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Culinary Spotlight: American BBQ

August 29, 2009 Le Cordon Bleu Austin 0 Comments

Pork or beef? In barbeque circles this is the most important question there is, especially for Texas chefs. Texans like their beef for sure, but there is much more to American BBQ than brisket and beef ribs. Some brave Austin chefs have even begun to put pork ribs and shoulder on their menus. While that may be akin to treason deep in the heart of Texas, it is common territory for barbeque cooks around the country.

Let’s take a look at some regional variations of American BBQ and find out whether you prefer pork or beef … or both.

Carolina Barbeque
There are more variations in Carolina barbeque than any of the other barbeque styles. They breakdown according to cuts of meat (ribs, shoulder, whole hog) to the sauces used (vinegar or mustard based). One thing they agree on, however, is the use of pork. It is king in all of Carolina barbecue.

Memphis Barbeque
Memphis barbeque is also primarily pork based, but it sticks with ribs. The biggest difference, however, is the lack of finishing sauces. When you order Memphis-style ribs they’ll come to your plate dry with a generous coating of spice rub. Sauces are served on the side, if you want them.

Kansas City Barbeque
Many consider Kansas City to be the capital of American BBQ, mostly because of the well-known Kansas City-style barbeque sauce. It is the famous thick, sweet, and spicy tomato-based sauce you’ll find on your grocer’s shelves. Because of its central geography Kansas City serves both pork and beef barbeque.

Texas Barbeque
While you may see a few Texas chefs – especially those in Eastern Texas near the Louisiana border - reaching out to their southern neighbors and putting pork ribs and shoulder on the menu, beef is still king in Texas. Steaks, brisket, and beef ribs can be found on all barbeque restaurant menus. Thanks to a wave of German and Czech settlers in the late 1800s, Texas is also well known for smoked sausages. They use leftover cuts of beef and pork from family-owned meat markets to make their own signature sausages.

If you are looking for an Austin chef job, then you should try to add barbeque cooking to your bag of tricks. It is a signature American cooking style full of both flavor and tradition.

This article is presented by The Texas Culinary Academy. The Texas Culinary Academy offers Le Cordon Bleu culinary education classes and culinary training programs in Austin, Texas. To learn more about the class offerings, please visit Chefs.edu/Austin for more information.

The jobs mentioned are examples of certain potential jobs, not a representation that these outcomes are more probable than others. The Texas Culinary Academy does not guarantee employment or salary.


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