At its most generic, any source of protein may be used, including beef, pork, lamb, poultry, fish, and seafood. The meat could be ground, as with hamburger, processed into sausage or kebabs, and/or accompanied by vegetables and/or bread. Sometimes the cut of meat (e.g. brisket or ribs) matters; sometimes the cut is irrelevant. The meat may be marinated or rubbed with spices before cooking, basted with a sauce or oil before and/or during cooking, and/or flavored in numerous ways after being removed from the heat. Occasionally, vegetarian alternatives to meat, such as soyburgers and mushroom caps, are prepared similarly.
Many forms of barbecuing involve tough cuts of meat that require hours of cooking over low heat that barely exceeds the boiling point of water. Some forms of barbecue use rapid cooking over high heat, being barely distinguishable from grilled meats to those who would make such a distinction. With high heat barbecuing (often called grilling), the food is placed directly above the flame or other source of heat. With low heat barbecuing, the food is off to the side and almost always under a cover, frequently with added smoke for additional flavor. It is generally agreed among the many regions of North America that "barbecuing" has four definitions:
Barbecuing is popular in the Australasian, Melanesian, Micronesian, and Polynesian islands. Every country has its own version of cuisine a la pit but some of the most legendary and continuously-practiced examples can be found in the South Pacific. In Hawaii, it’s the imu. New Zealand’s Maori have the hangi. Tahitians call it hima’a. And a thousand miles away in the Marquesas Islands, there’s the umu. As with many tropical islands' styles of barbecue, the meat is glazed with sauce and decorated with fruits.
In Australia barbecues are a popular summer pastime. Coin-operated or free public gas or electric barbecues are common in city parks. While Australian barbecue uses similar seasonings to its American counterpart, smoking or sugary sauces are used less often; more commonly, the meat is marinated for flavour and then is cooked on a hot-plate (a solid metal frying surface) or grill. Australian BBQs tend to be either all hot-plate or half and half hot-plate/grill. The barbecuing of prawns ("shrimp" in the USA) has become increasingly popular in Australia but was not popular at the time of the American TV commercial featuring Australian actor Paul Hogan.
Barbecues are also common in fund raising for schools and local communities, where sausages and onions are served on white bread with a fruit based BBQ sauce (typically apple) or ketchup Tomato sauce. These are most often referred to as "Sausage Sizzles".
In New Zealand, as in Australia, barbecue is also popular. A New Zealand barbecue is similar to a mix of American, British, Australian, and Pacific Island styles.
Bahamian barbecue is similar to Pacific Islander, Hawaiian, mainland American, UK, and Australian styles.
The Taíno method of slowly cooking meat over a wooden mesh of sticks. An example is in Spanish-speaking islands of the Caribbean, such as Cuba, Dominican Republic, and especially Puerto Rico, Lechon is a common and extremely popular delicacy. Lechon consists of taking a whole pig, slicing it from the head to the rear from the bottom, and slow-grilling the hog as it is turned on a rod.
Barbecue is also popular in all the Caribbean islands, each with their own traditions.
In southern China, pork barbecue is made with a marinade of honey and soy sauce, and cooked in long, narrow strips. This form of barbecue is known as char siu. Outdoor barbecues (usually known simply as BBQ) are popular among Hong Kong residents on short trips to the countryside. These are invariably coal-fired, with meat (usually beef, pork, sausage, or chicken wing) simply marinated with honey, then cooked using long, hand-held forks. In these sense, the style and atmosphere is closer to fondue and hot pot.
Although called BBQ, Korean BBQ is actually grilled. Bulgogi (불고기) is thinly sliced beef (and sometimes pork or chicken) marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic and chili pepper, cooked on a grill at the table. It is a main course, and is therefore served with rice and side dishes such as Kimchi. Bulgogi literally means "fire meat." The more common Korean "BBQ" is called kalbi, which is marinated ribs.
Barbecueing is very popular in Japan as part of an outdoor activity. Normally, more vegetables and seafood are incorporated than in the US, and soy sauce or soy based sauces are commonly used. Occasionally, the Japanese-style fried noodle "Yakisoba" would be cooked as well.
Yakitori is an example of Japanese barbecue. It is the Japanese version of shish kebab.
Shashlik is the Russian version of shish kebab, and like all other international variants, is cooked on a grill. Sausages are also commonly grilled over an open flame, and Chicken Kiev and pierogies are baked in ovens, after which sometimes they can be grilled.
The tandoor is a form of barbecue, particularly focusing on baking, that is common in Afghanistan, Pakistan and northern India. Grilling is also popular, and uses many spices native to the local land, such as curry.
Satay is popular in several Southeast Asian countries: Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippines. It consists of pieces of meat skewered on a bamboo stick. The meat is marinated in a mixture of spices similar to a curry mix and pulverised peanut. Most common meats are chicken, lamb and beef. In non-Muslim enclaves, you will also find pork and various other satay made from animal offal.
After the meat has been cooked over a charcoal flame, it is served with a thick gooey dipping sauce made from the same mixture as the marinate for the meat (a peanuty tasting curry like mixture).
In the mountainous regions of North Borneo, the local Kadazan people's specialities are chicken satay and snake meat satay (as of 2007 this is only available under exceptional circumstances). Before 1990 it was possible to get satay of animals like tapir, elephants, flying fox, goannas and wild boar. Unfortunately, these animals are now rare and/or endangered.
In the Philippines, Lechon is a centerpiece of the main cultural diet. It is extremely rare for any celebratory occasion to lack lechon. Filipino lechon is made similarly to the same fashion as its done in the Spanish speaking islands of the Caribbean. The hog is cut, slicing it from the head to the rear from the bottom, and slow-grilling the hog as it is turned on a rod. Even though the Spanish speaking islands of the Caribbean and the Philippines do not share a common language (the Spanish language having long died out in the latter), it is still referred to with the same pronunciation. This may be in due to both regions being ruled by Spain for many centuries.
