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Publication: I'm Not Martha
Regional Barbeque Styles.

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          I'M NOT MARTHA - Tuesday, June 26, 2007

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Hi! I'm Lizzy!!  and I'm not Martha!!!

Any which way you look at it....it's BBQ season.  One friend 
at the get-together last weekend started asking me all kinds 
of "Q" questions....like "What is a St. Louis style rib?" 
"What's the secret for a drop-off-the-bone tender rib?" "How 
many kinds of BBQ are there?"  Wouldn't you like to know as 
much as my neighbors?  Here goes....

P.S. If you're interested we now have a forum. You can post 
comments on this and recent issues at... Not Martha forum

*There are two basic cuts of ribs from different parts of 
the pig. Baby Back aka Loin Back ribs and Spare ribs. The 
only thing that separates back ribs from spare ribs is a 
cut made by a band saw.

Loin Back aka Baby Back ribs are leaner, tender and have a 
milder flavor comparable to beef filet mignon.  Spare Ribs 
have a more robust flavor comparable to a beef ribeye.

Spare ribs can be just as lean and tender as Baby Backs when 
cooked right.  The vast majority of our cooking school 
students prefer Spare ribs in side by side taste offs.  The 
Back ribs are more curved and are cut from the area closer 
to the spine.  The Spare ribs are flatter and come from the 
stomach area.

St. Louis style ribs are a spare rib cut and larger than loin 
back ribs.

Butchers will run a pork shoulder also known as a Boston Butt 
through a band saw and call them country style ribs.

* Baby back ribs are the filet mignon of pork ribs.  The 
trick is find baby back ribs that have not had the meat on 
top of the ribs trimmed off by a butcher.

Just as beef filet mignon does not have a lot of flavor, 
pork back ribs do not a lot of flavor.  To get the most out 
of them a marinade is a really good idea and mopping also 

* BBQ...It's about the rub. Apply a BBQ spice "Rub" not more 
than 2 hours before cooking.

* Great BBQ tastes great without sauce.  The sauce is the 
finishing touch. Don't sauce until the ribs are cooked, apply 
one or two coats of sauce in the last 15 to 30 minutes on the 
cooker.  For a sweeter glaze add some honey to you BBQ sauce.

* Buy pure meat nothing added. Certain percentage of anything 
added such as brine or salt water is not desirable.

* Use wood smoke.  Be very careful with oak and mesquite they 
can easily. overpower pork ribs.  You only want thin blue 
smoke coming from your smoker, not thick white smoke. Cherry 
is a favorite choice for ribs.

* The secret of how to barbecue ribs until they are falling 
of the bone tender is foil.  Cook the ribs until they have a 
nice crust. Wrap in foil with a little apple juice and cook 
to 200º internal temp.  They will be cooked and falling apart 
tender.  If you want to sauce your ribs roll back the foil 
but leave it under the rack for support, sauce and put back 
with indirect heat for 15 minutes.


In Alabama, there are currently more barbecue restaurants, 
per capita, than any other US state. Alabama barbecue most 
often consists of pork ribs or pork shoulder, slow cooked 
over hickory smoke. Pork shoulder may be served either 
chopped or sliced; some diners also specify a preference 
for either "inside" or "outside" meat. Alabama barbecue is 
typically served with a spicy, tomato-based sauce.

Arkansas is in some ways the crossroads of American barbecue. 
This is largely due to its location -- firmly rooted in the 
Deep South but close enough to the Midwest and Texas to in-
corporate Kansas City and Texas-style barbecue traits.

Like all true southern barbecue, meat is never exposed to 
high or direct heat. Instead it is smoked at low temper-
atures for long periods of time (over 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 

A unique feature of barbecue in Arkansas is prevalence of 
chicken. Barbecue chicken, Arkansas-style, is always 
marinated with a "dry rub", smoked, and divided into edible 
portions only after it is completely cooked. Barbecue sauce 
is only applied by the eater.

Another characteristic of Arkansas barbecue is that a bar-
becued pork or beef sandwich is always 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.

In general, it can be said that Georgia barbecue is based on 
pork, which is slow-cooked over an open pit stoked with oak 
and/or hickory and served with a sauce based on ketchup, 
molasses, bourbon, garlic, cayenne pepper, and other in-
gredients. However, the reality is that barbecue culture in 
Georgia represents an enormous range of styles, traditions, 
and influences. As such, Georgia can be accurately assessed 
as a melting pot of regional variations where almost any 
sauce or cooking style can be found.

