I'm originally from the Michigan thus i don't know much about barbeque due to the lack of barbeque establishments.

From my understanding (correct me if i'm wrong), there are several regional variations or styles of BBQ in the US. Each of type is defined by a BBQ technique or method: Texas (Brisket style), St. Louis, etc.

Thus my question; what other types of BBQ currently exist and what defines it?

  • This question is actually pretty broad - there are even substantial differences between various areas in Texas. I think it's hopefully still answerable, though, especially if someone's done a lot of traveling.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Jan 21, 2012 at 23:35
  • 5
    Its definitely answerable, its just a beast to tackle.
    – rfusca
    Commented Jan 22, 2012 at 1:13
  • 2
    One option to make this tackleable is for someone to start an answer with what they know, and make it community wiki. But I'm not sure its worth the effort; the time would probably be better spent improving the entry on Wikipedia (and all the sub-articles it links to).
    – derobert
    Commented Jan 22, 2012 at 4:38
  • 1
    You may imagine my surprise---having grown up in one of the parts of Texas where "barbeque" means brisket, brauts and tamales---when some folks in Virginia served chicken at an event advertized as a barbeque. I tell y'all, folks in distant parts get up to the strangest things. And that's before we get into differences in cooking styles (smoked, grilled, pit cooked, ...); rubs (sweet, hot, savory) versus smoking versus sauces (in several distinct styles); and so on... Commented Jan 22, 2012 at 5:41

3 Answers 3


There's a great YouTube video by Rhett & Link called the The BBQ Song (A Review of BBQ in the Southern United States) that is actually a really good starting point for answering this question.

Here are the lyrics to the song:

In the mountains of Tennessee, they like a smoky sauce;
But over there in ol' Memphis, a dry-rubbed rib is boss.

The folks down in Georgia can't make up their mind.
You can give it to 'em sweet or spicy, and they'll say "that tastes alright."

You might think that South Carolinians are just a little bit off.
Would you believe their barbecue's yellow—with a mustard sauce?

Pork shoulder is the cut of choice in Mississippi
And they pride themselves on barbecue that's totally vinegary.

And Louisiana, them Cajuns,
They like to spice it up. They like to spice it up.

This is our review of barbecue,
In the southern United States.
And when my life is through,
Bury me in barbecue,
But make sure it's vinegar-based,
'Cause you know that slows decay,
And it's the style from our home state—North Carolina! (Solo!)

Mutton is big in west Kentucky, that's a fancy name for sheep.
But in the rest of the state, sliced pork butt is what they eat.

Arkansas is kinda like Georgia, a barbecue meltin' pot,
And when you ain't looking, them good ol' boys'll make that barbecue hot!

Alabama's got the strangest thing I've seen in my barbecue days,
'Cause their barbecue sauce is white, made out of mayonnaise!

Down in Texas, where the long-horn steer roam free,
They love to smoke their brisket—that's a big ol' slab of beef.

And down in Florida . . .
Is Florida a southern State?
No, it ain't.

This is our review of barbecue,
In the southern United States.
And when my life is through,
Bury me in barbecue . . .

People not from the South
Think barbecue means "cookout,"
And that's something they're wrong about.

(Spoken outro:)
Barbecue is NOT a verb, barbecue is NOT a grill.
Barbecue is MEAT prepared in a very special way,
Which varies depending on where you go.

  • That song is absolutely brilliant! Thanks. If you want the votes (and the best answer on this site) you should include in your answer a summary of the unique styles that they mention. Commented May 24, 2012 at 16:23
  • @Sobachatina: I thought of doing that, and will when I get a chance. Thanks. Commented May 24, 2012 at 17:08
  • 2
    Great answer! Of course, as a native Texan, I'm obligated to object to our barbecue being summarized as brisket (there's so much more!) but there's only so much you can do with a short summary.
    – Cascabel
    Commented May 24, 2012 at 17:09
  • 1
    @Chad- Illinois style BBQ? Isn't that like New York style picante sauce? Commented May 30, 2012 at 20:19
  • 1
    @Sobachatina "New York City!?"
    – Preston
    Commented Jul 18, 2014 at 5:55

You're asking for an entire book worth of information. Rather than trying to answer this myself (heck, I don't even eat meat), I'll give you some references:

  • 1
    There are entire books written on the styles of barbecue within a single state (and not even a huge state at that!).
    – djangodude
    Commented Feb 2, 2012 at 15:17

There was recently an article in Eater that discusses the various kinds of BBQ which includes the youtube video that is mentioned by Callithumpian:

The traditional American barbecue belt stretches from the Carolinas in the East to Texas and Missouri in the West and from Kentucky in the North down through the deep South. While state lines de-mark significant political and civic parameters, barbecue is not quite so parochial, despite the common stereotype. What we see in the Carolinas for example, are wide swaths of a particular style — most significantly defined by the sauce used — that tend to cross states lines. The simple vinegar and pepper sauce of eastern North Carolina is also popular in the the Eastern part of South Carolina. And similarly, the tomato and vinegar-based sauce of the western Lexington Style bleeds into the Northwestern part of of South Carolina and indeed into Eastern Tennessee and Southern Kentucky.


Eater, "American Barbeque Style Guide". http://eater.com/archives/2014/07/10/american-barbecue-style-guide.php.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.