Barbecue is also the term for skewered pork or chicken, marinated and basted with sweetish sauce made from catsup, pineapple juice and/or 7-Up. Chicken barbecue is often served with what is popularly known as Java sauce.
Nomadic Mongolians have several barbecue methods, one of them called "Khorkhog". They first heat palm-sized stones to a high temperature over the fire and sandwich several layers of lamb and stone in a pot. The cooking time depends on the amount of lamb used. It is believed that it's good for your health if you hold the stone used for cooking.
Another way of cooking is a "boodog" ("boo" means wrap in Mongolian). Usually marmot (black tail prairie dog) or goats are cooked in this way. There is no pot needed for cooking "boodog", after slaughter and dressing, the innards are put back inside through a small hole and the whole carcass is cooked over the fire.
The Mongolian barbecue often found in restaurants is a style of cooking falsely attributed to the mobile lifestyle of nomadic Mongolians. Having its origins in Taiwan in the mid to late 20th century, the so-called "Mongolian barbecue", a popular dish in American and Canadian Chinese restaurants, consists of thinly sliced lamb, beef, chicken, pork, or other meat, seasonings, vegetables, and noodles, or a combination thereof, that are quickly cooked over a flat circular metal surface that has been heated.
See also: Mongolian cuisine
Sorts of beef steaks, chicken parts, middle eastern kebab made from beef and lamb, hot dogs and beef burger and the known Shish Taoouq and Kebob.
Mangal, Arabic for a grill, is the act of grilling meat on coal's outdoors and also known as "On the fire"
There are various types of barbecued Persian Kabob. The main type is koobideh kabob, which is seasoned ground beef that is skewered and barbecued outside on a charcoal flame. There is also a marinated chicken kabob called joojeh kabob and a filet mignon steak kabob, called kabob barg. Both are skewered as well. All three main types of Persian kabob are usually served with Iranian style saffron rice and salad Shirazi, but can also be eaten with middle eastern lavash bread.
The braai (abbreviation of braaivleis, Afrikaans "meat grill") started out as a major social tradition amongst the Afrikaner people of Southern Africa, though the tradition has since been adopted by South Africans of all ethnic backgrounds. The word braai is very popular in South Africa; it replaces the standard English word barbecue, which is almost never used in South Africa, except on chips packages. One won't find barbecue wood or wood for the barbecue in the supermarket; instead one will find braaiwood.
The braais are utilized in cooking almost daily by many South African families.
Germans are enthusiastic about their version of barbecue, grilling ("Grillen"), especially in the summertime. It is the one area of traditional home cooking that is a predominantly male activity. Germans grill over charcoal or, increasingly, gas, and grilled meats include all of the local sausage variations as well as steaks (especially marinaded pork steaks from the shoulder) and poultry. Regional festivals feature grilled items ranging from eel to trout, whole sides of pork or beef, chicken, and duck. Smoking is common practice in German butchering, but pure smoke-based techniques have not yet entered popular practice. Barbecue variations are also popular among the immigrant communities in Germany, with notable traditions of outdoor grilling in Germany developed by immigrants and visitors from the United States of America, Turkey, Greece, other Balkan States, and among the German-speaking immigrees from the states of the former Soviet Union.
Barbecue in Scandinavia has a unique feel, implementing traits of traditional Scandinavian gourmet cuisines. In addition to more traditional meats such as chicken, beef, lamb, and pork, meats from wild game are common, especially venison (deer meat). A sauce made from Juniper berries is often put on top of the meats when served.
Barbecuing is popular in Mediterranean countries. It is influenced from traditional Mediterranean gourmet cooking. Olive oil is a key part of the Mediterranean barbecue style, as it is in the region's gourmet cuisine. The most common items cooked are chicken, beef steaks, souvlakis/brochettes, halloumi cheese, and pita bread, with other traditional Mediterranean ingredients, and may be grilled, baked, or both. In addition, some dishes combine grilling with braising for more variety. Often, many barbecue meat items are marinated with olive oil and citrus juice mixtures, and then garnished with various herbs and spices; basic persillade and several variations are often put on top of the meat.
Barbecuing is a popular al fresco cooking and eating style, common in both the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. Many homes in both countries have a barbecue, usually located in the home's back garden. Most popular are steel-built "kettle" and range-style barbecues, with wheels to facilitate moving the barbecue. Due to the typically wet weather of the climate of the British Isles, during the autumn and winter, many British and Irish people store their barbecues in a garden shed or garage, although permanent brick barbecues are also common.
In recent times, barbecue cookoff competitions are beginning to take place in the United Kingdom and Ireland, similar to those in the United States. Some of these barbecue competitions also allow teams from both countries to compete against each other. Similar competitions are also held in Canada, continental Europe, and Australia.
The most common foods cooked on a British-style barbecue are chicken, hamburgers, sausages, beef steaks, shish kebabs, and vegetarian soya or quorn based products, and can be grilled, baked, or a combination of both. Such vegetarian products require extra attention due to their lower fat content and thus tendency to stick, as well as their weaker structure due to the manufacturing process of such foods. A sheet pan placed on top of the surface and a drip pan placed below the surface can assist the stability of the food as it is being prepared; the sheet pan holds very soft items in place, while the drip pan catches any residue from items that are stuffed or coated with breadcrumbs or other batter. Less common food items include fish, prawns, lobster, halloumi (cheese), corn-on-the-cob, squashes, potatoes, plantains, asparagus, beetroots, pork fillets, pork patties, and pork or beef ribs. Similar to the United States, barbecue sauce is sometimes spread onto the meat while it is cooking. All the major supermarket chains now offer a range of barbecue products, although availability is usually limited to the duration of the "barbecue season" (late spring to early autumn).
Barbecue in the UK is mostly influenced by traditional English, Scottish, and Welsh cuisines. However, as modern British cuisine as a whole is also heavily influenced by its multi-ethnic minority communities, Continental Western European, Scandinavian, and Mediterranean cuisines, and to a lesser extent, Middle Eastern, Asian, Oceanian, and Oriental cuisines, may also occasionally influence the food cooked at the British barbecue. For example, the barbecue sauce may contain Juniper berries, and in addition to that, persillade may also be put on top of the meat as a garnish. Overall, British barbecue is similar to a mix of American, Australian, German, Scandinavian, and Mediterranean styles.
