Texas BBQ is typically chopped instead of sliced and served between two buns. It has more in common with other Southern BBQ styles than with Central Texas. Many people add healthy dashes of hot sauce, too, to give their sandwiches a kick.
What it is: A kind of between-the-extremes barbecue style influenced by both Texas and Carolina, Alabama tends to skew toward meaty sandwiches filled with pulled pork (or chicken) and cole slaw. The one true emblem of this style is the white sauce, a mayonnaise-and-vinegar mixture that can be found all over the state, and probably all over everyone’s faces, too.
Signature dish: Pulled pork sandwich with white sauce
The cold weather in most parts of Australia coinciding with EOFY celebrations is the closest thing that we’ll get to snowy Christmas vibes. And if you’re in dire need of some festive cheer after the first six months of 2023, grab your ugly sweater and head to your nearest Red Rooster for Xmas in July deals.
From June 29 – July 31, 2023, Red Rooster is serving up free food items, a chance to win $10,000 or one of 10 merch packs valued at $400 and other fun prizes. All you have to do is sign up as a Red Royalty member and spend $5 on at a location near you or online.
Each week there’ll be new delicious deals and prizes to win. The week one deals have already dropped and they’re looking pretty tasty. You can get access to them via your Red Royalty account. The more you purchase, the more chances you have to win.
Spoiler alert: you can get 10 chicken nuggets for free, right now. Brb running to Red Rooster.