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Why Barbecue Homogenization is a Good Thing

The Salt Lick BBQ in Driftwood, Texas.
Photo via Flickr/wallyg (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
The Salt Lick BBQ in Driftwood, Texas.

From Texas Standard:Barbecue in the U.S. comes in all shapes and sizes. The multiple variations of sauces, cuts of meats, and rubs provide a distinction between certain regional styles of the dish. Or do they? 

Barbecue homogenization is a current trend blurring the line between what makes a certain state’s barbecue unique from another’s. "It's really seeing the specialties of specific regions being spread far and wide,"  Daniel Vaughn, Texas Monthly’s barbecue editor, says. "There is something to say about the regionalism of each one of these barbecue styles. It's part of what makes them special."


There's also some significant difference in the way that barbecue is cooked in different regions, Vaughn says. In the Carolinas, barbecue meat is usually cooked directly over hot coals. In Texas, we smoke our brisket.

On the other hand, we can't ask pit masters to ignore the fact that any and every protein is available for order from their food supplier, Vaughn says. The trend started with the way barbecue knowledge has spread, with pit tips available on YouTube.

"It's not that hard to learn via satellite how to cook a brisket, whether you're in Seattle or Miami," Vaughn says.

So what's his verdict? "The more good barbecue there is out there for everybody, the better," Vaughn says.

Copyright 2020 KUT 90.5. To see more, visit KUT 90.5.

Leah Scarpelli joined Texas Standard in September 2015 from NPR’s Morning Edition, where she spent seven years as a producer, director and occasional reporter of music and arts pieces. As Texas Standard director, Leah is responsible for the overall practical and creative interpretation of each day’s program: choosing segue music, managing the prep of show content, and providing explicit directions for the host and technical director during the live broadcast. She graduated from Ithaca College in New York with a Bachelor of Science degree in Television and Radio. She enjoys riding her Triumph motorcycle and getting out for hikes in the Texas countryside. Her late grandfather was from Yoakum.