While not as well-known as Kansas City barbecuing, St. Louis–style grilling has plenty to offer for grill enthusiasts. Discover what makes it unique from the other regional barbecue styles!
St. Louis–style barbecue (or St. Louis-style BBQ) stands apart from other traditional cooking methods due to its distinctive approach of grilling and saucing the meat instead of rubbing it with a dry rub and slowly smoking it over wood for extended periods. This makes cooking times much shorter compared to many other styles, making St. Louis–style barbecue an attractive option for those looking for something delicious in a short amount of time!
In contrast to the direct heat typically used in Kansas City-style cooking, St. Louis barbecue joints often use indirect heat for slow smoking – similar to Memphis or Southern-style barbecuing styles. Additionally, St. Louis sauce is tomato based and subtly sweet with a more watery texture than its KC counterpart; it also has a slightly tangier flavor due to increased vinegar content.
History of St. Louis–Style BBQ
St. Louis and Kansas City share a rich culinary history that dates back to the early 1900s when both cities served as meatpacking centers. From local specialties like slow-cooked pork ribs, fried chicken sandwiches, and sweet potato fries – here are some highlights of barbecue in St. Louis:
- In 1908, Henry Perry lit the fire of a revolutionary culinary experience when he opened one of America’s first barbecue restaurants in Kansas City. With his expertise in slow-roasting meat over hickory and oak wood, he quickly gained a loyal following among locals. Then along came Arthur Bryant who took that torch and ran with it – opening up his own restaurant where burnt ends were made famous!
- Over 93 years ago, the revolutionary Louis Maull started a legacy by producing what he claimed to be America’s first-ever BBQ sauce. To this day, his iconic recipe is still cherished in St. Louis and beyond as Maull’s BBQ Sauce continues to bring joy with its distinctive flavor!
- Step back in time and savor the unique, mouth-watering flavors of St. Louis-style BBQ ribs! Invented by imaginative meatpackers in St. Louis during the 1930s to 1960s era, these delectable rib cuts include more substantial portions of succulent pork while also removing any cartilage on the sides – making them irresistible to all ages!
- The rise of pork butt is attributed to Schnucks, a local St. Louis grocery chain that began selling it as an inexpensive cut in the 1950s. It quickly gained traction and has since become an integral part of the city’s culinary tradition.
Components of St. Louis Style BBQ
Debate is plentiful in the St. Louis-style barbecue scene, as with any regional cuisine; yet there are a few undisputed staples that most agree on. Here’s what you need to know:
- For a classic St. Louis Barbecue sauce, the perfect combination of ketchup, brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar spiced up with salt and pepper creates an unforgettable flavor sensation!
- Enjoy a delectable main dish with Kansas City Barbecue, Brisket, and Burnt Ends. Slow-smoked to perfection until the meat practically melts off the bone, then re-smoked or braised to achieve an even softer texture – you won’t be disappointed!
- For a savory treat, you won’t want to miss out on St. Louis-style pork ribs! These spare ribs are typically seasoned with an assortment of spices like onion powder, chili powder, paprika, and cayenne pepper for a truly flavorful experience.
4. Pork steak: Made from pork shoulder, this cut of meat is best seasoned with apple cider vinegar combined with savory additions like kosher salt, black pepper, and liquid smoke for a smoky flavor. For an added depth of flavor, consider adding garlic powder, brown sugar, or ketchup to the marinade!
5. Rib tips are the savory morsels that remain after a rib is cut into the St. Louis-style shape, and they can be deliciously grilled or slow-smoked to perfection!
6. Savory snoots, or pig noses and cheeks, will surely be a hit at your next event! These morsels of flavor are cooked slowly until they become irresistibly crispy.
7. To lay the perfect foundation for a delicious St. Louis barbecue, you’ll need a simple piece of white bread to soak up all that scrumptious sauce!
Whether you’re an experienced pit master or just a novice looking to learn the ins and outs of St. Louis-style BBQ, there is something for everyone in this unique culinary style! From legendary sauces to succulent ribs, pork steaks, and more – you are sure to enjoy every bite of deliciousness. So fire up the grill and explore the wide selection of flavors that make Kansas City barbecue so special!
What is a St. Louis BBQ style?
St. Louis-style BBQ is a regional barbecue style originating in St. Louis, Missouri. It typically consists of slow-smoked pork ribs or “burnt ends”, pork steaks or shoulder cuts, beef brisket, and other specialty meats such as snoots (pig noses and cheeks) served with the traditional St. Louis-style BBQ sauce.
What are the components of St. Louis Style BBQ?
The components of St. Louis Style BBQ include pork ribs, pork steaks or shoulder cuts, beef brisket, snoots (pig noses and cheeks), a traditional St. Louis-style BBQ sauce, and white bread to soak up the sauce.
What is the traditional St. Louis-style BBQ sauce made of?
The traditional St. Louis-style BBQ sauce is a combination of ketchup, brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar spiced with salt and pepper for a unique flavor sensation! It can also be customized with additions such as garlic powder, brown sugar, or ketchup to the marinade.
How is a St. Louis BBQ style different from other BBQ styles?
St. Louis-style BBQ is unique in its use of a traditional St. Louis-style BBQ sauce and specialty meats such as snoots (pig noses and cheeks). It also utilizes slow smoking techniques to achieve an even softer texture than other barbecue styles, resulting in tender and juicy cuts of meat. This makes it a delicious choice for any barbecue gathering.
What type of cooking equipment is needed for a St. Louis BBQ?
For a St. Louis BBQ, you will need a smoker or grill, charcoal and/or wood chips, aluminum foil, thermometers to check the internal temperature of the meats, and other necessary utensils such as knives and cutting boards. You might also want to consider investing in a smoker box, which is designed to hold and disperse the smoke that helps flavor and tenderize the meats.
Do you need special skills to cook St. Louis BBQ?
No special skills are required for cooking St. Louis BBQ, although practice does make perfect! The slow-smoking process of St. Louis BBQ requires patience and attention to detail in order to achieve the best results. It is also important to be familiar with thermometers so that you can make sure your meats are cooked through at the appropriate temperatures. With some time and practice, anyone can learn to cook delicious St. Louis-style BBQ!
What kind of meat is typically used in a St. Louis BBQ?
The meats typically used in St. Louis BBQ are pork ribs, pork steaks or shoulder cuts, beef brisket, and snoots (pig noses and cheeks). However, you can always experiment with other proteins such as chicken and sausage to add variety to your menu!
What are some common side dishes served with a St. Louis BBQ?
Side dishes that go well with St. Louis BBQ include potato salad, coleslaw, baked beans, and cornbread. Of course, no meal would be complete without a side of white bread to soak up all that scrumptious sauce! Enjoy this delicious combination as you explore the wonderful flavors of Kansas City-style barbecue.
How do I make a St. Louis BBQ at home?
Making a St. Louis BBQ at home requires a smoker or grill, charcoal and/or wood chips, aluminum foil, thermometers to check the internal temperature of the meats, and other necessary utensils such as knives and cutting boards. You will also need ingredients for your desired marinade and your traditional St. Louis-style BBQ sauce. Once you have all the necessary materials, you can slowly smoke your meats in an indirect heat setting for several hours until they are cooked through and tender. Finally, serve them with your favorite sides and enjoy a homemade St. Louis-style barbecue!