Can You Guess Which State These Iconic Barbecue Dishes Are From?

FOOD & DRINK

Ian Fortey

6 Min Quiz

Image: Lauri Patterson / E+ / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Barbecue in America is older than America itself with written accounts of it going all the way back to the 1600s. Even President George Washington spoke of attending a barbecue in Virginia back in 1769 so the tradition, especially in the South, is a long and proud one. They've had plenty of time to develop and perfect different recipes and different styles. So while for people who have don't have a big interest in it, barbecue may just seem like putting a steak on a grill and getting some char on it, for those in the know the world of barbecue is serious business.

Just like any kind of cuisine, regional differences in barbecue can be dramatic, from the kind of meat that's available to the kind of spices people like to use and of course the sauce. Every region has its own iconic dishes that you can probably get anywhere, but you'll never find them as good as in the place where it originated. If you love BBQ why not try your hand at this quiz and see if you can match some of America's iconic BBQ cuisine to the state that made it famous!

Where should you go if you want some of the best white chicken you can find?

Alabama's most famous BBQ contribution is the white chicken, a quarter chicken served with white BBQ sauce. Most sauces have a red or brown hue based on their core ingredients but this sauce is all white thanks to the fact it uses mayo as a base mixed with vinegar and other ingredients.

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In which state are you most likely to find some burnt ends?

Kansas City, Missouri is famous for its burnt ends: those little cuts of meat taken from the point of a smoked brisket and cubed. They're smoked black on the outside, hence the "burnt" part of the name, and smokey and flavorful inside. Other places make them but Kansas City perfected them.

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Barbacoa is favorite in some parts of what state?

Southern Texas is a place to find barbacoa — a cow's head smoked in agave leaves. The meat is cooked slowly until it can just be shaved off and makes for an excellent barbacoa taco.

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Which state is most likely to have a pitmaster who knows what you want when you ask for outside brown?

Outside brown may not sound appetizing but it's the name they'll use in North Carolina to describe the darkest, crispiest pieces of meat on the outside of whatever was cooking. It's good for adding texture and some intense smokey flavor.

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What state are you probably in when you order extra sauce and they correct you by saying "dip"?

Even though the rest of the world knows it as sauce and they know what you mean when you ask for sauce, there's a good chance someone at a North Carolina BBQ place will suggest you want more dip when you ask. And, weirdly enough, you're not expected to dip anything in this tomato and vinegar mix. You pour it on because it's a sauce.

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Where should you go for pork off the pit?

In parts of Kentucky when you order meat off the pit they know you mean you want it sliced right then and there off the shoulder, still hot from the fire, and served with a side of sauce. It's as close as you can get to table-side service with a massive cut of BBQ meat.

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Which state is cooking up a mean pork steak?

You can get a pork steak if you head to St. Louis, Missouri, assuming you want the best kind you can get. A slice of pork shoulder cut about 2 inches thick and slow-cooked for a few hours until it's almost falling apart.

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Every region seems to have its own BBQ sauce. Where do they make that tangy, yellow mustard sauce?

South Carolina went its own way with sauce, ignoring the tomato base that so many other states use, and opting instead for a yellow mustard-based sauce that's a little tangy and a little sweet thanks to the vinegar, sugar, and assorted spices that get tossed in as well.

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Do you know which state has made BBQ brisket into an art form?

Beef is king in Texas BBQ and the beef brisket is probably the most iconic dish in all of Texas BBQ. Dry-rubbed and then smoked for hours according to an individual pitmaster's recipe, this dish rarely makes it to states where pork is the prime meat, but some other states have tried to master it.

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Hash over rice can be a meal all on its own in this state. Where is it?

Hash made from smoked, barbecue sausage or other meats and served over rice is a solid menu item in South Carolina. Some places make a hash that's chiefly French fries or some other weird ingredient but a good South Carolina hash is just that pure, smokey sausage meat, or maybe a few dozen other meats with some onions and spices ground down almost into a stew and served on rice

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In what state are you finding the best BBQ mutton?

