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17 Types of BBQ Styles & Varieties (With Pictures)

man grilling barbecue in bbq smoker

The BBQ world is filled with many cooking varieties based on the type of meat, preparation, sauces, and spices used in the marination. If you think you have explored them all, you may be wrong.

Just go to a US, European, or Asian restaurant, and you’ll be served a unique type of BBQ, each equally satisfying to your taste buds. From India’s tandoori-style BBQ to Korea’s Gogigui, many mouth-watering BBQ styles are waiting for you to explore.

If you’re looking to introduce your tongue to a unique type of meat, here are 17 types of BBQ to help you choose a new style for every party. All you have to do is buy the necessary BBQ equipment and start grilling!

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The 17 Types of BBQ

BBQ Styles in the US

Depending on the state, the US offers a series of BBQ styles, including chargrilled, grilled, and smoked. If you’re tired of having your typical regional BBQ, you can try them from other parts of the country. Here are 9 famous BBQ styles in the US:

1. Alabama Style

The Alabamians smoke meat (pork) on oak, hickory, or pecan grills. Once the meat is tendered, it gets chopped into edible pieces. In some parts, the meat is also pulled on and served in a roll. As for the sidelines, you’ll have the option of pickles, coleslaw, and Alabama’s special white sauce.

2. Carolina Style

The BBQ style in both Carolinas, Southern and Northern, is similar. The locals love to eat pork with a tangy sauce consisting of apple cider vinegar. Some also love the traditional western-style sauces with lots of black pepper. You’ll also like the finger-licking mustard-based sauce in both states.

3. Chicago Style

Chicago’s BBQ style is similar to the Midwestern restaurants where wet ribs and links are the most popular. They are smoked in a large hardwood smoker and served with a spicy and sweet BBQ sauce.

4. Florida Style

In Florida, you’ll be delighted to have smoked fish, particularly mullet. People use oak for cooking to get the perfect amount of flavor. You may also find grilled pork in some Cuban areas of the state. The pork is served in the pulled form with or without a side.

5. Kansas City Style

Kansas City-style BBQ includes a range of meat options, from beef, and pork, to chicken. Whether you grill or smoke the meat, the traditional tomato-based sauce tastes delicious with every type of BBQ.

The sauce is made of brown sugar and pepper, giving off a delectable sweetness. You can enjoy it on the side, on top of your meat, or put it as a backup bottle.

6. Kentucky Style

Although famous for bourbon, Kentucky is also a hot spot to enjoy the best BBQ in the country. It includes grilling up sheep meat or mutton with a rich black dip or sauce, which is peppery and flavorful at the same time.

7. Memphis Style

If you’re a pork lover, you’re definitely in for a treat with the Memphis-style BBQ. You may also find beef and chicken on the BBQ menu in some areas. Dry pork ribs are the traditional BBQ items people in Tennessee relish. The meat is smoked slowly and served with different types of sidelines.

Memphis style also includes wet ribs served with a tangy tomato sauce to enhance the flavor. You can also have the sauce alongside the dry ribs.

8. St. Louis Style

If you’re willing to try something new, try exploring the traditional St. Louis-style BBQ. It is famous for grilled spareribs, the meat present on the side of the stomach just above the breastbone. The ribs are a bit fattier and tender and cut in squares.

The traditional sauce in St. Louis style is sweet and consists of tomatoes. You may feel a little flavor of horseradish, but it is usually balanced by vinegar.

9. Texas Style

You’ll come across a variety of BBQ styles when going from Eastern to Western Texas. In the Eastern regions, you’ll have bone brisket and pulled pork served with buns, various sides, carbs, and the classic hot sauce.

In Western and Central Texas, the meat is the center of attention, and the sauce is just a side for enhancing the taste. The meat in these regions is sourced from high-quality cattle, so you won’t essentially need side items.

In Southern Texas, you’ll find BBQ options inspired by traditional Mexican cuisines and different types of sauces. Besides the classic Texas hot sauce, people in these regions also love a bit of sweet, sugary sauce.

BBQ Styles from Around the World

10. Asado and Churrasco Styles – South America

The Asado BBQ style is well-known in a few South American countries, including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, and Paraguay. It includes smoking the whole, stretched-out meat over an open flame. When fully cooked, it is served with grilled vegetables and chimichurri as sides.

In Brazil, the basic BBQ style is the Churrasco method. It includes skewering meat and laying it across an open flame or a grill to cook. The process is similar to skewering kebabs but with a few differences.

