Barbecue is a fun and leisure activity for any citizen of Norfolk, Virginia to enjoy the great outdoors, while eating some good home cooking. For those who are not fortunate to have a backyard, there is always a nearby park. The Norfolk Department of Neighborhood and Leisure Services offers information on renting a picnic area at one of many local parks around the area.
North Carolina sauces vary by region; eastern North Carolina uses a vinegar-based sauce. The center of the state (around Lexington, NC) uses a combination of ketchup and vinegar as their base, and western North Carolina uses a heavier ketchup base. Lexington, NC boasts of being “The Barbecue Capital of the World”.
South Carolina is the only state that includes all four recognized barbecue sauces, including mustard-based, vinegar-based, and light and heavy tomato-based.
Memphis barbecue is best known for tomato- and vinegar-based sauces. In some Memphis establishments and in Kentucky, meat is rubbed with dry seasoning (dry rubs) and smoked over hickory wood without sauce; the finished barbecue is then served with barbecue sauce on the side.
The barbecue of Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee is almost always pork served with a sweet tomato-based sauce. However, several regional variations exist as well. Alabama is particularly known for its distinctive white sauce, a mayonnaise- and vinegar-based sauce, originating in northern Alabama, used predominantly on chicken and pork.
A popular item in North Carolina and Memphis is the pulled pork sandwich served on a bun and often topped with cole slaw. Pulled pork is prepared by shredding the pork after it is barbecued.
In much of the world outside of the American South, barbecue has a close association with Texas. Many barbecue restaurants outside the United States claim to serve “Texas barbecue”, regardless of the style they actually serve. Texas barbecue is often assumed to be primarily beef. This assumption, along with the inclusive term “Texas barbecue” is an oversimplification.
Texas has four main styles, all with different flavors, different cooking methods, different ingredients, and different cultural origins.
The word barbecue is also used to refer to a social gathering where food is served, usually outdoors in the early afternoon. In the southern USA, outdoor gatherings are not typically called “barbecues” unless barbecue itself will actually be on the menu. The device used for cooking at a barbecue is commonly referred to as a “barbecue”, “barbecue grill”, or “grill”.
Often referred to as “The World Series of Barbecue”, The American Royal Barbecue Contest is held each October in Kansas City, Missouri. This event comprises two distinct competitions held over the course of four days. The first contest is the Invitational Contest, with competing teams being required to obtain an invitation by winning other qualifying contests throughout the year.
The second competition is an open contest that any team can compete in. This open contest is the largest championship barbecue competition in the world, with the 2007 event attracting 496 teams.
The World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest is held annually in Memphis, Tennessee, during the Memphis in May festival. Other barbecue competitions are held in virtually every state in the United States during the warmer months, usually beginning in April and going through September. These events feature keen competitions between teams of cooks and are divided into separate competitions for the best pork, beef and poultry barbecue and for the best barbecue sauces.
My motto is: “If it doesn’t look good, or smell good, don’t eat it!”