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History of BBQ in the South
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The history of real American BBQ.

In the southern United States, during the 19th century, pigs were an easy food option. They could be released to forage and fend for themselves in forests. These semi-wild hogs were then caught and eaten when food supplies were low. During the time when this pork was cooked, barbecue was developed. 

The pig was first introduced to the Americas and the American Indians by the Spanish. In exchange, the Indians introduced the Spanish to the concept of using smoke to slow cook food. In the early 16th century, the Spanish colonists came to South Carolina and settled at Santa Elena. Europeans first learned the secrets of preparing "real" barbecue in that early American colony. 

Pork was incredibly popular in the Southern United States, prior to the American Civil War. According to estimates, Southerners ate around five pounds of pork for every one pound of beef they consumed.  Due to the poverty at that time, there were efforts to eat  or save every portion of the pig (including the ears, feet, and other organs). Pig slaughtering was an important event because of the effort to capture and cook these wild hogs. Neighborhoods would celebrate and be invited to share in the largesse. The traditional Southern barbecue grew out of these gatherings. In Cajun culture, these are called boucheries. These feasts are also sometimes called 'pig pickin's.' 

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Varieties of BBQ around America.

Different varieties of barbecue developed in each Southern locale and within each BBQ restaurant. The main differentiating factor is the sauce. Separate regions of North Carolina boast different flavors; eastern North Carolina uses a vinegar-based sauce, the center of the state enjoys Lexington-style barbecue, which uses a combination of ketchup and vinegar as their base, and western North Carolina uses a heavier ketchup base.

 Lexington has been known as "The Barbecue Capital of the World" as it has more than one BBQ restaurant per 1,000 residents. All four recognized barbecue sauces together exist only in South Carolina. The flavors include mustard-based, vinegar-based, and light and heavy tomato-based. Memphis barbecue is best known for tomato- and vinegar-based sauces. Meat is rubbed with dry seasoning (dry rubs) and smoked over hickory wood without sauce in some Memphis establishments and in Kentucky; the finished barbecue is then served with barbecue sauce on the side.

In states like Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee barbecue is almost always pork served with a sweet tomato-based sauce. However, several regional variations exist as well.  Alabama owns the rights to a distinctive white sauce, a mayonnaise- and vinegar-based sauce, originating in northern Alabama, mostly used on chicken and pork. Pulled pork sandwiches are a popular item in North Carolina and Memphis. Served on a bun and often topped with coleslaw, the pulled pork is prepared by shredding the pork after it has been barbecued.

Typical selection of BBQ Meats.

Using of different types of meat (including pulled pork, pork ribs, burnt ends, smoked sausage, beef brisket, beef ribs, smoked/grilled chicken, smoked turkey, and sometimes fish) is the signature of Kansas City-style barbecue. Kansas City has a rich history as a center for meat packing in the U.S. With KC sauces typically tomato based with sweet, spicy and tangy flavor profiles, Hickory is the primary wood used for smoking. Burnt ends, the flavorful pieces of meat cut from the ends of a smoked beef or pork brisket, are popular in many Kansas City-area barbecue restaurants.

Maryland style

Maryland-style pit-beef follows a slightly different practice than other barbecue.  It involves grilling the meat over a high heat; there is no smoking of the meat involvedPit-beef is often enjoyed at large outdoor "bull roasts", which are common for club or association fundraising events. The meat is typically served rare, with a strong horseradish sauce as the preferred condiment. 

Kentucky style

In the state of Kentucky, particularly Western Kentucky, the preferred meat is mutton.  This kind of mutton barbecue is often used in communal events in Kentucky, such as political rallies, county fairs and church fund-raising events.

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The "Texas BBQ" tradition.

Throughout the world, barbecue is closely associated with Texas. Regardless of the style they actually serve, many barbecue restaurants outside the United States claim to serve "Texas barbecue." 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.

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