In the Republic of Ireland, the Irish people have their own tradition of barbecue which is influenced by traditional Irish cuisine. As with British homes, many Irish homes also have a barbecue. The most common meat items are chicken, beef steaks, lamb chops, and sausages, but in addition to meat and vegetables, potatoes, a staple in Irish cuisine, are also cooked, and barbecue sauce is spread onto the meat while cooking, which can either be grilled, baked, or both. Sometimes, the potatoes are mashed and combined with sausages to produce a dish known as bangers and mash. As with the United Kingdom and the other islands of the British Isles, the barbecue season is somewhat limited due to its climate. Overall, the Irish barbecue style is similar to a mix of American, UK, and Australian styles.
Canadian barbecue takes many influences from its American neighbour down south, but also takes influences from British, Irish, French, German, Central European, Mediterranean, and Australian barbecue styles. The most common items cooked on a Canadian barbecue are chicken, burgers, ribs, steaks, sausages, and shish kebabs, and barbecue sauce is brushed on when the meats are served. As in the United States, barbecue cookoff competitions are quite common. These competitions are conducted bilingually, in both English and French, to allow teams from Quebec to compete (Quebec's first language is French while the other provinces use English as their first language). Barbecue cookouts, either pit-smoking, baking, grilling (charbroiling, gridironing, or griddling), or braising (by putting a broth-filled pot on top of a charbroil-grill or gridiron-grill), can also be combined with picnics, again the same as in the United States.
Regional varieties are present between English Canada and Quebec, and regionally within English Canada. Since mass consumer society allows once traditional local products to be sold in all regions, these are to be considered stereotypical examples only. British Columbian barbecues would most like feature salmon and chicken cooked indirectly on a cedar plank, a method indidengous to the Pacfic coast. Those of the Prairie Provinces would like feature beef steaks and sausage.
In London, Ontario, the London Rib-Fest, where barbecue ribs are cooked and served, is the second largest barbecue rib festival in North America. Steaks and chicken are also cooked, and are usually either grilled or baked. This style is closest in style to Memphis, Kansas City and St. Louis styles of barbecue in their neighbor to the south, but also takes influences from British, Irish, and Australian styles.
Quebec-style barbecue is distinct from the kind of barbecue that is done in the rest of Canada. While Anglo-Canadian barbecue resembles Kansas City, Memphis, Texas, and Kentucky regional barbecue styles, with additional influences from national British, Irish, and Australian styles, Quebec barbecue draws closer and greater influences in style from Continental Central European and Mediterranean grilling, baking, and braising traditions and Louisiana barbecue, which likewise is also distinct from the barbecue styles of the rest of the American Deep South due to the influences of the unique regional cuisines of the state: Cajun cuisine and Louisiana Creole cuisine, which both descend from French and other Central European and Euro-Mediterranean cuisines. However, there are still a few influences, albeit rather distant, from the southern United States, coming mainly from Kansas City. As both Louisiana Cajuns and Quebecoises are descended from French colonists and immigrants, various aspects of their cultures are quite similar. Quebec barbecue is overall a mixture of Louisiana Cajun and Creole traits and national French, German, Central European, and Mediterranean gourmet traits, along with a few hints of Irish and Aboriginal influences, as there are several Aboriginal tribes living in Quebec, and many Irish immigrants have also settled there throughout its history, and thus have also made significant contributions to the cuisine of Quebec. In addition to rubs and sauces, the meats are marinated in various mixtures containing olive oil and citrus juices, persillade is often added as a garnish, and meat skewers, called brochettes (French) or souvlakis (Greek), are also very common. The meats, along with various other items, are often either grilled (charbroiled, gridironed, or griddled), baked, braised, or smoked, depending on the various different cuts of the meats.
In Mexico, the carne asada (literally meaning "roasted meat") consists of marinated cuts of beef rubbed with salt and pepper, and then grilled. Normally, it is accompanied with tortillas. This dish is more common in Northern Mexico, however in Central Mexico it can be also found.
Although regional differences in barbecue are blurring, as are many other aspects of U.S. regional culture, some variations still exist. The continental mainland of the U.S. is known for its barbecues, which often consist of either baking, grilling (charbroiling, gridironing, or griddling), braising (by putting a broth-filled pot on top of a charbroil-grill or gridiron-grill), or smoking various meats (depending on the various cuts). Much of the population throughout the country holds barbecues every year, and barbecue cookouts are also often combined with picnics. One of the most frequent days for barbecuing and picnicking is their National Independence Day, which is celebrated on July 4. Americans tend to barbecue meats such as pork, beef, lamb, chicken, etc. In addition, during the holidays, people in the southern regions of the country also tend to barbecue whole turkeys. Barbecue cookoff competitions are very common throughout the southern half of the country, and more recently have gained exposure in the northern part of the mainland country and into Hawaii and even Canada and beyond.
Alabama barbecue most often consists of pork ribs, pork shoulder, and chicken slowly cooked over hickory smoke. Pork shoulder may be served either chopped, sliced, or pulled. Some diners also specify a preference for either "inside" or "outside" meat, a reference to the particular section of the shoulder the meat is taken from. "Inside" meat is considered to contain more moisture while "outside" meat is usually drier.
While Alabama barbecue is typically served with a spicy, tomato-based sauce, a mayonnaise and vinegar based sauce is also popular in the northern parts of the state. Known as "White Sauce" or "Alabama White Sauce," this particular barbecue sauce is predominantly served with chicken and pork. This style of barbecue sauce is often attributed to Bob Gibson of Decatur, a well-known barbecue chef. Additionally, the barbecue in the eastern sections of the state often serve barbecue with a sweet and spicy mustard and vinegar based sauce. Much like the barbecue styles of neighboring Georgia and Tennessee, Alabama barbecue is usually considered a variation of the broader "Memphis Style" of barbecue. Barbecue in Alabama is generally served with a uniquely wide range of "country style" vegetables, as well as traditional sides of french fries, baked beans and coleslaw.