Kentucky does mutton on the barbecue, which is mature sheep as opposed to lamb which is usually younger. It's known for a decent fat content and a gamier taste than beef or pork. In Kentucky, it's also served with black dip, a Worcestershire-based sauce.

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A brown gravy sauce is a unique and delicious item from what state?

The brown gravy sauce you can find in Texas isn't a super common one and it's generally only found in North Texas. It's made like a typical gravy — thickened pan drippings with spices. The difference here is that the drippings in question come from smoked meat so it has that inherent smokey flavor you want in your BBQ.

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What state is making you a whole hog complete with skin?

Whole hog barbecue is a tradition in the Carolinas but North Carolina specifically will do the whole hog, skin and all, in a whole hog tray for you. That means a mix of lighter meat, darker meat, and the crispy skin to give you a lot of texture.

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Pork shoulder is common but where would you be if you're having chopped pork shoulder on a bun with a dill pickle?

A good smoked pork shoulder should be in any BBQ pit's wheelhouse but the way it's handled after that can vary greatly by region. Chopped pork shoulder served on a bun with dill pickle is something you won't find many places outside of Alabama.

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Ever heard of Delta-style tamales? Where can you get them?

Sometimes BBQ is only as good as its side dishes and a Mississippi Delta-style tamale is one of the best. Different than a Mexican tamale, these are made with cornmeal, they're boiled, and they're very spicy if they're made right.

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Lots of BBQ places make slaw on the side. Where are you getting red slaw?

North Carolina is home to red slaw, sometimes called Lexington-style slaw. While your average coleslaw is white thanks to mayonnaise being the base of the sauce, red slaw doesn't use mayo. It does have ketchup in it though, which is where the name comes from.

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What state is going to serve you some crispy skin on the side of your plate?

The skin of the pig is often discarded in a lot of BBQ cooking but they let it crisp up in North Carolina and will serve it on the side of a lot of mix plates if you want it. Some people call them cracklins.

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If you want to experience a BBQ steak, what state is famous for them?

Oklahoma doesn't have a huge BBQ scene compared to some of the other states but they sure know steak. Oklahoma City is famous for its steakhouses — not to mention cowboys and stockyards — and grills up some of the best steaks anywhere.

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Pulled pork has become one of the most popular BBQ dishes in America. Where should you be going to try some?

Good pulled pork exists in a lot of places but Memphis, Tennessee is famous for it. Cooked low and slow until the meat just falls apart naturally and slathered in sauce, it makes a sandwich you won't soon forget.

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Which state is making you a perfect chopped brisket sandwich?

Texas perfected brisket so there's no way they didn't make the best brisket sandwich as well. You can get these made without sauce or just drowned in whatever kind of sauce you prefer.

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If you like dry-rubbed ribs where should you go?

Memphis, Tennessee does dry ribs, which are rubbed as opposed to sauced (though you can sauce them later, too, if you like). A typical rub will consist of salt, pepper, garlic, onion, celery seed, and probably something to give it a kick, like cayenne.

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You may not consider this a barbecue state but they're known for their rib tips. Where is it?

Chicago, Illinois is home to a number of BBQ places that specialize in rib tips. As the name suggests, these are just the tips of the ribs, full of cartilage, but they make a tasty, smokey snack if they're done right. Arguably Illinois' biggest contribution to the BBQ scene.

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Where would you go for Santa Maria-style BBQ?

California's cuisine is very eclectic but they do have some of their own BBQ, including Santa Maria-style. Proper Santa Maria-style involved grilling beef tri-tip over red oak with spices like pepper, garlic, and salt.

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A traditional dish from this state involves cooking a whole pig underground. Where is it?

One of the most iconic dishes of Hawaiian cuisine is the Kalua pig, which is cooked over hot coals buried underground in what would qualify as one of the most simple but effective barbecue ovens ever made.

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A man named Big Bob Gibson is credited with making this sauce that goes with chicken or pork. Where'd he make it?

