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Memphis vs. Texas bbq, what the difference?


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4 hours ago, Randomguy said:


I am talking about sauce, mostly, because we all know that bbq without sauce is not bbq, it is just roasted whatever.  Roasted sadness, no matter the meat choice.

I had posted this before but I used to work for a firm based out of Memphis and they would have meetings in corporate at least twice a year.  During these meetings they always catered local food or just took us to the restaurant.  

These are not my words but words from locals but they said Memphis doesn’t really have a “style” as they are at a the crossroads of food influences.  They do mostly pork and chicken, not so much beef but the two most famous BBQ joints Corky’s is a wet bbq style while Rendezvous is a dry rub.  

The Memphis food scene was amazing but it is more eclectic than say St Louis, TX or Carolina that has a defined BBQ style.  

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I always thought Texas BBQ was more of a rub, not a sauce.

Way back in the last century, I had a grilling book that included a recipe for "Mississippi BBQ Sauce" that I love and make on occasion because everyone I serve it to loves it. I have no idea how "authentic" the recipe is but it's great!  This recipe will drown 2-3 lbs of ribs:

It's easy to remember because the tbsp's of ingredients are 4:4:2:2:1:1:

4 tbsp ketchup

4 tbsp sugar (2 tbsp works fine for me)

2 tbsp cider vinegar (1.5 tbsp if a little thicker is desired)

2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (1.5 tbsp if a little thicker is desired)

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 tbsp dry Italian seasoning

Optional: Cayenne Pepper (a pea size will kick it up a notch without making it hot)

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Texas BBQ is beef. Smoked at low temperatures for long periods to make a tough cut tender. Their goal is to taste meat and smoke and not a sugary ketchup based sauce. Memphis is more pork based BBQ, in my opinion, ribs with a tomato based sauce with heat. Carolina is pulled pork shoulder smoked and served with a peppery vinegar sauce. Though Western Carolina uses a mustard based sauce. Alabama is known for using the white sauce. I have recipes for that if @Philander Seabury wants it. Kansas City is more burnt ends and sugary sauce. My favorite is the Texas style as that takes knowledge, skill, and experience to get it right. 

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4 minutes ago, ChrisL said:

Some southern BBQ joints serve it on the side as a condiment and not as part of the cooking or prep process.  I prefer my pork ribs with just a dry rub and I’ll dip the meat in the sauce rather than have it drenched in sauce.

No crunch, no taco. 

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On 9/17/2022 at 1:39 PM, Philander Seabury said:

I think chicken is way better with a rub than sauce.  Just S&P does wonders for it.  Although many decades ago a childhood friend's dad grileld chicken with a white sauce that was oot of this world.  I'd love to have that again but I have no idea what it was.

Since we eat chicken pieces with our fingers in these parts, rub works much better on chicken for me than sauce.

I always have a jar of Weber's BBQ rub handy at the table to sprinkle right on cooked chicken - or pork or beef or fish.  I even had it last night in case the Chinese Chicken Thighs didn't taste good enough.


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