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A Kentucky Conundrum

Discussion in 'Kentucky Member Group' started by historic foodie, Oct 18, 2014.

  1. Got a question for my fellow Kentuckians. Why is it that, when talk turns to regional cue differences, Kentucky---which has a unique style of its own---is hardly ever mentioned? We hear about eastern NC and its vinegar sauce, and South Carolina’s mustard. There’s Memphis style; and Kansas City style, and Texas style. We're told that in western NC, whole hog is king; and beef rules in the Lone Star State, and pork ribs in a sweet sauce defines KC cue.

    But nary a word about the Bluegrass.

    Even the barbecue joints in central Kentucky ignore the home-grown style. Almost all of them take either the Memphis or Kansas City routes (and most of those I’ve tried do those badly---but that’s another issue).

    So, anyone got any ideas as to why Kentucky style doesn’t have a bigger presence?
  2. icyhot

    icyhot Smoking Fanatic

    I can't answer that but I will put my bbq up against anyone's out there.
  3. icyhot

    icyhot Smoking Fanatic

    don't really understand it myself but u have owensborow and mumfordsville that are big time bbq spots. Looks like u would here more about the bluegrass
  4. Ironically, there was more discussion about Kentucky back in the day; long before barbecue became such a national mania. Both James Beard and Craig Claiborne, among others, talked about Kentucky's black barbecue sauce.

    But then it seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle, somehow.

    I can understand not finding Kentucky cue in, say, Georgia. But the fact it doesn't exist in Lexington is just sinful IMO.
  5. .....but I will put my bbq up against anyone's out there.

    Sure, now. But what happens after I steal that Lang away from you? [​IMG]
  6. icyhot

    icyhot Smoking Fanatic

    I'll just use old faithful the Okie Joe.
  7. Kentucky barbecue? [​IMG]

    In the Louisville area it seems pretty much just like KC to me, with the exception of a local chain with terrible Q (Mark's Feed Store) that for some reason has a mustard-based sauce.

    I have been to Owensboro and had mutton BBQ but that seemed like KC with a different meat than usual.

    Never heard of this black BBQ sauce... must look into that!

    Personally my favorite sauce styles are north Alabama and midlands SC.
  8. I'll start a new thread on what, specifically, would be Kentucky style. Essentially, that simply means a Worcestershire & vinegar base (thus the "black"). It's also highlighted by a greater use of mutton than other places. But that's because Kentucky, at one time, was the number one sheep producer in America. There was at least one slaughterhouse for them in every county.

    Even in Owensboro and Henderson, the traditional centers of Kentucky style cue, there's bee a gradual shift towards KC and Memphis styles. But you can still find the true gelt if you look for it.
  9. Hmmm... intriguing.  I definitely want to try making this black BBQ sauce.  Thanks for mentioning it.
  10. SmokinLogs

    SmokinLogs Smoking Fanatic

    I know this is an older post, but I couldn’t pass it up. I’m from Owensboro, and I can’t get enough of the Q. It’s like no other type of Q out there. It can probably have a pretty strong flavor for those who didn’t grow up on it. Mutton has a bit of a gamey flavor, but I love it. If anyone is ever in the area there are 3 major BBQ joints; moonlight, old hickory, and ole south. All 3 are good, and all a little different from the other. Moonlight has a large buffet with all kinds of good sides and deserts to go with it. Ole south has a good buffet, a little less selection but good quality. My personal favorite is Old Hickory. I love the flavor of their sauce “dip” the best. It’s all good. Also known mainly just to the area is the burgoo soup. It’s usually got mutton in it and it’s very savory. I’d recommend it to anyone in the area. Growing up in Owensboro I didn’t know there were many other BBQ styles until I got older. I’m surprised Owensboro isn’t a little more well known for BBQ being the home of the International BBQ festival. So if anyone ever gets the chance to pass through the area I’d definitely stop in and try some of the delicious Q that Owensboro KY has to offer.