Americans love of BBQ Cooking
America’s love and passion for BBQ outweighs that of any other food. A greeting card, t-shirt or bumper sticker cannot define it. An article on the subject cannot fully cover it. Instead, it’s openly expressed—on Sunday afternoons, at football games, on holidays and three-day weekends—without any stigma for such a public display of affection. You can smell it, you can see it, and most importantly, you can taste it. Now, that’s what love is. We romanticize our ribs. We brag about our beef and stand behind our steaks. We jealously protect our secret sauces and introduce them to only the most worthy cuts of meat. It can be a tasty, fulfilling relationship. Yet for some people, it’s one that breeds competition, and sometimes a cookout with the neighbors just won’t cut it.
Organized teams compete in BBQ cook-offs all over the United States. This competitive spirit of cultural cuisine is the ultimate tribute to this great American pastime. But when the smoke clears, there’s only one thing that matters—qualifying for and winning the Jack Daniel’s® World Championship Invitational BBQ. But before receiving an invitation to this “big dance” of barbecue, (and there are others such as the American Royal® BBQ Contest and Memphis in May World Championship BBQ Cooking Contest), teams must smoke the competition in various state championships.
Tropical, exotic and deep down southern BBQ – Florida:
Northern Florida, from Orlando to the Panhandle, yields a deep southern style. Pulled pork, baby back ribs, pork fillets, short ribs, chicken, steak, brisket, and the occasional burger or sausage all frequent the grill. You might even find some shrimp and lobster catching some flame. Central Florida takes on a Floribbean flavor using the same meats as above, slow-cooked and dusted with exotic tropical spices, straight from the Caribbean and Bahamas. South Florida joins forces with Latin American culture and cuisine for a Tex-Mex style called Barbacoa. To say the least, Florida offers all kinds of barbecue for all kinds of tastes.
Thick, tangy, and spiced just right – Missouri BBQ:
Missouri is all about BBQ, particularly beef; sliced and smothered in a tomato-based sauce. But two distinct styles, St. Louis and Kansas City, utilize a variety of sauces and meats. St. Louis is known for its pork, bathed graciously in a tangier, not-so-thick sauce with less of a vinegar taste. Kansas City is sometimes referred to as the “world capital of BBQ” because it hosts the American Royal® competition, the biggest in the world. Imagine sliced brisket and burnt ends, pork, beef ribs, chicken, and turkey; paired with sweet, spicy tomato or molasses-based sauce.
A tasty, saucy state – South Carolina BBQ:
There are various traditions at work in different regions of South Carolina, each of which is based on a different BBQ belief system. The lowcountry, (Charleston area), uses vinegar and peppers to power its pork, while upcountry, from Rock Hill to Aiken, has a taste for tomato. Central “SC” makes its magic with mustard, a.k.a. “gold sauce,” a mixture of mustard, apple juice, brown sugar, and other pleasantly surprising additives. The rest of the state embraces all BBQ sauce styles. But no matter where you go, you’ll find your BBQ served over rice with those southern side dishes you’ve only heard about—fatback, cracklins, hash, hush puppies, and of course, a chilly glass of sweet tea.
Wet. Dry-rubbed. It don’t matter. It’s BBQ – Tennessee:
Grilling greatness lies in the grillmaster’s ability to choose the highest quality cuts of meat. If Tennessee was a cut of meat, it would be the tender shoulder of the BBQ world, simply because it hosts a plateful of BBQ competitions including the Jack Daniel’s® World Championship. That being said, Memphis is the butt of Tennessee BBQ. After all, this is where the largest pork barbecue competition in the world is held, (also known as Memphis in May). There are many BBQ hotspots in the country, but this might be the only one where everything is “barbecued”—pizza, nachos, even spaghetti. Memphis-style cookin’ means wet ribs basted in a mild, sweet sauce; dry-rub ribs gently and thoroughly massaged with salt, pepper, garlic, paprika, onions and other spices; or, pulled or chopped pork drizzled in your choice of sauce and served on a classic hamburger bun. There is no single greatest-of-all-time BBQ joint or dish; there’s hundreds. Check out Laurel Crest™ or MountainLoft™ for two great places to kick back with some blazin’ BBQ.
Bet on a BBQ blend – Nevada:
Nevada is home to the Best Dam Barbecue challenge, a Jack Daniel’s® qualifier in Boulder City, home of Hoover Dam and Lake Mead. Nevada BBQ blends its styles between Texas, Arizona, California, and of course, the Deep South. Sauces are typically vinegar based and the meats used include chicken, ribs, sausages and steaks. So next time you’re headed to Vegas, don’t bet it all at the buffet; shake it up a bit and find your nearest BBQ competition.