"Whole-hog" style preparation is also common in Alabama, where a whole pig is cooked without being separated by parts prior to its preparation. Because of the nature of "whole-hog" preparation, this style is usually found at private gatherings and homes rather than in barbecue restaurants. Whole-hog barbecue is usually served to groups on a common table in a picnic-style setting and can be traced back to the social gatherings in rural towns associated with the hunting and preparing of pigs and hogs from the countryside, an event that routinely attracted large crowds.
Located between California and Texas, Arizona barbecue is similar to Texas barbecue, but also takes Californian and Missouri-style traits. Ribs, chicken, steak, and sausage are popular in this state. There are many barbecue restaurants in Arizona that serve Deep Southern-style barbecue as well, adding to Arizona's barbecue influences. As Arizona is a southwestern state, the barbecue style is also influenced by southwestern cuisine. The barbecue sauce used in Arizona is tomato-based, as are all western states.
Arkansas is in some ways a crossroads of American barbecue. This is largely due to its location—firmly rooted in the Deep South but close enough to the Midwest, Texas, and Tennessee to incorporate Kansas City, Memphis, and Texas-style barbecue traits. It is one of three states that act as a crossroads for American barbecue; the other two are Oklahoma and Louisiana.
Like all true southern barbecue, meat is never exposed to high or direct heat. Instead it is smoked at low temperatures for long periods of time (over 6–24 hours for many cuts of pork).
Pork and beef appear on almost all menus, although pork is more popular in the Delta than in the Ozarks. Arkansas-style ribs are a key attraction and similar to those had in Memphis, which lies across the Mississippi River from Arkansas.
A unique feature of barbecue in Arkansas is prevalence of chicken, evidence of a particularly strong poultry processing industry led by companies including Arkansas-based Tyson Foods, as well as ConAgra and Pilgrim's Pride. Barbecue chicken, Arkansas-style, is sometimes marinated with a "dry rub", smoked, and divided into edible portions after it is completely cooked. Most has sauce applied within the last few minutes of cooking. Barbecue sauce can be applied by the diner.
Another characteristic of Arkansas barbecue is that a barbecued pork or beef sandwich is usually served with a thin layer of cole slaw atop and/or underneath the meat. Arkansas cole slaw, which is not as sweet or creamy as found in other states, provides a toothsome crunch and prevents the sauce from soaking into the bread. Barbecue sandwiches are traditionally served on slices of white bread. Additional cole slaw and potato salad are traditional side dishes.
The best illustration of the confluence of culinary influences that come together to make Arkansas barbecue is the sauce. Most restaurants have a thin tomato base sauce that is vinegary and peppery, much like its Deep South ancestors, but incorporates some of the sweetness found in Kansas City-style sauces. To varying degrees, Arkansas sauces contain a sweetener (usually sorghum molasses), but many are not thick and never taste syrupy. They are, however, noticeably smoother (i.e., less acidic) than eastern sauces, particularly those from eastern Carolina.
Arkansas sauces sometimes tend to be spicier than those found in other states. Most restaurants serve at least two different sorts of sauce — “regular” and “hot”. The “hot” variety incorporates more pepper into the already spicy “regular” sauce.
In Northern California, Oakland is a center for traditional BBQ and other soul food side dishes that are popular in other regions of the country such as Kansas City and Memphis. In Southern California, the African American communities of the Southern Los Angeles are the home to many a storied barbecue restaurant.
Santa Maria has a style involving a 2-3 inch cut of top sirloin or tri-tip steak. More popular is the whole cut of the tri-tip rump, which resembles a roast, smothered with barbecue sauce and served with pinquito pink beans, plantains, grilled French bread, and salsa as a garnish. The tri-tip is rolled in garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper just prior to grilling over red oak wood or coals. Some old timers soak their tri-tip in a flat beer marinade the night before grilling, while others use a red wine vinegar, tomato, and oil basting barbecue sauce during the grilling. The most common seasoning when preparing the tri-tip for the pit is a commercial blend, Susie Q's. It is usually liberally applied and rubbed deep into the meat to assist in the searing process. Other common items grilled on a Californian barbecue include chicken, ribs, and other types of beef steaks. The barbecue sauce used in this state is tomato-based, as with all other western states. Pork baby back ribs are popular for barbecue in the Western region in comparison to the popular use of spare ribs in the Southern United States. The California barbecue scene is influenced by the southwestern regional styles from Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, and New Mexico, as well as the national cuisines of Australia and Mexico.
There are three variants of barbecue in Florida, based on the parts of the state. The first is the Deep Southern style, found mainly in northern and inland Florida, which is influenced by the barbecue styles of states such as Mississippi, Tennessee, and Georgia. The second is Floribbean barbecue, found in some coastal Florida areas, which is an amalgam of Deep Southern, Australian, Mediterranean, and Indo/Afro-Caribbean barbecue styles. The third is tropical barbacoa, found in southern Florida, which is Floribbean barbecue further mixed with Latin American cuisine. Barbacoa was brought to southern Florida by immigrants from Cuba, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, and other Latin American countries, and blends Mexican, Cuban, Brazilian, Argentinian, Jamaican, Bahamian and American Deep Southern barbecue traits. Overall, Floridian barbecue as a whole is best described as a mix of Deep Southern and Indo/Afro-Caribbean styles, with occasional Mediterranean, Australian, and Latino influences. The Latino-Floribbean barbacoa is loosely comparable to Tex-Mex cuisine in that there are some Mexican influences in Latino-Floribbean cuisine, as Mexican dishes such as fajitas and nachos are popular in Florida as they are in Texas.
