A Guide to the Different American BBQ Styles

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If you’re a fan of barbeque, then you’ll know that there are many different styles of this smoky and flavorful cuisine. Each region of the United States has its own unique take on BBQ, and it can be hard to know where to start. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the main BBQ styles in the US, and what makes them different from one another.

The Main American BBQ Styles

Texas Style BBQ

Texas style BBQ is all about the beef. Brisket is the star of the show, and it’s cooked low and slow over mesquite wood until it’s tender and juicy. Pork ribs are also popular in Texas, but they take second place to the brisket. The sauce is usually tomato-based and sweet, with a bit of a kick.

Kansas City Style BBQ

Kansas City is known as the “world’s BBQ capital,” so it’s no surprise that it has its own style of BBQ. The meat is slow-cooked over hickory wood, and the sauce is a thick, sweet and tangy molasses-based concoction. Kansas City BBQ is known for its burnt ends – the crispy, caramelized pieces of beef brisket that are cut from the end of the flat.

North Carolina Style BBQ

North Carolina is known for its pulled pork, which is usually cooked over hickory and served with a vinegar-based sauce that’s tangy and slightly spicy. The meat is often served on a bun with coleslaw.

Memphis Style BBQ

Memphis is known for its pork ribs, which are cooked over hickory wood and served either “dry” (with just a dry rub seasoning) or “wet” (with a sweet and tangy tomato-based sauce). The pork shoulder is also a popular cut of meat in Memphis.

FAQs about American BBQ Styles

Which BBQ style is the best?

There’s really no one answer to this question – it all comes down to personal preference. Some people prefer the sweetness of Kansas City-style BBQ, while others prefer the tanginess of North Carolina BBQ. It’s worth trying out each style to see which one you like best!

What’s the difference between “dry rub” and “wet” BBQ?

Dry rub BBQ means that the meat is seasoned with a dry mix of spices, without any sauce. Wet BBQ means that the meat is slathered in sauce while it’s cooking (or right before serving). Both methods have their pros and cons – dry rub BBQ lets the meat speak for itself, while wet BBQ adds more flavor.

What type of wood is best for smoking meat?

It all depends on what type of meat you’re cooking and what flavor profile you’re going for. Mesquite wood is often used in Texas-style BBQ, while hickory is popular in many other regions. Apple wood and cherry wood are also popular choices for adding a slightly sweet flavor to the meat.


There’s something special about American BBQ – it’s slow-cooked, smoky, and full of flavor. Whether you prefer the sweetness of Kansas City-style or the tanginess of North Carolina-style, there’s a BBQ style for everyone to enjoy. So break out the grill or smoker, gather your friends and family, and dig into some delicious BBQ!


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