In Kentucky, barbecue also has a long and rich tradition and 
history. Mutton, pork, beef, chicken, and ribs have been 
smoked for years in the state. Mutton is one of the most 
notable specialties in most of Western Kentucky, where there 
were once large populations of sheep that were slaughtered 
for the mutton. However, mutton is virtually unknown in 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 the  
traditionally served with the meat, though not always used 
in cooking.

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. 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.

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.

In Missouri, beef is the dominant meat for barbecue, 
especially in St. Louis and 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.

St. Louis-style barbecue 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. 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 calls itself 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.

Molasses is the key flavor enhancer of the sauce.

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Within North Carolina, there are multiple regional 
traditions, all based on the slow-cooking of pulled or 
chopped pork.

It is commonly acceptable to refer to grilled chicken as 
"barbecued" if the sauce is the same as that used on pork. 
Likewise, a common preparation, "chicken barbecue," is 
simply oven-braised chicken pieces in a sauce, usually thin 
and slightly spicy. Occasionally, chicken barbecue is 
chopped, but usually it is served on the bone.

Accompaniments include cole slaw and deep-fried dill pickle 
slices. Some North Carolinians deny that real barbecue 
exists outside the State.

Hushpuppies, barbecue slaw, boiled potatoes, corn sticks, 
Brunswick stew, and collard greens are commonly served as 
side dishes at North Carolina barbecue restaurants. Also 
popular is the "barbecue sandwich," consisting of barbecue, 
vinegar/pepper sauce, and sweet cole slaw served on a ham-
burger bun.

A gathering centered on the cooking and consuming of barbe-
cue is frequently called a "Pig pickin'" by North Carolina 
residents, and is popular for church gatherings, family 
celebrations, reunions, weddings, funerals and often as an 
event which occurs before the start of a collegiate football 

South Carolina is the only state to have four types of bar-
becue sauces: mustard, vinegar, heavy tomato, and light 
tomato. The meat used in South Carolina is consistent 
throughout the state, slow-cooked pulled pork.

In addition to pork, other popular BBQ dishes include hash 
and ribs.

Memphis-style barbecue is known for:
wet ribs, made with a mild, sweet barbecue sauce that's 
basted on the ribs before and after smoking; dry-rub ribs, 
made with a spice rub applied during or right after they've 
been cooked; and pulled or chopped pork sandwich topped 
with sweet, finely chopped coleslaw and served on inexpen-
sive hamburger buns, which some locals insist is Memphis 
barbecue's highest form.

For people who simply can't get enough barbecue, there's 
also barbecue spaghetti, barbecue pizza, and barbecue 
nachos. 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 bar-
becue cooking contest in the world" was bestowed on the 
WCBCC in the 1990 Guinness Book of World Records.

It is also home to over 100 barbecue restaurants.

Sliced brisket, sausage, and pork ribs are the most popular 
meats in Texas barbecue. Central Texans often refer to these 
three meats as The Holy Trinity.

If used, traditional sauce consists of tomatoes with a 
vinegar base. It can be sweet or spicy and thick or thin, 
depending on the chef. At barbecue cookoffs in Texas, how-
ever, meat is generally judged without sauce, as sauce can 
cover up for poor-quality meats and cooking.

Slight regional variations in Texas barbecue exist. In 
Central Texas barbecue is more likely to consist of leaner 
meats, while East Texans prefer more fatty cuts. It is 
possible, however, to find both kinds of meats all over the 
state. In South Texas, beef fajitas, beef briskets, beef 
ribs and chicken are probably the most popular, along with 
small cuts of pork called 'carnitas', of course all cooked 
over a mesquite fire. Side dishes include flour tortillas, 
pinto beans, Mexican rice, potato salad, and of course pico 
de gallo (a garnish made with cilantro, jalapenos, onions 
and tomatoes.)

Enjoy! Enjoy! Enjoy!  There's not a bad BBQ out there....
just one you like the most.  If you've got any recipes or 
tips you wan to share, send them on in.  We'd all love the 
info.  Friends share with friends.


Questions...Comments...? email Lizzy

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