Confused About Regional American BBQ? Listen to This Song


Barbecue styles from the South, the Midwest, and points beyond have been invading New York City like an army of warrior ants in the last few years. As was demonstrated by a recent Voice cover story, we’ve now got ‘cue from places like St. Louis, North Carolina, Memphis, Oklahoma, and, of course, Texas. But how can you distinguish what comes from where? And how can you tell what we’re still missing? Well, this song by online humorists Rhett & Link is dead accurate when it comes to identifying regional types of barbecue. Give it a listen — then take a look at the lyrics, below.

The Barbeque Song by Rhett & Link

In the mountains of Tennessee
They like the smoky sauce;
But over there in Memphis
A dry rub is the boss.

Folks down in Georgia
They can’t make up their minds;
You can give ’em sweet or spicy
They’ll say “that tastes all right!”

And you might think the South Carolinians
Are a just little bit off;
Would you believe their barbecue’s yellow
With a mustard sauce?

Pork shoulder is the cut-up choice
In Mississ-ississ-sippi;
And they pride themselves on barbecue
That’s totally vinegary.

In Loosiana them Cajuns
They like to spice it up
They like to spice it up.

This is our review
Of bar-b-cue
In the Southern United States.

And when my life is through
Bury me in barbecue
But make sure it’s vinegar-based
Don’t you know that slows decay
And it’s the style in our home state
Of North Carolina!

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’s kinda like Georgia
A barbecue melting pot;
And when you ain’t lookin’, them good ole boys
Will make that barbecue hot.

Alabama’s got the strangest thing
I’ve seen in my barbecue days;
Their barbecue sauce is white
Made out of mayonnaise.

And down there is Texas
Where the longhorn steer run free;
They love to smoke their brisket
That’s a big ole slab of meat.

And down in Florida…
Is Florida a Southern state?
No, it ain’t!

[Repeat refrain]

People not from the South
Think barbecue means cook-out;
Barbecue is not a verb
Barbecue is not a grill
Barbecue is meat prepared in a special way
That varies wherever you go.

That was our review
Of barbecue!