Guys, when you came into this world, you were endowed with two key items: that dangly thing between your legs, and a propensity to cook food over a raging fire.
If your idea of a barbecue is tossing a few anemic Ballpark franks onto the Weber, not only are you completely mistaken, but you have been cheating yourself this entire summer as well — if not longer. As the season comes to a close, you owe it to yourself to master the four regions of barbecue, all available in Boston. Learn just how the masters do it before you attempt it yourself, and before the fire department confiscates your rooftop meat smoker.
When you think of pulled pork, you’re most likely thinking of Carolina barbecue. As is the case in any of the other three regions, people take their barbecue very seriously (if you only had the Panthers and the Hurricanes, slow-cooked meat would be a damn good solace for you too). Elected officials have passed laws about this stuff, whether Lexington style or eastern style (“everything on the pig but the squeal”) is the one true Carolina barbecue. But you needn’t worry about any of that. Carolina barbecue is dry-rubbed and cooked long and slow, occasionally mopped with spices and vinegar.
Where to find it: Check out Blue Ribbon BBQ at 908 Massachusetts Ave. in Arlington Center.
Though former Bruins forward Tyler Seguin’s homophobic tweet about the only two things that come from Texas was condemned by many, including his new superiors at the Dallas Stars organization, he did get it half right; there’s plenty of beef in Texas. The barbecue there often consists of brisket and beef ribs, all naked. From there, Texans will apply any of a variety of sauces, but usually tomato and Worchestershire based.
Where to find it: Head to Sweet Cheeks BBQ at 1381 Boylston St. in the Fenway.
Memphis is known for its ribs, but in two distinct preparations. There are wet ribs, slathered with sauce before and after cooking, and dry ribs, seasoned with a brown sugar based rub prior to cooking. Though ribs are the crown jewel of the Memphis repetoire, pork butt isn’t uncommon either, and it’s typically served alongside some slaw.
Where to find it: Take the Red Line to Davis Square and visit Redbones at 55 Chester St. in Somerville.
Perhaps the loudest of the four regions, Kansas City barbecue is typically hickory smoked and covered in spices, rubs and sauces. Known for its thick and tangy tomato sauces sweetened with molasses (think K.C. Masterpiece), Kansas City barbecue’s specialty is its pork ribs, though other cuts and meat are fair play. In fact, the burnt ends of smoked pork shoulders are considered a delicacy in the region, and for good reason.
Where to find it: Head up to Brighton for Smoken Joe’s BBQ 351 at Washington St.
Go forth and engorge, my friends.
Photo via Sports-Glutton