The history of American barbecue is strongly entrenched into its sociological history. The word barbecue simultaneously brings to our mind the US and vice versa. But BBQ is more a passionate factor in the southern states of USA than any other place. Its origin dates back to the times of the Civil War and even before it. Thus, the history of American barbecue is almost the history of America itself.
To make a long story short, though the history of American barbecue states that it originated in the south, nevertheless there is no single taste prevalent there. The taste, ingredients used and sometimes even the method of cooking varies from state to state and even town to town. It would be convenient to understand if the region is divided into the South, East Coast and Central South sections.
In the South, the meat is not at all what the original barbecue used to be made of, and they usually use mutton and beef cooked only in the slow cooking method. They also have a complete range of BBQ sauces to go with their bar-b-q that can vary between a sweet tomato sauce or a fiery red-hot one.
The East Coast however holds on to its original beginnings and has pork for its BBQ meat and vinegar sauces to accompany it. The side dishes that are a common favorite are coleslaw and hushpuppies - a cornmeal pastry. The vinegar sauces however see many variations like vinegar sauces rich in tomato, or a yellow mustard based sauce, with side dishes like bread and stew or hash with rice.
In the Central South, the meat remains to be pork and its ribs, but the way it is cut differs, in the sense it is pulled rather than chopped. They are slow cooked, shredded by hand and covered with ample amounts of sauce. The ribs are greased with sauce or covered with a mix of sharp spices before pit cooking. The sauce here however is a sweet tomato sauce with a hint of pepper and molasses. It is usually served with coleslaw, French fries, baked beans and cornbread. Further, in the west beef gets more preference over pork.
The history of American barbecue narrates a tale that has modified itself with the times, but even now, if you want a bite of the all-original American barbecue, it would do you good to visit any of the Southern states.
Side Norte: No one is really sure where the term barbecue originated. The conventional wisdom is that the Spanish, upon landing in the Caribbean, used the word barbacoa to refer to the natives' method of slow-cooking meat over a wooden platform.
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