Discovering the Magic of St. Louis Style Barbecue

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If you’re a barbecue lover, then you’re likely already familiar with the big names in barbecue cities: Memphis, Kansas City, and Texas all have unique styles that they’re renowned for. But have you ever heard of St. Louis Style Barbecue? This regional specialty is lesser-known outside of Missouri, but it’s gaining in popularity and is definitely worth trying.

St. Louis style barbecue is a way of cooking meat that started in the African American communities in the city. It’s a unique style, often using pork ribs that have been trimmed and cut in a particular way. Plus, it involves a special sauce that is tangy, slightly sweet, and a little bit spicy. This style has evolved over the years, and now it’s one of the most interesting regional specialties in the US.

The Key Elements of St. Louis Style Barbecue

St. Louis style barbecue is all about the flavors, textures, and techniques that come together to create a unique and delicious meal. Here are some of the key elements of this style:

The Ribs

St. Louis style ribs are a unique cut of pork that’s trimmed in a particular way. They’re cut from the spare ribs, but the sternum bone, cartilage, and rib tips are trimmed off. This leaves a rectangular shape that’s easy to cook evenly. The result is a tender and juicy cut of meat that’s perfect for barbecue.

The Rub

Just like other styles of barbecue, St. Louis style involves a dry rub that’s applied to the meat before cooking. The rub is typically a blend of spices, herbs, and salt that help to season the meat and add flavor. Some common ingredients in the rub include paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, and brown sugar.

The Sauce

Perhaps the most unique part of St. Louis style barbecue is the sauce. It’s a reddish-brown color with a tangy and slightly sweet taste. It’s made with tomato sauce, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and spices, which are blended together and simmered for hours. The result is a flavorful sauce that perfectly complements the smoky flavor of the meat.

The Smoking Method

St. Louis style barbecue is traditionally cooked over indirect heat, which means that the meat is placed in a smoker that’s separate from the heat source. This allows the meat to cook slowly and absorb the smoke flavor without being directly exposed to the heat.

Concluding Thoughts on St. Louis Style Barbecue

If you’re a fan of barbecue, then St. Louis style is definitely worth a try. The unique flavors and techniques used in this style make it a delicious and interesting regional specialty. Whether you’re traveling to Missouri or looking for something new to try at your next backyard barbecue, St. Louis style is sure to impress.

FAQs about St. Louis Style Barbecue

What makes St. Louis style ribs different from other types?

St. Louis style ribs are cut in a particular way that removes the sternum bone, cartilage, and rib tips. This leaves a rectangular shape that’s easy to cook evenly and results in a tender and juicy cut of meat.

What are the best sides to serve with St. Louis style barbecue?

Some classic sides to serve with St. Louis style barbecue include mac and cheese, baked beans, coleslaw, and cornbread. Of course, you can add your own twists and preferences to make it your own.

Can St. Louis style barbecue be made without a smoker?

Yes, you can still make St. Louis style barbecue without a smoker. Use indirect heat on a grill, oven or use liquid smoke as a substitute. Monitor the temperature carefully to ensure that the meat doesn’t dry out.


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