If there is one food group that I can be justly chastised for being snobby about, it is barbecue. I grew up thinking good barbecue was rubbery babyback ribs drowned in a thick, sweet sauce. I was never a fan. It was years before I was exposed to low and slow barbecue smoked over real hunks of hardwood. I was a huge fan.
Barbecue seems to be like healthcare - everyone has an opinion on how it should be done. Enjoy a layer of thick, sweet tomato and molasses Kansas City-style sauce with your pulled pork? Then you probably won't be a fan of South Carolina's mustard sauce. I try to stay away from declaring an allegiance to any particular barbecue region, but I'd be lying if I said I don't prefer the vinegar sauce of Eastern Carolina on my pulled pork and the dry-rubbed ribs of Memphis.
Although barbecue tends to be a Southern affair, there is a barbecue revolution happening and there is now plenty of good barbecue north of the Mason-Dixon Line. I'm determined to try them all, so let's get it started in my hometown of Lansing, MI.