BBQ entered the United States through the East Coast during colonial times and gradually gained popularity in the Western Coast. The spice rub and sauces used to flavor the meat vary geographically, depending on the region’s local produce. That is precisely why the Memphis Barbecue has a spicy and sweet taste due to the abundance of spices, tomatoes, and molasses in Tennessee. Recreating this smoky goodness can be challenging for home chefs as most BBQ joints have a designated pit for roasting. However, we have crafted this simple yet delicious recipe for you to cook it at home.
Memphis Barbecue: Flavoring
Let’s be honest; there is nothing worse than an under-seasoned piece of meat. Therefore, BBQ is all about hitting the perfect smoky, spicy, and sweet notes with a hint of tanginess. The secret to the distinctive flavor of barbecued Memphis meat lies in its spice rub, which is relatively mild but used in abundance. Before cooking the protein is rubbed and then caked with a mixture of spices including;
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Brown sugar
- Chili powder
- Black pepper
- Kosher salt.
The juices released by the meat form paste resulting in a thick layer of spices. Afterward, the fat rendered while roasting cooks the spices and gives it a hearty flavor.
Memphis Barbecue: Meat
As previously mentioned, the BBQ styles in different states of America were highly influenced by their locally available ingredients. Every state has a unique spice blend, BBQ sauce, meat cut, and method of cooking, but pork is a common factor in all of them. No doubt, you can find a wide range of meat cuts from beef to fish, sausages, chicken, turkey, and even tofu for vegetarians. However, sparerib trimmed pork ribs and pulled apart pork shoulders symbolize the Southern America BBQ staple, especially Memphis.
Usually, pork ribs are cooked dry using a bunch of spices and without any sauce; therefore, the quality and taste of ribs are highly important. BBQ experts in Memphis never compromise on the value of meat and use premium quality ribs. Consequently, it is advised to put a lot of thought and money while buying a rib rack for your BBQ.
Memphis Barbecue: Grilling
Typically, meat is simmered on either wood or charcoal for more extended periods until tender. The cue to perfectly cooked and juicy pork BBQ is when it starts to fall off the bones. If you are cooking at home, chances are you don’t have a fancy oven pit as used in restaurants. But with this technique, you can improvise using your regular oven with some added tricks.
Preheat your oven at 350°, after wrapping the meat in a foil place it in a baking sheet and cook for about 90 minutes. Then reduce the oven heat to 250° and cook for another 90 minutes or until cooked. Take out your baking tray, remove the foil, and dust some of the spice-blend.
In a bowl, prepare a sauce using tomato ketchup, vinegar, sugar, and cayenne pepper. Then, use a brush layer of the sauce over the meat and bake for another 30 minutes or until browned. Voila! Your Memphis BBQ is ready to serve with the sides of your choice.