In northern and inland Florida, the southeastern pulled pork style of barbecue extends from Georgia into Florida with minor variations. Texas, Tennessee, and Louisiana barbecue styles, as well as Native American Tribal cookery styles (particularly the Seminoles) also influence the Northern Floridian barbecue style. In addition to pulled pork, baby back ribs, pork patties (sausage patties, rib patties, or spam), pork fillets, short ribs, chicken, steak, brisket, burgers, string sausages, and shish kebabs, local Floridian meats such as mullet, a type of fish, are also smoked. Other seafoods such as other kinds of fish, as well as shrimp and lobster, are also routinely grilled over direct heat or baked with both direct and indirect heat. Barbecue sauces in this state tend to blend tomato and vinegar bases, drawing influences from Kansas City, Memphis, Louisiana, and Texas-style sauces. In some cases, the meats may also be cooked by combining a dry heat charbroil grill with a broth-filled pot for moist heat to braise, a technique known as barbecue-braising.
In some sections more torward the central and southern coasts of Florida, the local barbecue style mixes traits of northern/inland Floridian (Deep Southern and Native American) barbecue with traits of Indo/Afro-Caribbean barbecue, particularly from Jamaica and the Bahamas, due to their proximities to the Florida coasts. As Cajun and Australian peoples sometimes move to this area as well, their cuisines have also influenced some Floridian cuisine. It basically takes the same items grilled on a Deep Southern barbecue and mixes it with tropical flavors. The meat may also be marinated with an olive oil and citrus juice mixture, and also garnished with persillade or other herb and spice mixtures. In addition, the dishes can also sometimes be decorated with fruits, similar to a mix of Hawaiian and Australian barbecue styles. Plantains are also commonly grilled in this region.
In southern Florida, the influx of Cuban immigrants has brought with it a style of cooking pork shoulder outdoors in which the pork is marinated in mojo, a marinade including sour orange juice and garlic, and then placed in a caja china, (literally "Chinese box"), a wooden box clad on the inside with metal, and with hot coals placed in a tray on the top. When the pork is completely done, the resulting texture is very similar to Deep Southern American-style pulled pork, and the meat is then smothered with barbecue sauce. In addition, Mexican immigrants have also introduced fajitas and barbacoa tacos, similar to their Texas counterparts, and Argentinian chimichurri, an herb and spice mixture similar to persillade, is also sometimes added as a garnish. Rodizios are also common in this region's barbecue style.
Georgia barbecue is based on pork, usually a shoulder cut or "Boston Butt" which is slow-cooked over an open pit with oak and/or hickory and served with a spicy, tomato-based sauce. Georgia variants of this Memphis-style sauce may contain some combination of ketchup, molasses, bourbon, garlic, cayenne pepper, and other ingredients.
Barbecue in the eastern part of Georgia (from St. Simons Island to Augusta) usually consists of finely chopped pork served with a side of hash (a thick, tomato-based stew often flavored with meat drippings and other vegetables) over long grain white rice. Pork ribs, chicken, or beef brisket accompany pork on many menus, slow cooked "bare" (i.e. without the addition of spice rubs or sauces) over wood coals and served accompanied by "hash and rice" and sweet pickles. Mustard-based potato salad or traditional mayonnaise-dressing coleslaw are often served as a side dish. East Georgia barbecue is also known for the exotic flavors found in many of its sauces. Barbecue in central Georgia is most often served with Brunswick stew instead of hash, along with a wider selection of more traditional side items than in other areas of the state. Northeast Georgia barbecue is known to serve finely chopped pork most often taken from a slow roasted whole hog, rather than individual pork shoulders. The meat is served with a thinner, vinegar-based sauce similar to the sauces found in South Carolina. Barbecue found in the western sections of the state greatly resemble Alabama-style barbecue. Restaurants in this area typically serve a mustard and vinegar based barbecue sauce which often features the addition of jalapeños or other hot peppers. Meats in West Georgia barbecue are more typically cooked over oak (particularly White Oak) coals, and are often served along with dill pickles and/or grilled slices of Vidalia onion. This area also features the greatest variety of side dish offerings, often including "country vegetables" such as sweet potatoes, collard greens, lima beans, and corn. West Georgia barbecue is sometimes served with cornbread, although the more traditional offering of white bread as an accompanying starch is still most common. Other, smaller areas of the state feature numerous variations of these styles of barbecue including dry-rubs and hickory smoke sauces. Vienna, Georgia is notable as the home of The Big Pig Jig, one of the Southeast's largest pork barbecue cook-offs, which has been featured on the Food Network.
In Hawaii, the local barbecue style is mainly influenced by those of the South Pacific Islands of Oceania. However, many immigrants from the mainland, as well as other immigrants from Australia and the Caribbean, brought their own styles into Hawaii and mixed it into the Hawaiian barbecue scene. In addition to meats, plantains are also grilled, glazed with honey. Likewise, the meats are glazed with sauce, cooked over Kiawe and Guava wood, and decorated with fruits when it is served. Overall, Hawaiian barbecue is best described as a mix of mainland American, Australian, Caribbean, and Pacific Island barbecue styles.
In Kentucky, barbecue also has a long and rich tradition. Mutton is the most notable specialty in Western Kentucky, where there were once large populations of sheep. However, mutton is virtually unknown in The Purchase of the extreme west, where "barbecue" without any other qualifier refers specifically to smoked pork shoulder. A vinegar- and tomato-based sauce with a mixture of spice and sweet is traditionally served with the meat, though not always used in cooking. The Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn in Owensboro is the most famous of all Kentucky BBQ places, and Owensboro hosts an International Bar-B-Q Festival every year during the second weekend in May. Western Kentucky BBQ (more specifically, Purchase BBQ) has also been transplanted to Lexington by way of Billy's BBQ near downtown, a favorite among University of Kentucky basketball and football fans. A great deal of "Kentucky barbecue" has found its way into southern Indiana, where it has earned widespread favor. Traditionally, a combination of hickory and oak is burnt.
