BBQ Across the USA: From Dry Rubs to Pig Pickin'

If you've never used meat to orient yourself on a map, you haven't truly lived. Barbecue - the slow-cooking smoked kind, not the backyard-grilled kind - is an American institution. Take a virtual stroll through the barbecue belt to get schooled on who's doing what with their pits. We promise there won't be a test at the end, although we can't guarantee you won't have a serious hankering for some quality 'cue (9 Photos)

Sara Gauchat on Aug 1, 2012 at 3:00PM

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BBQ Across the USA: From Dry Rubs to Pig Pickin'

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Kansas City

If you've got a bottle of KC Masterpiece sauce in your pantry, then you've got a little slice of the Kansas City barbecue world right there. The home of the most quintessential BBQ sauce also happens to have the most heavily-smoked meat in the country. Very frequently, that meat is going to be brisket or ribs (spare ribs, to be specific), often given a spiced rub and then later topped by that type of sweet, thick sauce. "Kansas City barbecue is what the rest of America thinks of as barbecue," says Raichlen. And that all-American flavor is helped along quite nicely by hickory, oak and pecan woods in the smokers—not to mention sides of barbecued baked beans and French Fries.

Of course, not all Kansas City 'cue plays by the local BBQ rules. A few joints offer up lighter, tarter barbecue sauces. The Midwestern meat mecca also serves up burnt ends, which are the crusty end pieces of the brisket, double-cooked, cubed and liberally sauced. And if you think that sounds like a flavor explosion, you'd be right on the money.

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