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BBQ 101: The Four Types Of American Barbecue

BBQ 101: The Four Types Of American Barbecue

Looking to learn more about American BBQ, but don’t know where to start? There’s plenty of BBQ in the United States to learn about, but broken down, it can be a bit easier to understand. There are four styles of barbecue in the United States: Kansas City, Memphis, Texas, and Carolina. Here’s a little bit of information about each one so you can try them out at your next barbecue.

BBQ 101: The Four Types Of American Barbecue

Kansas City

The defining trait of Kansas City barbecue is variety, featuring everything from the classics of beef and pork to chicken and sausage. Most Kansas City barbecue is smoked at low temperatures for long times over hickory wood. One of the most recognizable dishes of Kansas City barbecue is burnt ends – the burnt end cuts of brisket or pork, full of fatty flavor.


Memphis barbecue is heavily dominated by pork, with smoky pulled pork and pork ribs being incredibly popular. Ribs are usually served either “dry” or “wet.” “Dry” ribs will be given a dry rub of garlic, paprika, and other spices before cooking, whereas “wet” ribs are sauced before and during cooking for a finger-licking delicious meal.


Texas barbecue features mostly beef, though other meats are popular as well, specifically pork ribs. This type of barbecue can be further split into four sub-types of barbecue, each based on a different region of Texas. Texas barbecue tends to be smoked over hickory, oak, or pecan wood, and relies more on the wood to impart the flavor to the already flavorful meat.


Similar to Texas, Carolina barbecue can be split into Northern and Southern styles. Both styles of Carolina barbecue primarily feature pork above other meats, with North Carolina barbecue especially aiming to use as much of the animal as possible. As a result, much of Carolina barbecue features shredded meat from different parts of the animal.


American barbecue features a wide variety of flavors and cooking styles; take your time to learn about each of these styles individually, or dive right in and learn all about each of them at the same time. There are plenty of delicious American barbecue styles for you to explore.

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