Robert Gibson, owner of Big Bob Gibson's Bar-B-Q in Decatur, Alabama is credited with inventing Alabama's white bbq sauce. Using mayo as a base, the sauce includes vinegar, salt, pepper, other spices and sometimes horseradish for an extra kick.

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Which state is making you the best smoked turkey sandwich with chow chow?

Like chicken, turkey has been pretty well mastered by the pitmasters of Alabama. You can get a killer turkey sandwich there served with chow chow, which is a kind of pickled relish that could be made from any number of veggies.

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There's a kind of sausage called "hot guts." Where is it from?

Sausage may not get as much love as pork or brisket in BBQ, but in Texas, they do put in some effort to make it memorable. Hot gut sausage is made of a rough-chopped and spiced beef held in a pork casing and generally smoked to perfection.

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Baby back ribs are a famous dish from where?

Kansas City, Missouri is home to some iconic baby back ribs and, arguably, is the city that made BBQ ribs famous. The key is the sauce that they use which is much sweeter than the sauce you'll find in other states.

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Do you know which state can fix you up some Brunswick stew?

Brunswick stew comes from Brunswick, Georgia and is so popular they have a festival for it. If you've never tried it, the stew is a tomato-based soup with corn and butter beans then piled full of smoked pork and chicken.

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Pork shoulder sliced very thin is a specialty of this place. Do you know it?

Head to Monroe County, Kentucky and they'll thinly slice some pork shoulder for you and cook it right over some hickory coals. The end result looks like a thick-cut ham or a thin-cut steak.

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Where would you find some Lexington-style sauce?

North Carolina barbecue is known for Lexington-syle barbecue, from the town of Lexington, which is very much defined by its sauce. It's a tomato and vinegar-based sauce that includes spices and brown sugar.

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What state is known for an apple cider vinegar sauce?

Virginia barbecue has been very much overshadowed by the stuff coming from other states, but it's believed that the tradition may have actually taken root in Virginia. President George Washington was apparently a fan.

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Smoked salami is a rare treat but who does it best?

St Louis, Missouri is the place to go for some smoked salami which is exactly what it sounds like. It's one of the lesser-known items you'll find on any menu but those who have tried it have seemed to like it.

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Which state would you want to head to for a sandwich made from finely chopped pork with a vinegar and pepper sauce

Arkansas barbecue sauce is a bit zippier than some kinds, made with black pepper and vinegar as well as other spices. Some places will repurpose old ketchup bottles with this sauce and leave it on the table for you.

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Big, meaty beef ribs are from what state?

Nearly all barbecue ribs out in the world are pork ribs but in Texas, they go all-out with beef ribs. They're bigger and meatier than the pork ribs and they shouldn't be made with a rub or a sauce.

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Who has mastered the art of BBQ ham?

Most barbecue focused on pork will use a pork shoulder, but some next-level barbecue uses fresh ham like they do in South Carolina. The curing process for ham makes the flavor more complex than simple pork shoulder.

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In which state are you getting barbecue with a side of onion rings and apricot sauce?

Texas barbecue includes any number of famous sides, like baked beans or coleslaw, but there's also the very unique Texas side of onion rings served with a sweet and sticky apricot sauce.

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Where might you go for some famous wet-style ribs?

Memphis, Tennessee barbecue is famous for two kinds of ribs: dry ribs, which are made with a dry rub and smoked, and wet ribs, which are, obviously, made with a sauce slathered all over them.

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Can you tell us where you'd go to get some burgoo?

Kentucky is famous for its burgoo, a kind of stew that can be made with just about any meat imaginable including chicken, pork, beef, turkey or more traditional and exotic items like squirrel and possum. It's a staple side dish for any Kentucky BBQ.

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Where are you going to find the best smoked jalapeno and cheese sausage?

Texas may be most famous for its brisket and beef ribs but it does a good job with sausage as well. Adding a bit of Mexican flair with some jalapeno makes for some spicy and salty beef sausages that are a staple at many restaurants.

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