This Is What Makes Texas And Kansas City Barbecue Different

It seems that no matter where you are in the United States, everyone has an opinion about the best style of barbecue out there. But just because a handful of states claim to have superior regional barbecue doesn't mean they are all actually created equal. In fact, there are some major differences between the styles of barbecue you will find — including that of Texas and Kansas City.

Kansas City barbecue has something for everyone, according to many. This style has a wide variety of methods to barbecue and even grill meats, ranging from pork and beef to chicken and turkey, according to Learn to BBQ. And while you can find everything from slow-smoked barbecue to Carolina pulled pork and even Texas brisket, there are two distinct characteristics of Kansas City barbecue that really set it apart. 

Kansas City barbecue's signature touch is the crisp, charred ends of pork or smoked brisket. Meanwhile, the sweet and spicy tomato-based sauce that tops everything off is another hallmark of this regional culinary style. Texas barbecue, on the other hand, is often considered a different beast altogether.

This is what sets Texas barbecue apart

What really makes Texas barbecue so different and so complicated is that there are four major styles within the Lone Star state. It is an exceptionally wide expanse of land, after all. Essentially, the four kinds of barbecue there include Central Texas, East Texas, South Texas, and West Texas, says Learn to BBQ. Generally speaking, Central and East Texas styles are the two best-known varieties both inside and outside of the state.

Central Texas barbecue is made using a simple dry rub of salt and pepper, which is then slow-roasted using indirect heat from mesquite, oak, or pecan wood (via MasterClass). East Texas barbecue is also cooked low and slow with indirect heat. The primary difference here is that this meat is cooked for an even longer period of time in order to produce exceptionally tender meat. It's also cooked over hickory wood and uses a wet marinade rather than a dry rub.

South Texas barbecue derives from Mexican-style "barbacoa" and is often topped with a sweet molasses sauce. West Texas barbecue primarily uses mesquite wood, but the technique is more akin to grilling as it uses direct heat from an open fire.