Louisiana is another crossroad point in American barbecue. The local barbecue style mixes Texas, Kansas City, Memphis, and Deep South barbecue traits with additional influences from Cajun cuisine and Louisiana Creole cuisine, which makes for a unique style that is distinct from the rest of the Deep Southern States. Chicken, ribs, steak, and sausage are very common in the state, as well as plantains. In addition, skewer stick dishes called brochettes or souvlakis, both of which consist of meat, vegetables, bread, and sometimes plantains on a stick, also known as shish kebab or frigărui, is also cooked in the Louisiana barbecue due to the influences of Cajun and Louisiana Creole cuisine, of which the former is in turn influenced by French cuisine, a major branch of Mediterranean cuisine, and the latter, in addition to French cuisine, is also influenced by Spanish cuisine, Albanian cuisine, and Greek cuisine, three other major branches of Mediterranean cuisine. As with other states, the meat is rubbed with certain seasonings (and sometimes bread crumbs as well), and barbecue sauce is spread over the meat when it is cooked, but Louisiana in particular sometimes marinates the meat in an olive oil and citrus juice mixture before cooking, and then adds a garnish known as persillade, which consists of garlic, parsley, and olive oil, and sometimes other herbs and spices. In addition to smoking, baking, and grilling, a special braising technique called barbecue-braising is also used to prepare meats, by combining a direct dry heat charbroil grill with a pot filled with broth for moist heat. When barbecue-braising, the meat is first grilled directly on the grill surface, then put in the broth-filled pot to braise, and then taken out and grilled again to finish, effectively cooking the meat three times, starting out fast, then slowing down, and speeding up again. Overall, Louisiana barbecue is best described as not only a crossroads of barbecue within the United States, but also as a crossroads between the American Deep South and Mediterranean Europe, particularly the countries of France, Spain, Albania, and Greece.
Like its neighbor Alabama, Mississippians prefer pork to other meats, usually pork shoulder, or whole hog. Most restaurants serve only pulled pork, though some also serve chicken halves and beef steaks. Unlike the surrounding states, a purely vinegar-based sauce is preferred; in fact, many sauciers take a great deal of pride in using absolutely no tomato in their creations. Honey and/or Brown Sugar are frequently used as a sweeteners in Mississippi-Style Barbecue Sauces.
Though most barbecue in Mississippi is pork shoulder slow-cooked in a smoker (either a drum, or a converted shed), special events call for open-pit barbecue, which is still common practice in some parts of Mississippi. A whole, freshly slaughtered hog is brought to the site very early in the morning while a pit, generally half a foot deep by several feet wide and broad, is filled with hickory wood. The wood is allowed to burn to coals before a grill is laid down, and the hog is smoked whole over the embers. The process usually takes an entire day, and if begun early enough, is ready for a special kind of buffet meal known as a "Pig pickin'." There are numerous pig-cooking competitions throughout Mississippi each year, one of which is the "Pig Cookoff" at April's Super Bulldog Weekend at Mississippi State University. Another, held during the annual Rivergate Festival in Tunica is one of several qualifying preliminary competitions for the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest in nearby Memphis, Tennessee.
In Missouri, beef is a popular meat for barbecue, especially in the Ozarks. Often the beef is sliced and a tomato-based sauce is added after cooking. About half of the supply of charcoal briquets in the USA is produced from Ozark forests (e.g., Kingsford brand), with hickory "flavor" being very popular.
Barbecue in St. Louis often uses pork and features a sauce that is typically tangier and thinner than its Kansas City cousin, with less vinegar taste. It somewhat resembles the Memphis style sauce. Maull's barbecue sauce is representative of the St. Louis style. The most famous barbecue competition in St. Louis is held annually during the July 4th holiday at Fair St. Louis.
A quick and easy Missouri-style barbecue sauce can be made from mostly ketchup, some brown sugar, a little mustard, and a dash of Worcestershire sauce.
Kansas City is sometimes referred to as the "world capital of barbecue." There are more than 100 barbecue restaurants in the city and the American Royal each fall claims to host the world's biggest barbecue contest.
Kansas City barbecue typically consists of brisket and burnt ends, pork, lamb, and beef ribs, steaks, chicken, and turkey. Meat is more often sliced than shredded. Kansas City barbecue is served with the sauce on the side, or mixed into the meat, depending on the establishment or personal preference. Kansas City style uses a sweet, spicy sauce with a tomato base.
The classic Kansas City-style barbecue was an inner city phenomenon that evolved from the pit of Henry Perry from the Memphis, Tennessee area in the early 1900s and blossomed in the 18th and Vine neighborhood. Arthur Bryant's was to take over the Perry restaurant and added molasses to sweeten the recipe. In 1946 Gates and Sons Bar-B-Q was opened by one of Perry's cooks. The Gates recipe added even more molasses.
In 1977 Rich Davis, a child psychologist, test marketed his own concoction called K.C. Soul Style Barbecue Sauce. He renamed it KC Masterpiece and in 1986 he sold the sauce to the Kingsford division of Clorox. Davis retained rights to operate restaurants using the name and sauce. Only one of the restaurants remains in the suburb of Overland Park, Kansas.
In Nevada, the local barbecue style blends traits from Texas, Arizona, and California, as well as from the Deep South. The sauce is vinegar based, and chicken, ribs, sausages, and steaks are the most common items cooked, either grilled or baked.
Within North Carolina, there are two regional barbecue traditions, both based on the slow-cooking of pork, served pulled, or chopped. In Eastern North Carolina, typically the whole hog is used, and the dominant ingredients in the 'sauce' are vinegar and hot peppers. In the Piedmont, in western North Carolina, Lexington-style (or "Western") barbecue is the norm. It is prepared from primarily pork shoulder and served with a sauce that contains tomato sauce in addition to vinegar. The tomato-based sauce, called "dip" by some, can be made with ketchup and is thinner and less sweet than most bottled barbecue sauces available nationwide. Except for the "whole hog" preparation, hams are not generally barbecued.
Throughout the State, as a noun, the term "barbecue" refers to slow cooked pork. It is almost never used to refer to a backyard cookout, although any meat basted in a barbecue sauce and cooked over heat can still be considered "barbecued," as an adjective; for example, "barbecued chicken," "barbecued steak," or "barbecued ribs." A common home preparation called "chicken barbecue" is oven-braised chicken pieces with a sauce, usually thin and slightly spicy, although it can also be braised on the grill by putting a broth-filled pot on top of a charbroil-grill or gridiron-grill, a technique known as barbecue-braising.
