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NC barbecue battle fires up talk about Asheville traditions

02/12/2011

Barbecue break down!

Every region has its own take on what the best barbecue is. Here’s a quick look at the most popular incarnations:

The Carolinas: In our neck of the woods, “barbecue” almost always involved a pig, served either pulled, shredded, chopped or sliced.

Eastern North Carolina is know for its whole hog approach, where the entire pig is barbecued and the meat is chopped, mixed and usually served with a thin sauce of vinegar and spices. Barbecue from the Piedmont, particularly from Lexington, is known for its mainly dark meat portions from the pork shoulder and is presented with thick, sweet tomato-based sauce.

In South Carolina, sauces range from the peppery, ketchup-based approach of the western part of the state to the Midlands’ Carolina Gold sauce, made with yellow mustard, vinegar, brown sugar and spices. Like their neighbor to the north, folks in the coastal region use the whole hog and a vinegar sauce.

Memphis: Here, barbecue means ribs, and ribs can either be “wet,” which means brushed with sauce prior to cooking, or “dry,” meaning they are seasoned with a dry rub. And if you do order pulled pork in Memphis, it’s going to come with a hot, sweet tomato-based sauce.

Kansas City: It doesn’t matter what you put Kansas City-style sauce on for it to be called barbecue in this part of the country. All that matters is the sauce: It’s thick, sweet and made with tomatoes and molasses.

Texas: This is a big state, with a wide variety of approaches to barbecue. You could easily confuse East Texas barbecue with southern-style, and in Central Texas, you’re getting your meat sliced. In West Texas, goat and mutton, as well as beef, is often the preference. And South Texans have been known to cook the head of the cow for dinner.

via NC barbecue battle fires up talk about Asheville traditions | The Asheville Citizen-Times | citizen-times.com.

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