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Hatfield Whats Cookin
August 03, 2021

East, Central, West & South: Inside the four types o f Texas  barbecue

Hatfield Texas BBQWe’ve all heard everything's bigger in Texas, and cookouts are no exception! As the second largest U.S. state, the diverse cultures that make up the region have lent themselves to the creation of four unique styles of BBQ: East, Central, West and South. 

Texas BBQ first got its start in the European meat-smoking traditions brought to America by German and Czech settlers during the mid-19th century. While each of the four styles can trace its lineage to this cultural overlap, many of the similarities end there.

East: If you think it's done, keep cooking

When it comes to the East Texas BBQ, the name of the game is achieving that perfect "fall-off-the-bone" quality.

Rather than using a dry rub, the meat is marinated in a sweet, tomato-based sauce, and then it’s slow-cooked with hickory wood (which grows throughout the state) for hours on end. Although the time commitment may seem daunting, when that first bite melts in your mouth, it’s more than worth it. 

Serve up your meat on a thick bun with pickles and the sauce of your choice to really have an authentic East Texas experience.

Central: Salt and pepper is all you need

For many, when they think of Texas BBQ, Central-style is likely what comes to mind. Made with a super simple dry rub, the meat is cooked low and slow over mesquite, pecan or oak wood.

Think of spices and sauces as a complement to your dish rather than the star of the show. The unique flavor profile created by the low-and-slow method should carry the dish on its own. And, while Central Texas BBQ is typically served up on a plate, a thick slice of white bread can make the perfect side.

West: The Lone Ranger of BBQ

We can thank the cowboys of Texas for this unique take on BBQ.

Often called "cowboy style," West Texas BBQ opts for a direct heating method, cooking right on the grill to achieve a more smoky flavor than the wood-smoked styles. Try experimenting with mesquite-inspired marinades and rubs to really bring out these unique flavors. 

This style is more closely associated with traditional grilling than the other three, but that means the sides are completely up to you! Some go-to dishes include pinto beans, macaroni and cheese, and potato salad. If you’re really going for that hometown-Southern feel, try your hand at fried okra or sweet potato casserole.

South: The sweeter the better 

If you’re craving the perfect combination of savory and sweet, this style of Texas BBQ is for you.

Instead of using a tomato-based sauce or simple dry rub, South Texas BBQ features a thick, molasses-like marinade that helps to lock in the moisture of the meat while it cooks. Pair with cornbread and some coleslaw for the ultimate cookout experience.

Bringing Texas to you

You don’t have to head down to Texas or spend the next 12 hours smoking meat if you’re ready to try some of the state’s famous BBQ styles.

The adventure starts at home! We recommend getting started with our Texas Smokehouse BBQ Seasoned Dry Rub Pork Loin Filet or Texas Smokehouse Pork Roast for a straight-off-the-smoker flavor.


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