American BBQ Explained
America is a big place right? Even when compared to most other countries in the world.
With so many regions with drastically different agricultural, cultural and economic influences, there is an equally diverse range of BBQ styles and subtle local variations at work.
These variations however although too numerous to count, can roughly be grouped into 5 main styles, or regions, which are:
West (North, Mid & South) and East (North & South).
Looking more closely again, you can see three core factors which have influenced these regions, which are the supply and or presence of:
1) Meat, 2) Wood, and, 3) Culture (inherited or otherwise).
(* If you would like to drill down to one common factor, which would certainly be Agriculture and Food Production in general, there is a very useful American Food and Agriculture study at the bottom of this page, with some very interesting graphs and statistics which are easy to digest - nice pun! The main points to look for here are the distribution of livestock and crop farms. The other information is less relevant)
Now for the good parts - for a crash course, here is a 2 minute flick from YouTube which is a pretty good place to start, now that you know the basics. It quickly runs through some key regions and BBQ styles. The three main variations to watch out for are the cuts of meat, how they are cooked and what types of sauces they are served with. Pretty simply right? - well, it really is.
For a more detailed look, here is a downloadable PDF map, which looks even closer at an individual state level.
(It looks to have been prepared by Kraft Food Services USA but it is not available directly from their web site for some reason)
Finally, here are two videos which are a must watch and from no where else, but Texas!
* American Food and Agriculture study - "The Greatness of the United States is founded on Agriculture"