There’s not a lot you can consider original American cuisine, considering its status as a melting pot of the world, merging cultures and peoples ever since its inception. Yet, there are exceptions to this – delicious, delicious exceptions to American-style barbecue. For those not in the know, barbecue is a style of indirect cooking which involves exposing tough cuts of meat to live fire and (usually) flavoured smoke at low temperatures for an extended amount of time. The process, equipment, and ingredients are so closely intertwined that they are all referred to under the blanket term of “BBQ”, and for the American pitmasters, the smoke and fire is much more than a simple pastime, deriving their style and tradition from four major styles,

Kansas City-style BBQ

Kansas City barbecue offers a wide range of meats, slow-smoked to perfection and seasoned with a rub of paprika and brown sugar, often finished with a thick lather of a sugary sauce. Pitmasters of this style usually keep a low, low heat to avoid charring their meats with the caramelized sugar coating – and beef, pork, or poultry is all fair game for the embers. The hallmark of this style is the burnt brisket ends, a fatty and flavourful cut from the point half of a full-sized brisket that’s usually added as an accompaniment to baked beans.

Memphis BBQ

Memphis, Tennessee is a place almost holy for the barbecue enthusiast, beloved by smoking purists across the country. Developed as one of the four dominant styles of American barbecue, pork meat is the foundation of most good Memphis-style barbecue, with pulled pork and pork ribs being the crown jewels of the region. Prepared with wet and dry rubs of paprika, black powder as well as garlic and onion powder, the tangy Memphis barbecue sauce is also unique with traditional hickory wood being the choice wood for the pitmasters, although the modern generation has shown an interest in the fruitwoods.

Texan BBQ

Representing one of the oldest styles of barbecue cooking in the U.S., Texan barbecue has its holy trinity of beef ribs, brisket, and hot links of sausage. Taking tradition from the immigrant Czech and German families, the meat and spice mixtures for their barbecues vary with heavy additions of black pepper, and with rub mixes of mustard and chilli powder on oak wood fires.

Filipino BBQ

Filipino BBQ
Filipino BBQ – Image via Flickr

Although not very similar to American-style barbecues, the tradition of barbecue itself thrives in the Philippines, its people appreciative and explorative of the styles of the country. You’ll find common sights as the pork BBQ skewers of the Filipino style, sharing a few similarities with its American counterpart. Traditionally smoked over charcoal fires, the modern movements of an Inasal menu, easily found at such places as Mang Inasal Philippines, have moved onto gas stoves and other appliances to cook their meat.