Our favorite barbeque addict asks: is ‘barbeque’ a noun or a verb?
Well, that depends entirely upon where you are from. If you are from anywhere outside of the southern United States, “barbeque” is a verb for simply cooking meat outside on a grill. Our Southern friends, of course, are offended at this, and assert that “barbeque” is a noun which refers to beef or pork, which has been slowly smoked over wood or hot coals and then marinated, rubbed or basted with very special sauces – yum!
Each Southern state claims to have the best barbeque. Eastern North Carolina uses a vinegar-based sauce, the center of the state uses a combination of ketchup and vinegar as their base, and western North Carolina uses a heavier ketchup base. Lexington boasts of being “The Barbecue Capital of the World” and they have more than one BBQ restaurant per 1,000. Another important component of North Carolina barbecue is barbecue slaw, which has no mayonnaise, is made of cabbage, ketchup, vinegar, and black pepper. It can “properly” be served either on the side or in a sandwich.
South Carolina is the only state that includes all four recognized barbecue sauces, including mustard-based, vinegar-based, and light and heavy tomato-based. The barbecue of Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee is almost always pork served with a sweet tomato-based sauce. Alabama is particularly known for its distinctive white sauce, a mayonnaise- and vinegar-based sauce used mostly on chicken and pork. A popular item in North Carolina and Memphis is pulled pork which may be served alone or on a bun. It is often topped with cole slaw. Pulled pork is prepared by shredding the pork after it is barbecued.
Texas barbecue is often assumed to be primarily beef. 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.
Miscellaneous barbeque information:
In North Carolina, Wilbur’s and Parker’s are among the most famous restaurants. We have friends who have had Wilbur’s ship an entire dinner for a party for 500 (it arrived in an 18 wheeler!). I don’t know if Parker’s will do that as well.
The bbq addict who penned this article buys her bbq from Kings Restaurant in North Carolina.
Here are two fabulous recipes for ‘sides’ to go with your barbeque (noun).
Cole Slaw (basic recipe from The Joy of Cooking – then doctored)
Small head of cabbage, cored
4 carrots, peeled
¼ c. Mayonnaise
¼ c. French’s mustard
1 T. Celery seed
1 T. Sugar
Salt and pepper
- Shred cabbage and carrots and place in a deep bowl.
- You may adjust mayonnaise and mustard amounts, depending if you like your slaw creamy or tart. Add mayonnaise, mustard, celery seed and toss well.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately – 8 portions.
1 lb. dried navy or Great Northern beans
8 oz. slab smoked bacon, cut into ¼ inch pieces
1 c. onions
1 ½ c. packed dark brown sugar
2 c. ketchup
6 T. maple syrup
6 T. dark molasses
1⁄4 c. Worcestershire sauce
½ t. salt
¼ t. freshly ground black pepper
- Rinse and pick through beans. Soak them overnight in large pot of water.
- Rinse beans well under cold water and place in heavy saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Drain, reserving liquid.
- Preheat oven to 300 F.
- Place 2-qt casserole or dutch oven over medium heat and sauté bacon until slightly crisp and fat is rendered, about 5 minutes. Add onions and cook until wilted, 5 – 10 minutes.
- Add brown sugar and stir over medium-low heat until dissolved, about 5 minutes. Then stir in ketchup, syrup, molasses, Worcestershire, salt and pepper. Add drained beans and mix well.
- Cover casserole and transfer to the oven. Bake, stirring occasionally for 2 1⁄2 hours.
- Add 3⁄4 c. of reserved bean liquid, recover and bake 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake until sauce is thick, about another 10 – 15 minutes.
- Serve hot – approx. 10 portions.