After you have decided what you are going to barbecue, you need to decide what you are going to put on that barbecue: marinade, rub, sauce, or a combination.
Depending on where you are in the country will quite often determine what you are doing with the meat during the preparation and smoking process. In Memphis, they love dry-rubbed ribs and pork with a sauce on the side. North Carolina is known for chopped whole hog with a vinegar-based sauce poured over the top before serving, while South Carolina serves up a mustard-based sauce. Texas is big on brisket, and depending on where you are in Texas will determine what kind of rub you’re using. White sauce on chicken began in Alabama, and burnt ends started in Kansas City where a thicker tomato-based sauce can be found in almost every BBQ joint around town.
Now here’s where it gets confusing. With the popularity of barbecue growing around the country, take everything you’ve just read above and throw it out the window. People love all kinds of barbecue, and as people move around the county you start to see these styles blending and changing.
There’s nothing wrong with taking a traditional rib rub heavy in paprika, salt, brown sugar, garlic, onion and other spices and then lathering that rack with sauce right at the end of the cooking process. If there is one thing to remember about barbecue this is it; make it the way you and your family love it.
How to know when ribs are done
How to find hot and cold spots in your smoker
How to use an injection for flavour