September 16, 2020
This summer I lived in Memphis, Tennessee. Going into it I had no idea what to expect, but it wasn’t long before I became acquainted with what Memphis was all about. As I acclimated to the culture there, I discovered that much of Memphis rallies behind their barbecue. Since I am from North Carolina, where barbecue is no joking matter, I was intrigued. I quickly began to learn that this different city brought along with it a different style of barbecue.
While there are many people who love barbecue, there are many who do not. If you fall into the latter category, what you might not know is that just because you haven’t enjoyed the barbecue you’ve tried before, it doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t like barbecue as a whole. There are actually many different types of barbecue. Did you know that there are even numerous ways people agree on spelling barbecue? Some people spell it like barbeque or BBQ, but according to AmazingRibs.com, “linguists and historians generally agree that the proper spelling is barbecue because it is derived from the word barbacoa, and that other spellings are colloquial”.
Now I’m sure you are wondering what type of barbecue is the best, but that is up for you to decide. There are so many different types and different ingredients that go into each style of barbecue depending on your region, so let’s take a minute to dive into each variation of the dish.
First, there is North Carolina style barbecue. This meat is pork-based, which is the more traditional style. The sauce, however, is more unique, in that it has a vinegar base which can make it thinner, but adds a lot of that flavor people look for without the thick sauce. This differs from the typical barbecue style that is more of a tomato-based sauce. A good place recommended by thrillist.com is “Lexington Barbecue”. There you will get a cozy southern family feel in the restaurant’s environment.
South Carolina barbecue is similar to the North Carolina experience, but they add in a little extra magic to spice up their sauce. Instead of just using the vinegar base, tastingtable.com states they use “a heavy tomato, a light tomato, and a mustard sauce (aka Carolina Gold)”. South Carolina is known for their famous mustard base that throws a rich spice into their food.
Next is Memphis style barbecue. Memphis will typically use a pork-based meat for their dish. They often use a more traditional style of barbecue sauce that has a tomato-based sauce that is much thicker than the North Carolina vinegar base. This has a sweet and tangy flavor. A couple of places I recommend if you’re ever in Memphis are Commissary in Germantown or Central BBQ, where you can get a large portion of barbecue nachos.
A little further west, you will find some Kansas style barbecue. Not only do they use pork, but you might find places using a variety of protein, including chicken, sausage, and beef. To top off this array of meats, they put a thick barbecue sauce with a tomato base that carries a sweet flavor. Thrillist.com suggests “Oklahoma Joe’s” in Kansas City as a prime place to buy this style of barbecue.
Last but not least, there is of course Texas style barbecue. The saying everything is bigger in Texas truly comes to life when you receive a Texas sized portion of barbecue. In contrast to the Carolinas, Texas barbecue is more known for their brisket. Similar to Kansas, they to have a variety of meats that are included in every order. If you want to try authentic Texan barbecue that will bring out the Western in you, then thrillist.com suggest “Franklin Barbecue” in Austin.
Barbecue has been around for ages and many people rally behind their different opinions on which region has the best barbecue. Whether you like the barbecue of the south or the west, vinegar or tomato based, sweet or tangy, it all can bring us back to dinners with friends and family. If you want to try some barbecue while in Lynchburg, a well-known place to visit would be “Small Batch Barbecue”. There you can enjoy quality time with the people you love, make memories, and consume a whole bunch of barbecue.
Written by Riley Anderson
Riley is a junior majoring in Christian Leadership and Church Ministry with a minor in Biblical Studies.