American style BBQ differs greatly throughout the country. With so many barbecue styles to choose from, it's difficult to narrow all of them down. Barbecue has a rich tradition throughout the American south, especially in the southeast. Primarily a low-budget meal, barbecue initially took hold in many African-American families in the 19th and early 20th centuries. By the mid-1900's, many families had moved relocated north and each brought their own style of slow-cooked meats with them. Barbecue (or its' sister spelling, barbeque, as well as the truncated BBQ) restaurants sprung up all over the north. Though there are so many different places to choose from, 4 main styles of barbecue are generally referenced: Memphis, Carolina, Kansas City, and Texas.

Memphis-Style - Barbecue in Memphis is primarily either ribs or barbecue sandwiches. The ribs come in two predominant styles: wet and dry. Wet ribs are brushed with sauce prior to going on the grill and then brushed once again after they are cooked. Dry ribs are seasoned with any variation of herb and spice rubs, sometimes referred to as 'mops,' or with a salt rub. The barbecue sandwiches served in Memphis are typically chopped pork on a simple, plain bun and topped with Cole slaw. But this chopped pork is so popular that many residents, or even just fans of Memphis style, use the meat for a pizza topping or over nachos.

Carolina- Style - Carolina barbecue is usually pork, a tradition going back to the pre-colonial barbecues in America. The pork is predominantly pulled, shredded, or chopped, but is at times served sliced. The meat may be rubbed with a spice mixture  before it is smoked, and then mopped with a spice and vinegar mixture during smoking. In eastern North Carolina, the barbecue consists of the "whole hog", where meat from the entire pig is chopped and mixed together once the pig is barbecued. Eastern North Carolinabarbecue is also distinguished by the thin spice and vinegar liquid used. Western North Carolina style only uses the pork shoulder in barbecue, mainly made up of dark meat. The sauce dominant in western North Carolina is a thick, sweet tomato-based mop. Western North Carolina barbecue is often referred to as 'Lexington barbecue,' home to numerous restaurants and the annual Lexington Barbecue Festival.

South Carolina has three regional barbecue styles. Along the Savannah River in the western part of the state, a peppery tomato or ketchup-based sauce is commonly used. In the 'Midlands,' the central part of the state, barbecue is characterized by a sauce