Christopher Abatangelo on BBQ Styles Across the U.S.
Christopher Abatangelo has always loved barbecue. Having lived in Texas and Tennessee, two major barbecue states, he has tried many different restaurants and their secret sauces. The states have similar base ingredients but each brings something unique to the picnic table.
Texas barbecue sauce is known for its thick consistency. It is ketchup and vinegar based and usually has a hint of sweetness due to the added brown sugar. Recipes vary but Worcestershire, cayenne, paprika, onion powder and garlic are frequent additions to the sauce. Occasionally, red chilies, jalapeños or even habanero peppers are added to the pot to give the sauce a heavy kick.
Tennessee, home of Jack Daniels Distillery, is known for its whiskey and bourbon. Barbecue sauce from this state is usually thinner than Texas style, largely in part by the aged corn alcohol added to each batch. The booze is reduced on the stove to cook out the majority of the alcohol. Bourbon gives the sauce a hint of vanilla. When paired with molasses, ketchup, Worcestershire and malt vinegar, sticky Tennessee barbecue sauce is hard to resist.
Christopher Abatangelo enjoys all of the different barbecue styles. His current favorite is from Iron Works BBQ in Austin, Texas, however, he is still experimenting with ingredients to craft the perfect sauce at home. One of his handcrafted recipes includes traditional Texan and Tennessean spices but includes chunks of pineapple, adding a twist to the flavor profile. He admits that the sauce still needs some tweaks but he believes the unique flavor will impress his friends and relatives from both states.