This week we had a nice long chat with Blue Smoke executive chef Kenny Callaghan, who explained the nuances of this country’s many regional barbecue styles. Apparently Zagat has been obsessed with this issue as well because they just published their “BBQ Style Smackdown.” They ask chefs from North Carolina, South Carolina, Kansas City, Memphis, and Texas why their ‘cue is the best. Darrell Brown from Raleigh, North Carolina’s famous Pit throws down the gauntlet with a comment that might not be appreciated out in Kansas City:
“If you can’t get the flavor of the meat right, then you bury it in tomato sauce. That’s what most everyone else does in the country except for us …”
Oh snap! Chris Russell from Southern Hospitality points out what’s wrong with barbecue outside of Memphis:
“In Texas, they serve mostly beef with a salt-and-pepper rub, which can be very good, but an overly lean piece of brisket of dry beef ribs can taste like shoe leather. In the Carolinas, they use too much sauce, which makes it sticky and messy.”
Kenny Callaghan also seems to have a fondness for Memphis barbecue, seeing as he visits the city every year and claims Blue Smoke’s Memphis-style baby-back ribs are his favorite. What about you? What region do you think has the country’s best barbecue?
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 29, 2011