5) Memphis Blues Again
Memphis is known for its music scene and barbecue. All you have to do is stroll down bustling Beale Street to taste and hear this fact. Pork is the preferred meat of choice in Memphis, especially pulled pork sandwiches served with cole slaw, which goes on the sandwich. Twice-cooked beef brisket also is a staple of Memphis-style barbecue, sliced thin and tossed in a tangy sauce made with ketchup, mustard, and molasses.
The sides are influenced by the world of soul food. Don’t be surprised to see collard greens, hush puppies, macaroni and cheese, and smoky green beans served with your Memphis-style barbecue.
6) Mutton, Honey
Kentucky-style barbecue is kind of the ugly stepchild of the barbecue world. And, for that reason, you don’t see it often, unless you happen to be in Kentucky. Barbecue in the Bluegrass State is vastly different than the stuff served in neighboring states, mostly because slow-cooked mutton (old lamb) is the specialty. This has to do with the state’s long history of sheep ranching. (What do you do with all those retired sheering sheep? You slowly smoke the tough, old buggers with a mix of hickory and oak.) The barbecue sauces, which are called “dips,” are quite different in Kentucky, as well. The most common is a black dip made with Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, and black pepper. Sides vary from sliced white bread to slaw to crispy hash served over white rice.
7) Carolina On My Mind
It’s hard to speak about barbecue in the Carolinas in the same breath, considering there are several styles of barbecue in North Carolina and South Carolina–ranging from east to west. But the one unifying factor is that pork is the meat of choice, specifically pulled pork, served with hush puppies, white rice, and red slaw, which is shredded cabbage mixed with catsup and cider vinegar. The sauces are very different depending on what state you’re in. Yet they generally are thinner than the sauces in Memphis and have lots of vinegar. You can also find mustard-based barbecue sauces and thin tomato sauces.
8) Way out West?
As previously mentioned, most barbecue snobs don’t believe there are any good barbecue restaurants west of Kansas City. But there are some hidden gems in places like Denver, Phoenix, and Seattle, if you look hard enough. Barbecue places in the far western United States are typically run by transplants from the barbecue-crazy states. It’s usually easy to tell where they land on the map because people like to decorate their restaurants with sports memorabilia and reminders of home. Why else would anyone hang a Kansas City Royals pennant on the wall? Except to let customers know they can find a burnt ends sandwich.
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