Common side dishes include hushpuppies, coleslaw, french fries, boiled potatoes or potato salad, green beans, corn sticks, Brunswick stew, fried okra, plantains, and collard greens, followed with cold sweet tea, peach cobbler, and banana pudding. In the popular North Carolina State Legislative Building cafeteria, accompaniments include fried pickle. Also popular is the "barbecue sandwich," consisting of barbecue, vinegar/pepper sauce, and sweet coleslaw served on a hamburger bun. A "barbecue tray" is a thick paper rectangular bowl with barbecue and french fries or hushpuppies served side-by-side. The meat may already have sauce mixed in, or the diner may add his own.
The state's best known annual food festival is the Lexington Barbecue Festival. It is normally held on one of the last two Saturdays in October. Attesting to its popularity, Carolina-style barbecue restaurants are scattered along the Eastern seaboard and tubs of NC chopped barbecue can be found in many grocers.
The third crossroad point of American barbecue, the Oklahoma barbecue style reflects the state's geographic location. Located south of Kansas City, north of Texas and west of Memphis, Oklahomans like the beef brisket favored by their neighbors in Texas, the sweet spicy sauce typical of Kansas City and the pork ribs that are found in Memphis. However, Oklahoma barbecue also includes pork, chicken, sausage, and bologna. In Oklahoma, barbecue refers to meat that has been slowly cooked over wood smoke at a very low temperature, for a very long time. The woods most commonly used for smoking meat include hickory, oak, mesquite ,and pecan.
South Carolina features four types of barbecue sauces: mustard, vinegar, heavy tomato, and light tomato. The meat used in South Carolina is consistent throughout the state, slow-cooked pulled pork. In the Palmetto State, the term "barbecue" is most commonly a noun, meaning hickory-smoked, pulled pork. Most South Carolinians usually refer to grilling or baking steaks, sausages, or other meats as a steakhouse or picnic meal as opposed to a barbecue meal, although they sometimes tend to overlap. Barbecued pork is cooked at low temperatures for longer times than grilled or baked meats, which are cooked relatively quickly at high temperatures.
In the Pee Dee and Lowcountry coastal region, a vinegar and pepper sauce is prevalent. Examples of this vinegar-based sauce can be found in establishments like McCabe's BBQ in Manning, SC. In addition, the Charleston-based chain, Sticky Fingers, uses a style much more similar to Memphis BBQ, offering a variety of different sauces.
In the Midlands area around Columbia, a mustard-based sauce sometimes referred to as "Carolina Gold" is common, a sauce made from mustard, apple cider, brown sugar, and other ingredients. Another side to go with the barbecue pork is pork hash, made of pork, potatoes, and spices, served over rice. The German immigrants, who first concocted mustard-based sauce, often used beer in place of apple cider.
In the upcountry, around Rock Hill, one finds the light tomato and the rest of the upcountry stretching down past Aiken is home to the heavy tomato sauce. In addition to pork, other popular BBQ dishes include hash and ribs. South Carolina Barbecue is often served over rice, and with such sides as fatback, cracklins, hash, cole slaw, hush puppies, potato salad, etc., with sweet iced tea often served to drink.
Traditional Tennessee barbecue is saucy, slow-cooked pork ribs or pulled/sliced pork shoulder, though beef brisket (and sometimes sliced roast beef served with sauce) is also popular. The molasses content in the sauce usually becomes less pronounced in middle and east Tennessee, causing the sauces there to be thinner and less sweet. These eastern varieties more frequently use ketchup as a base, sometimes adding small amounts of Tabasco sauce or jalapeño for flavor.
While Memphis dominates the culture of Tennessee barbecue, some other restaurants in other cities have achieved some fame outside of their local markets. In recent years, it has become increasingly common for restaurants in the far eastern part of the state to serve the meat "dry" and offer customers a choice of either tomato or "Eastern Carolina-style" vinegar-based sauces. The use of cole slaw as a condiment on sandwiches varies from location to location. Typical side dishes include french fries, baked potatoes, potato salad, corn on the cob, barbecue beans, cole slaw, green beans, white beans, dinner rolls, and collard greens. Most barbecue restaurants are locally owned, no-frills establishments, though a handful of fast food chains (such as Buddy's BBQ in the Knoxville area) and several more upscale "rib houses" have proven popular regionally.
One particular area of interest is Robertson County (i.e. Springfield and surrounding areas, or the northern middle portion of the state, approximately 30 minutes to an hour north of Nashville), in which the norm is to serve pulled pork shoulder (or sometimes, pulled whole-hog barbecue) or a half- or whole-chicken with a finishing sauce consisting of almost pure apple cider vinegar, with a bit of ground cayenne pepper (sometimes with more pepper in a mild, medium, or hot choice), and perhaps some Coca-Cola for a little sweetening, depending on the establishment. While vinegar-based, the sauce is still rather different from the eastern North Carolina style of sauce, primarily due to the exclusion of ground black pepper, but is also different than much of the rest of the state (especially Memphis) in the lack of any tomato-based ingredients. Sometimes, the sauce may also be used as a "mop" sauce, applied during cooking, often with the addition of a vegetable oil (usually canola) to help adhesion to the meat. Common side dishes include a choice between a mayonnaise-based coleslaw or a mayonnaise-and-mustard-based potato-salad, as well as either slow-cooked white beans (usually Navy or Great Northern beans, usually cooked slow and low with bacon, ham, or other fatty pork meats) or "baked beans" which are again usually a white bean slow-cooked with pork, and then baked with a sauce of tomatoes, vinegar, and sometimes with brown sugar or molasses (but less frequently than in other parts of the country). The usual bread accompaniment is mass-produced "brown-and-serve" dinner rolls, or a cornbread dish, which can vary from cornbread-griddle-cakes to slices of sweetened cornbread baked in an oven in a cast-iron skillet.
