Are you a BBQ lover? There are four regions in the USA which have the best bbq’d food: Carolina, Kansas City, Memphis and Texas. Here are the first two:
What you’re eating: In North Carolina and South Carolina, it is pork cooked over hardwood, usually hickory. In the western Carolinas it is served with a tomato-based vinegar sauce. In the eastern Carolinas, it is a vinegar sauce with pepper (no tomatoes). The dividing line between east and west is roughly Raleigh, North Carolina. Usually the barbecue is served with a side of vinegar-based coleslaw as well. In South Carolina, don’t be surprised if the sauce is mustard based.
Classic cut: In the eastern Carolinas, it is the whole pig, mixed together and chopped up, skin and all. In the western part of the states, it is the shoulder.
Bit of trivia: It shouldn’t be too surprising that Carolina barbecue is all about pork. After all, North Carolina has more hogs (10 million) than people (9.9 million).
Where to sample it: Lexington, North Carolina, claims to be the barbecue capital of the world. Home of western Carolina-style barbecue, the city’s claim may have merit. And every October its barbecue festival draws around 200,000 people.
What you’re eating: More than a particular meat or cut, it is the sauce that gives Kansas City barbecue its distinct character. It is a thick tomato and molasses sauce, based on one originally from Memphis, Tennesee, but sweeter and darker.
Classic cut: While pit masters in Kansas City aren’t as loyal to a specific cut as are their counterparts in other regions, burnt ends — charred fatty edges of brisket (cow’s breast) that often get smoked a second time — originated here.
Bit of trivia: Originally pit masters gave away the ends of brisket or used them in stews, figuring the meat was too fatty to serve by itself. But once the pieces earned a dedicated following, burnt ends became a staple in Kansas City barbecue restaurants.
Where to sample it: Named after the man who created the sauce the city is now known for, Arthur Bryant’s has been serving barbecue since the 1920s.