From St. Louis spare ribs to Texas brisket, each state has its own way of doing BBQ. This makes barbecue one of the most divisive types of food, bringing up strong opinions rooted in family tradition and state loyalty. Treetopia decided to figure out once and for all which BBQ foods are the most popular, creating a map of the favorite BBQ food in each state.
The Many Kinds of BBQ
Whether you grew up grilling veggies and meat in backyard cookouts or learned about this amazing food group through your local BBQ joint, you probably have a preference on your BBQ dishes. Are you baby back ribs fan, or do you go for some grilled pork chops? From loin to short ribs to BBQ pork shoulder to BBQ chicken wings, there are more BBQ grilling recipes than we could possibly count. The one thing they have in common is how delectable they are!
There's even more to it than the meat, since there are countless marinades to choose from as well. Classic barbecue sauce like Sweet Baby Ray's or Stubb's Original are go-to choices, but some prefer a tangy Asian BBQ sauce, spicy jalapeño sauce or a light, herby concoction full of lime juice and basil. Popular sauce ingredients are soy sauce, hot sauce, paprika, vinegar and brown sugar, but there are an endless number of delicious BBQ sauce recipes.
Another essential element of BBQ food culture is the side dishes! No barbecue main dish is complete without a helping of coleslaw and a number of other appetizers and sides. Grilled vegetables are also a tasty choice, like corn on the cob, zucchini and crispy veggie skewers. Plus, we can't forget the potato salad and baked beans.
There are also many BBQ fusion options, from Korean BBQ to Mexican BBQ tacos. While some barbecue purists feel that the best BBQ sticks to its roots, others welcome the combo of flavors and ingredients that barbecue fusion brings.
Favorite BBQ in Each State
We all know how many options there are when it comes to a good BBQ, but what about the favorites in each state? Just from first glance at the map, you can see that hamburgers and watermelon are up there when it comes to popularity. It looks like potato chips and grilled chicken are also popular choices.
Based on the map, the most popular BBQ foods in the country are hamburgers, hot dogs, pulled pork, and grilled chicken, along with watermelon and potato chips. The watermelon is an interesting and unexpected outcome, but no one can deny how tasty a watermelon rind is when digging into some barbecue chicken or pork ribs.
A few outliers are sausages in Mississippi and potato salad in Vermont, but it looks like much of the country is in agreement. If you break it down by region, the Midwest is all about the ribs, while the Western part of the country is a big fan of hamburgers. As for the Northeast and South, watermelon is the way to go.
Overall Favorite BBQ Food
To take the research even further, Treetopia found the favorite BBQ food in the country overall, and it's watermelon! Second place is hamburgers, then ribs, and then potato chips. Grilled chicken, pulled pork and kebabs are all tied for fifth. Does this match your favorite BBQ food?