Memphis-style barbecue is known for
Memphis is also home to the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest (WCBCC), an annual event which regularly draws over 90,000 pork lovers from around the globe. The title of "the largest pork barbecue cooking contest in the world" was bestowed on the WCBCC in the 1990 Guinness Book of World Records .
Texas has four main regional styles of barbecue, all with different flavors, different cooking methods, different ingredients, and different cultural origins.
East Texas barbecue is an extension of traditional southern barbecue, similar to that found in Tennessee and Arkansas. It is primarily pork-based, with cuts such as pork shoulder and pork ribs, indirectly slow smoked over primarily hickory wood. The sauce is tomato-based, sweet, and thick. This is also the most common urban barbecue in Texas, spread by African-Americans when they settled in big cities like Houston and Dallas.
Central Texas was settled by German and Czech settlers in the mid 1800s, and they brought with them European-style meat markets, which would smoke leftover cuts of pork and beef, often with high heat, using primarily native oak and pecan. The European settlers did not think of this meat as barbecue, but the Anglo farm workers who bought it started calling it such, and the name stuck. Traditionally, this barbecue is marinated but served without sauce, and with no sides other than saltine crackers, cucumber pickles, and onions. This style is found in the Barbecue Belt southeast of Austin, with Lockhart, Texas as its capital.
The border between the South Texas Plains and Northern Mexico has always been blurry, and this area of Texas, as well as its barbecue style, are mostly influenced by Mexican tastes. The area was the birthplace of the Texas ranching tradition, and the Mexican farmhands were often partially paid for their work in less desirable cuts of meat, such as the diaphragm, from which fajitas are made, and the cow's head. It is the cow's head which defines South Texas barbecue, called barbacoa. They would wrap the head in wet maguey leaves and bury it in a pit with hot coals for several hours, and then pull off the meat for barbacoa tacos. The tongue is also used to make lengua tacos. Today, barbacoa is mostly cooked in an oven in a bain-marie
The last style of Texas Barbecue also originated from Texas ranching traditions, but was developed in the western third of the state by Anglo ranchers. This style of "Cowboy" barbecue, cooked over an open pit using direct heat from mesquite, is the style most closely associated with Texas barbecue in popular imagination. The meat is primarily beef, shoulder clods and brisket being favorite cuts, but mutton and goat are also often found in this barbecue style.
In northern Illinois (including Chicago), Wisconsin, Minnesota, Northern Indiana, and Michigan, barbecue typically means a cut of meat with bone-in, either slow-cooked or cooked over an open flame. No-bone cuts of meat are usually said to be grilled, and are almost exclusively seared using dry direct heat. Fire, in the Upper Midwestern style, is necessary for barbecue; similar slow-cooked meat dishes prepared in an oven or a Crock-Pot are quite tasty, but not barbecue, unless combined with a charbroil grill. Most of these bone-in meat cuts are beef and pork spare ribs, and chicken quarters (thigh and drumstick together). Beef brisket has become increasingly popular in recent years. Restaurant chains named "Carson's Ribs", "Famous Dave's", and "Robinson's" use these meats with a variety of sauce styles. In portions of the Midwest barbecue is also a name for a sloppy joe sandwich.
Upper-Midwesterners typically serve barbecued meat with corn on the cob and baked potato (with butter, sour cream and chives) as side dishes, and sometimes baked beans and potato chips.
Chicago is an exception to the rule in the Midwest. It has a very large population of African Americans who migrated from the Mississippi Delta in the middle of the 20th century. The million or so African Americans who live in Chicago today inherited the food, music, and religion of their parents and grandparents. The barbecue described in the Memphis, Arkansas, and Mississippi sections of this entry has become a part of the Chicago landscape and has evolved since leaving the South. South- and West-side Chicago is noted for smoked ribs and Deep South style rib sauce.
Many of the migrants to Chicago came for jobs in the meatpacking industry at the time Chicago was still known as the hogbutcher to the world. Pork spare ribs served with hot or mild sauce are a product of this happy cultural confluence. While barbecue is typically associated with tough cuts of meat, barbecue ribs in Chicago tend to be from very good cuts of pork, perhaps because of the abundance of good meat and resulting higher expectations in this meat industry town.
Much of the BBQ that exists in Virginia is found near the Tidewater region. Pork is the main offering, but chicken is often available, as are pork ribs. Meat from pork shoulders--"Boston butts"--is pit or smoker cooked. The more North Carolina-inclined places serve the meat dry and offer vinegar-based and tomato-based vinegary sauces. Some places offer smoked, minced pork in a light tomato/vinegar sauce, perhaps best fitting the appellation "Virginia BBQ" although very similar to some North Carolina BBQ. Most will, however, serve cole slaw on the sandwich as part of the deal. Given how many restaurants and stands offer "North Carolina BBQ" it is permissible to let the reader decide for him or herself whether there is a genuine variation or not.
In the Pacific Northwest coast, barbecue is approached using different smoking techniques and is primarily used for cooking salmon. In early spring, Native Americans living near the Columbia River celebrate the first appearance of returning Chinook salmon with outdoor feasts, which are repeated, in backyards and restaurants, until the middle of fall.
Through the summer, when silver and pink salmon is especially affordable, grills are crowded with the tender flesh of salmon. A few places in Vancouver and Seattle cook salmon the ancient way (on cedar sticks), while others add twists of their own.
Traditionally, the salmon are cut in long, wide strips along either side of the backbone. Then the fillets should be speared on skinny cedar sticks, while smaller twigs are used to stretch the fish sideways. When completed, this looks like a rib system, but it keeps the salmon from curling while cooking.
The fish-on-a-stick is then placed upright, about three feet from the firepit, and cooked slowly for about half an hour. This method keeps the juices intact; placing the fish any closer to the fire dries it out. When finished, the meat will break away in moist layers.
Bacon-wrapped tuna is another common seafood dish. Grilled oysters in garlic butter is popular on the coast. Other items cooked on a British Columbia, Washington or Oregon barbecue include chicken, sausage, steak, and portabella mushrooms, and may be grilled, baked, or both.