11. Char Siu, Gogui, and Yaki Styles – East Asia

People of East Asia, especially the Chinese, aren’t the only experts in making different ramen and noodles. Instead, China is a haven for exceptional, flavorful BBQ items. Walking across a typical Chinese street will introduce you to a list of BBQ items you never even knew existed.

One unique thing about Chinese BBQ is the sweet and sour tangy flavor. Whether you opt for seared, smoked meat, or any other type, you’ll feel the tanginess in every type of BBQ. Char Siu is explicitly served in a bun. However, some vendors may also present them with a bowl of rice. In both forms, the BBQ is flavorful and satisfying to your taste buds.

In Korea, you will have Gogigui, a common name for Korean BBQ. It includes tender, thinly sliced meat that melts as you put it in your mouth. You can get as many side dishes as you want and kimchi too! Don’t forget to pair your dinner with a soju shot.

Moving a little toward Japan, you’ll come across an entirely different grilling style than in Western countries. The country has a range of BBQ grill styles to offer you multiple flavors. These include yakitori, irori, teppanyaki, robatayaki, yakiniku, sumibiyaki, and many more.

12. Tandoori Style – South Asia

The most divine and finger-licking BBQ comes from India and Pakistan. The meat is first marinated with lots of spices and then cooked in an underground oven called a tandoor. Like other Indian and Pakistani dishes, the BBQ is also fiery, so wait for the heat to hit you.

According to tradition, you’re supposed to eat your Tandoori BBQ with naan bread, chapati, or rice. As for sauces, you can have raita (a yogurt-based sauce), chutney (a minty or tamarind-based spicy sauce), and salad. All these sidelines enhance the robust flavor of BBQ even more.

13. Lechon and Ikan & Ayam Bakar Style – Southeast Asia

In the Philippines, locals eat and sleep on lechon. The traditional lechon in the country includes roasting an entire suckling pig or any particular part of it over an open flame. Once grilled thoroughly, the whole hog is served with a sideline of lechon sauce for enhanced flavors.

In other Southeast Asian countries, such as Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia, the Ikan & Ayam Bakar BBQ style is very popular. It refers to roasted chicken or fish cooked over charcoal.

Before grilling, the meat is marinated with fiery hot sambal sauce to let the spiciness infuse entirely. Then, it is wrapped with banana leaves before getting on the grill. This trick enhances the flavor and tenderness of the meat.

14. Al Haesh Style – Western Asia

Western Asia is the hub for a range of BBQ dishes. In Israel, you’ll be served Al Haesh-styled BBQ, including chicken, beef sausages, and smoky ribs.

For the sides, you’ll have to choose from pita bread, creamy and sweet sauces, and the right amount of spiciness. All these things seem irresistible and taste delicious when served in a bowl.

15. Mangal – Middle East

In different parts of the Middle East, Eastern Europe, or Asia, you can have many types of BBQ grilled in a Mangal style. Mangal refers to the grill itself, but the same name also denotes the resulting BBQ dishes.

People make kebabs and shashliks on these grills, offering endless varieties in this BBQ style. The most popular ones include Turkish shish kebabs and Russian shashlik, found almost at any stall in the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

16. Hāngi – Pacific Islands

The traditional Māori style BBQ is popular in the Pacific Islands, including New Zealand. It is cooked in a deep, underground pit called Hāngī. The resulting dish is named the same. The unique thing about this BBQ style is the slow cooking process.

The volcanic stones are preheated before the beef, pork, or chicken are put in. After that, the meat is cooked slowly under indirect heat to give you a delicious, tempting end product.

17. Braai – South Africa

Braai is slightly different from the BBQ techniques followed in other parts of the world. Unlike other methods that use electricity and gas, a braai includes grilling meat on flames from charcoal and wood.

If you are interested in exploring different cultural histories, you must have read about the importance of braai on Heritage Day. But what makes them so unique? For most BBQ lovers, it’s the incorporation of vinegar and pineapple juice in meat marination. These ingredients give the BBQ a more acidic touch than the smoky one.

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BBQ styles vary as you move from East to West on the globe. From different types of meat and grills to preparation styles and sauces, the BBQ options seem never to end. So, if you’re on the quest to taste all of them in this lifetime, don’t forget to try the above 17 types of BBQ at your next pool party. All of them are equally mouth-watering and finger-licking good!

Featured Image Credit: Jaden Hatch, Unsplash


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