The Menu Item You Should Never Skip At A Barbecue Restaurant

Whether browsing menus at barbecue restaurants in Memphis or bellying up to a Korean barbecue in Seoul, there is one area your eye should beeline to: local specialties. As tempting as it might be to settle on your usual order of slow-cooked ribs or plates of beef brisket, you may want to reconsider. Styles of regional BBQ in the United States vary, with different areas known for sauces, cuts, and ways of cooking that can keep diners' mouths watering. 

While Tennessee is known for its ribs, Carolina is known for smoky pulled pork. Diners in Kansas City should sample the sweeter tomato sauces that accompany dry-rubbed meat, and barbecue enthusiasts in St. Louis will be treated to special servings of flat pork spare ribs that are as pretty to look as they are delicious to eat. And while regions have become known for specific recipes and platters, chefs across the United States have put unique spins on their barbecue dishes.

Regional flavors that can't be beat

We'll also add that, if burnt ends are offered — pieces sliced from brisket's fattiest sections — diners should sample a taste, as it's a surefire way to tell whether a barbecue joint knows its stuff. And then there's the sauce that will accompany the plates you've ordered. In the Carolinas, a vinegary-red peppery sauce has gained a reputation as the country's oldest barbecue sauce, whereas in Lexington, chefs add ketchup to a similar red pepper and vinegar base for diners to pour onto their meals. Over in Alabama, a mayo-based white sauce has made a name for itself, and the condiment can be found drizzled onto chicken, coleslaw, potato salad, and macaroni dishes.

Of course, when you're dining at a barbecue restaurant, you can't ignore the sides. Baked beans can show off a restaurant's take on a classic favorite, and slices of cornbread can be the perfect ticket to mop up excess sauce. Choose a potato or slaw salad to round out the meal and you'll be well-fed, satisfied, and may even have leftovers to take home and enjoy the next day.