You know you like both Texas and South Carolina barbecue, but you aren't one hundred percent sure what the difference between the two is. That's okay. There are dozens of styles of barbecue in the United States and each region claims to have the best. The only way you'll be able to tell your favorite for sure is to try them all.
Eastern South Carolina
South Carolina is not a huge state geographically, but it is huge in terms of barbecue. The state has four different styles. Easterners slow cook a whole hog over hickory coals with no basting. Once the barbecue is cut, a strictly vinegar based sauce which functions more like a wetting agent is added. There are no tomatoes in this sauce, ever. It might be seasoned with black pepper, cayenne, hot pepper or other spices though. It is usually served sliced with the sauce on the side.
North Central South Carolina
Carolinians in the North Central and Coastal Plain regions of South Carolina only like the pork shoulder and slow cook it over either hickory smoke or oak. They also prepare a vinegar based sauce, but the western sauce has ketchup and sometimes molasses. This sauce, known as Light Tomato, was developed after the invention of ketchup in 1900. This barbecue might be served pulled, sliced or chopped.
Heavy Tomato Sauce
Over the past 60 years, Heavy Tomato sauce has spread all over the United States thanks to modern transportation and marketing. This sauce is the same as the generic barbecue sauce you can find in bottles and jars in every supermarket.
Low Country South Carolina
South Carolina's most famous barbecue sauce is mustard based and handed down from the state's early German settlers. Mustard based sauce is whole hog barbecue, just like the Northern Style, but it is slathered in thick, tangy, mustardy sauce. This barbecue is served pulled or chopped and often comes alongside hash, which is a fried mix of innards.
Not to be outdone, Texas has two styles of barbecue of its own. Central Texans prefer leaner meats, with brisket being number one, followed closely by pork ribs and sausage. Usually, all three are served together. Central Texans slow smoke their meat over oak pits and don't serve their barbecue with any kind of sauce at all, but rather jsust black pepper.
East Texans slow cook their barbecue over indirect heat from hickory wood. They like beef brisket and ribs, pork ribs, steak, sausages, pork shoulder, turkey and chicken. Unlike their Central Texan brethren, East Texans will serve you a side of sweet, tomato based sauce. Sometimes this sauce is spicy. The meat is usually served thin, sometimes on a roll.