Toma Nota

The Best American Barbecue

Barbecue in the U.S. really took off in the South, especially in states like Texas, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Georgia. Each region has its own way of preparing barbecue meats and sides. Travelling around the South U.S. and only eating BBQ is a way to take a gastronomic field trip in only one food genre. There is sweet BBQ, salty, spicy… And within those categories comes the variety of sauces that can be added, the length of time meat is cooked for, and the types of sides (like bread, coleslaw, potato salad, etc…) that are served with the main event.

Texans are real purists when it comes to BBQ, and although the big cities all have great BBQ restaurants that are original, the small towns in central Texas (known as the Hill Country) have some of the most famously awarded BBQ in the nation. In the town of Lockhart, there is a building that looks like a burnt-out corner store that sells the best BBQ brisket and pork that I have ever eaten. BBQ in Texas is usually made with a dry rub, rather than slathered with a sauce, and then the sauce is added as a garnish later on. This dry rub is salty and savory, not sweet, and it works its way into the tender slow-cooked meat for about six to eight hours. The result is soft and flavorful meat that goes perfectly with a beer, some slices of plain white bread, and maybe a side of potato salad.

Each state in the southern U.S. takes great pride in their style of BBQ and the originality and care that is taken into its preparation. It is worth taking some extra time to seek out a local barbecue hangout in order to try the specific variety touted by the different peoples of the United States.