Barbecue is perhaps the most American of cuisines. Originating and developed in the South and Midwest, barbecue is big in other parts of the country. New York, for instance, has tremendous spots such as Dinosaur Bar-B-Que and Hill Country.
In terms of its barbecue scene, Philly is hard to define. It’s not about the pulled and chopped pork-centered barbecue with vinegar or tomato-based sauces of North Carolina. It isn’t, at least until recently, the informal, served-on-paper, Central Texas style of emphasis on the quality of the meat, especially beef, rather than on sauce. And it most definitely does not feature dry rub ribs like Memphis or slow-smoked and heavily-sauced barbecue of Kansas City.
Barbecue in Philly, however, has been evolving. New spots now offer the best features of the traditional styles popular elsewhere. Just in the past couple of months, three spots – Blue Belly BBQ, Bubba’s Texas BBQ and Fette Sau – opened up and are significant additions to the city’s smoked meat scene. Sounds like a good time to do a side-by-side taste test and comparison.