Funny........I'm a died in the Wool Yank (hence the wool vs Cotton) and I guess what you'd call a Wasp as well (boiled dinner anyone?). When I think of BBQ, the states of Texas, North Carolina, and Tennessee usually come to mind. But I have traveled extensively in the South and have had to what my blue-blooded, Ivy-educated tastebuds would consider outstanding "Q" in Georgia, Virginia, Kentucky, and Alabama as well. ( I have not spent enough time in MS to judge.....and outside of a few places in the Panhandle of FL, have found most places there lacking)
What do I look for? ( Gawd knows if I am looking for the right things?)
A. Tenderness...without mushiness.....the ribs don't have to fall off the bone, but if I'm gonna have to buy new teeth, well......
B. A Smoke Flavor and I guess what you "good ole boys" call a smoke-ring. I want to know it's been seasoned by the wood and the flavor thereof. Subtle, but nice...and often gives a slight "chari-ness" to the outside while leaving the inside juicy.
C. Saucing......before and with. This can be a conundrum (nice 10 dollar carpetbagger word). There's something to be said for both. I want saucing that ENHANCES the taste not overpowers it!!! I eat my fried clams without Tartar Sauce.....ALWAYS. Maybe a splash of lemon. I like to try the sauces and many do give a unique flavor to the meat (especially sausage and brisket)....but I ordered MEAT!, not sauce with some sort of chewy underlayer! I think it's one of the toughest things to balance, no matter where you are eating. And if you serve me some ...for lack of a better word.......Tex-Mex sauce that only makes me scream for a milkshake instead of a beer to calm my lips and tongue, you ain't serving "Q" anymore; you are serving meat with hot sauce. Not necessarily bad, just not what I want ATM
D. Sides......Some things I like; some I don't (LOL..will anyone ever offer bread pudding?.or even Brown bread?) They are what they are...sides.....nice compliments, seldom a meal by themselves. I have had cornbread done 45+ ways..some sublimely lovely, others atrocious. Beans are not my fav but they can make me smile. Coleslaw is a must, primarily to help cut the taste of some meats; others...well again, it depends on the place. Hushpuppy places get a big star in my book, because, Dammit, I like them!
I know no Yankee can ever get to the Holy Grail of "Q", but I gotta tell ya, some of the best -to me- I ever had was in Houston ( forget the name).and in all places, Emmitsburg MD, at Cubby's before I even knew of RF and CTF! And I have had it all those states mentioned above where it was GREAT.and in all of them..something Awful! To say a state can or cannot make great Q is a " hubris of gustatory gesticulation"...or...in my pre Ivy days..........pure Male cow-dung. Places make foods, not states. Yes, certain practices and sauces prevail in certain areas, and like the other age old debates( Blonde vs Brunette, Baseball vs Football, Chevy vs Ford, Lobster roll with butter or Mayo, etc), each have their adherents. That is fine, but don't necessarily putdown the other guys........it's different than what you like..but not bad!
That being said.i push the soapbox back into the ocean and go in search of the Cheesesteak outside of Philly being worthy of that name.
OK.Hog tie me and tar me.this is all tongue in cheek
OMG.i just realized I forgot South Carolina in the above...................Stick to your seafood and rice stuff....Nobody does it better!.......and someday I hope you get a bigger state
<message edited by FriedClamFanatic on Sun, 07/21/13 6:22 PM>