An arranged barbecue platter

Oklahoma-Style BBQ Blend: The Perfect Hat for Your Cookout

When regional American barbecue is brought up in conversation, Texas, the Carolinas, Kansas City, and Memphis styles are among the most well-known. Since each is great in its own right, it can often be difficult to choose between them. If you ever find yourself torn over barbecue, you might want to try out the unique blend of the Oklahoma-style.

Oklahoma has a long history of barbecuing meat, ever since the federal government offered the indigenous population beef cattle when it was still a territory. Over the ensuing decades, the introduction of more animals made Oklahoma-style barbecue a veritable smorgasbord of meats which included sheep, venison, pork, veal, and even bear. As the tradition evolved, the general style of the state meal became a plate of barbecued meat served with a side of tomato-based sauce, various side dishes such as potato salad, baked beans, and coleslaw, and drinks ranging from hot coffee to beer.

The reason Oklahoma-style barbecue can be considered something of a blend between the styles previously listed is because each is defined by its meat or sauce. For Texas, it is smoked beef brisket. The Carolinas are all about pork and mop sauce, while Memphis and Kansas City focus on their sweet, tomatoey sauces. Oklahoma-style can be thought of as an amalgamation of all four, but there are nevertheless elements that make it unique in its own right. 

Unique elements of Oklahoma barbecue

Bbq ribs with sauce

Two unique components distinguish Oklahoma-style barbecue from that of Texas, the Carolinas, Memphis, and Kansas City: how the meat is smoked and how the sauce is incorporated. For Oklahoma barbecue, the integrity of the meat comes first. That means that the meat is not touched with any heavily spiced rubs, or soaked in mop sauce for hours on end. It also means that smoking is not a priority. Oak is preferred cooking wood because its mildness will not overpower the natural flavors of the meat. 

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This respect for the meat also correlates to why sauce is always, always served on the side. Similar to Kansas City, most Oklahoma-style barbecue sauces start with a base of ketchup and Worcestershire sauce. Hundreds of different types of sauce have been produced off of this base, making Oklahoma-style barbecue arguably the most sauce-loving of all styles. Known to be sweet and tangy, Oklahoma barbecue sauces can have ingredients ranging from honey and brown sugar to hot peppers and even fruit like peaches, raspberries, and blueberries. You’ll have no shortage of choices; that’s for certain. 

While you can plainly see the blended nature of Oklahoma-style barbecue, it still manages to maintain an identity all its own. With meats ranging from turkey, beef, hot links, pork, and ribs, and innumerable sauces, you’ve got no excuse to be torn over which style to try when Oklahoma offers the best of all BBQ worlds. 

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