Beef brisket is THE Texas barbecue staple. Salt and smoke are the main ingredients because simple and straightforward is what Texas is all about. There are still some sauces here and there, but it's all about letting the meat speak for itself. Michael Symon joins pitmasters at Cedar Fest in Cedar Park, Texas, where he gets into the nitty gritty of what makes the best brisket.
The sweet, tangy red sauce that the majority of the country considers "barbecue sauce" is a Kansas City-style blend. Ribs are the primary meat of choice when it comes to backyard barbecues, and in competition, they're one of the hardest meats to consistently get right. In Olathe, Kansas, Michael Symon gets to the bottom of every claim made by pitmasters about THE way to make unrivaled ribs.
Chicken is king in Alabama barbecue, so Michael Symon heads to Gadsden to explore their world of barbecued bird. The white, mayonnaise-based sauce created in Alabama started with the chicken, but it has grown to be incorporated on all types of barbecue. In competition, this chicken is like nothing you've ever seen or tasted.
True Memphis barbecue relies on dry rub, a mix of seasonings that are smoked into the meat and then sprinkled on in a thick coat once the meat is finished. Michael Symon gets an inside look at what Memphis does best as he turns to the pitmasters who are committed to perfecting the most difficult and daunting style of barbecue -- whole hog.
Primarily pork with a vinegar-based sauce, Carolina barbecue is best showcased with the pulled pork sandwich. Michael Symon discovers that in competitions, pitmasters use new flavor profiles and techniques to prepare a winning plate of this barbecue classic.
In Georgia barbecue competitions, there's a new category of meat -- the pork loin. One of the most difficult cuts of meat to prepare for competition, pork loin separates the amateurs from the pros. In Tifton, Georgia, Michael Symon gets to the core of barbecue when he sees how pitmasters smoke this meat to tender perfection.