The origins of BBQ go back thousands and thousands of years before the Americas were even discovered. It happened when the primal Homo sapiens first roasted hunted meat over an open flame. Over time, many new forms of cooking meat over fire began to evolve, and regional flavors from different parts of the world were added to the meat. Spicerubs and sauces emerged, and different woods were utilized in the cooking process - all culminating in what we know today as modern BBQ.

And even now, regional BBQ is changing. The lines between regions are blurring in the U.S., and ethnic BBQ flavors are becoming more and more popular. Below is an outline of some of the most commonly known American regional BBQ styles, as well as some emerging favorites from around the world.

Additionally, you can watch our Regional BBQ video where BBQ chefs and champion pitmasters discuss the regional influences in their cuisine.

Let Smithfield help you use insights like these below to build your business around BBQ. Contact us today.

United States Regions

Flavor-Profile= Flavor Profile SpicesIngredients= Spices/Ingredients WoodFlavor = Wood Flavor


  • IconTangySpicy Tangy, spicy
  • IconVinegar Vinegar, cayenne, black pepper, crushed red pepper, hot sauce, yellow mustard
  • IconOak Oak, hickory


  • IconTangySpicy Very sweet, slightly acidic
  • IconVinegar Tomato, apple cider vinegar, honey, ketchup, yellow mustard, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne
  • IconOak Hickory, apple, cherry


  • IconTangySpicy Spicy, hint of sweetness
  • IconVinegar Tomato, brown sugar, onion powder, minced garlic, paprika, cumin, cayenne, dry mustard, black pepper, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce
  • IconOak Mesquite, oak, hickory, pecan


  • IconTangySpicy Very sweet, smoky
  • IconVinegar Tomato, ketchup, molasses, celery seed, brown sugar, onion powder, paprika, fried garlic, olive oil, liquid smoke
  • IconOak Cherry, hickory


  • IconTangySpicy Slightly sweet, slightly sour
  • IconVinegar Vinegar, paprika, onion powder, black pepper, cayenne, garlic, brown sugar
  • IconOak Hickory, oak, pecan, cherry


  • IconTangySpicy Mildly sweet, smoky
  • IconVinegar Apple juice, vinegar, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, cayenne, paprika, chili powder
  • IconOak Apple, cherry, peach


  • IconTangySpicy Spicy, mildy sweet
  • IconVinegar Mayonnaise, vinegar, black pepper, lemon juice, sugar
  • IconOak Pecan, hickory, oak


  • IconTangySpicy Smoky, salty
  • IconVinegar Black pepper, salt, garlic salt
  • IconOak Coastal red oak

National Regions

Flavor-Profile= Flavor Profile SpicesIngredients= Spices/Ingredients WoodFlavor = Wood Flavor


  • IconTangySpicy Bold, spicy
  • IconVinegar Cilantro, olive oil, garlic, onion, paprika, red chili flakes
  • IconOak Mesquite, oak


  • IconTangySpicy Sweet, savory
  • IconVinegar Soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, ginger, garlic, chili pepper, black pepper, scallions
  • IconOak None, usually charcoal


  • IconTangySpicy Fragrant, smoky
  • IconVinegar Cumin, clove, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, lemon juice, black pepper, garlic, paprika
  • IconOak Olive, almond


  • IconTangySpicy Mildly sweet, tangy
  • IconVinegar Beer, tomato, honey, sugar, vinegar, hot sauce, onion, Worcestershire sauce
  • IconOak Apple, ironbark, macadamia


  • IconTangySpicy Spicy, savory
  • IconVinegar Coriander, pineapple juice, pepper, garlic, turmeric, apricot, chili pepper
  • IconOak Acacia, mulberry, peach, pear