Posted by admin | Posted in BBQ stuff, Food, News and Events, Resturants | Posted on 12-07-2012
Central Texas: Austin & Surrounding Hill Country
Here, it’s all about the supremacy of the meat, seasoned simply with salt and pepper and smoked over oak wood. Sauce is discouraged for slow-cooked beef brisket, black and crackled like bark on top and pink-tender within; spicy hand-cranked sausages (known locally as “hot guts”); and hulking slabs of pork ribs, heaped onto plastic trays with pickles and white bread. In Austin, buzzy Franklin BBQ’s Aaron Franklin spends 14 hours smoking his salt-and-pepper-rubbed brisket, which usually sells out in less than three. A classic institution built in 1924, Smitty’s in Lockhart is cavernous and dark, with smoke pits turning out remarkable fatty brisket and leaner shoulder clod, all served sans silverware.
Stanley’s Famous Pit Bar-B-Q East Texas: Dallas & Around
Lesser-known than Central Texas ’cue but equally delicious, East Texas BBQ uses sweet-tangy sauces. Both beef and pork are slowly smoked over hickory wood, roughly chopped rather than sliced and served on a bun with thick tomato-based sauce. Tender, fatty pork shoulder, glazed pork ribs, smoke-kissed brisket and spicy sausages are popular in these parts. In Dallas, Smokey John’s BBQ & Home Cooking makes excellent hotlinks, while Mike Anderson’s BBQ House specializes in brisket; two hours west in Tyler, there are award-winning pork ribs—and a line to match—at Stanley’s Famous Pit Bar-B-Q.
Oklahoma Joe’s Kansas City, MO
This beloved BBQ capital is famous for its sweet tomato-and-molasses-based sauce, poured on everything from pulled pork sandwiches and beef and pork ribs to smoked chicken and turkey. Restaurants here will smoke just about everything, usually over hickory wood. Burnt ends, flavor-packed nuggets cut from the end of smoked brisket and slathered in the tangy sauce, are a local favorite, and no platter is complete without a side of spicy-sweet baked beans. Key stops include century-old Arthur Bryant’s, which Calvin Trillin once declared “the best restaurant in the world,” and Oklahoma Joe’s, situated, uniquely, inside of a gas station.
Roper’s Ribs St. Louis, MO
The opposite side of Missouri favors grilled meats, lavished with a tomato-based, sticky-sweet barbecue sauce. The city’s namesake dish, St. Louis–style ribs, are pork spareribs trimmed into neat, easy-to-eat rectangles. Another local specialty is the barbecued pork steak, a thick slice of shoulder meat that’s seared and then slow-cooked in a tomato-vinegar sauce. Perhaps the oddest St. Louis BBQ dish is the crispy snoot, a deeply smoked pig snout that’s either served as a starter or piled onto a sandwich. Family-run Roper’s Ribs has been doling out slow-hickory-wood-smoked ribs, rib tips and crispy snoots since 1976; C&K, a perpetually crowded takeout joint, started serving pig ears and ribs doused in a thin, spicy sauce back in 1963.
Lexington Barbecue, Western North Carolina: Lexington & Around
Western Carolina BBQ, also known as Lexington-style after the city that popularized it, is squarely focused on wood-smoked pork shoulder, chopped or sliced. It’s kept juicy and sweet with heavy applications of a ketchup-and-vinegar-based sauce, and often served in sandwiches topped with a finely minced cabbage slaw. Make sure to ask for some outside brown—the crunchy, caramelized bits from the outside of the shoulder—on your plate. In Lexington proper, off Highway 29-70, no-frills Lexington Barbecue has pitmasters who expertly smoke pork shoulder and little else; in Greensboro, Stamey’s Old Fashioned Barbecue makes the best sandwich in town, topped with a pleasantly vinegary slaw and served on paper plates.
The Pit Eastern North Carolina: Raleigh, NC & Around
Eastern Carolina BBQ makes judicious use of the whole hog, quite literally—the entire pig is slowly smoked over hardwood coals, its tender meat finely chopped and mixed with bits of crispy cracklings. The unadorned pork is the star, and it’s served with a thin, astringent vinegar-and-pepper dressing. Eastern Carolina BBQ is nearly always served with a mayo-based coleslaw, fried cornmeal hush puppies and a tall glass of supersweet iced tea. The Pit in Raleigh is a touch more refined than many ’cue restaurants, but their pork is soulful and smoky, while Skylight Inn in Ayden, known locally as Pete Jones’ Barbecue, has been serving whole hog BBQ in a landmark building for over 50 years.
Central South Carolina: Columbia & Around
The stretch of South Carolina from roughly Columbia to Charleston is known as “the Mustard Belt.” The region’s distinctive mustard-based sauce originated with German settlers in the 18th century, and it’s applied liberally to whole hog ’cue smoked over open wood pits. All-you-can-eat buffets are popular in these parts, with many trays full of chopped pork and dozens of Southern sides. Columbia’s Little Pigs BBQ smokes a juicy combo of shoulders and hams, while Shealy’s BBQ in Batesburg offers an enormous buffet with smoked pork, fried chicken and side dishes galore.
Central BBQ, Memphis, TN
Pork is king in Memphis, in rib form or chopped. The city is known for its dry ribs, rubbed with a tongue-tingling combination of garlic, onion, paprika and black and cayenne pepper, slow-smoked over hickory wood. Other specialties include chopped pork sandwiches topped with a bright, mustard-based slaw, and oddities like barbecued bologna and barbecue spaghetti. When sauce is used, it’s tomato-and-vinegar-based, slightly runny and sometimes quite spicy, too. The ribs come dry or wet at ramshackle smokehouse A&R Bar-B-Que. Central BBQ serves BBQ platters (with a side of homemade potato chips) in a laid-back, comfortable space.
Nashville, TNJack’s Bar-B-Que
Nashville’s ’cue is less dogmatic than other cities’. With no strict style to adhere to, Music City’s offerings are more varied. Like Memphis, pork ribs and pulled pork sandwiches are popular, but so is Texas-influenced brisket and even smoked chicken and turkey. Tomato-based sauces run the gamut from XXX hot to tangy and mild, so there really is something for everyone in this town. Jack’s Bar-B-Que has everything from St. Louis ribs to Texas brisket, with half a dozen different kinds of sauces, while Jefferson Street fixture Mary’s Old Fashioned Pit BBQ is renowned for its chopped pork sandwich and extra-long hours, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays (it’s closed on Sundays).
Moonlite Bar-B-Que, Owensboro, KY
Western Kentucky is the capital for unsung mutton barbecue. The naturally tough meat, which comes from a sheep older than a year, is tamed by low and slow wood-smoking and regular applications of a vinegar-and-pepper basting liquid. Once tender, it’s served sliced or pulled, with a Worcestershire-based “black” dipping sauce, or as burgoo, a thick mutton stew fortified with chicken, pork and vegetables. Local classic Moonlite Bar-B-Que Inn has seating for 350 and a 40-foot buffet table with multiple mutton dishes. Old Hickory Bar-B-Que, a nearly 100-year-old family-run restaurant, lets customers order “off the pit,” meaning they’ll slice your preferred portion straight from the piping-hot whole cut.