Western Kentucky BBQ

Certain areas of western Kentucky, especially in the regions bordering the Ohio river in and around Union, Henderson and Daviess counties (Owensboro and Henderson) and also including Hopkins and Christian counties, there has developed a distinctive style of barbeque that is unique to the region. Where much of southern barbeque consists of beef, chicken or pork cooked over an open flame and topped with sauces that have a thick tomato and sugar base, western Kentucky barbeque is somewhat different.

Western Kentucky barbeque is made most often with chicken, pork or mutton (sheep). The meat is barbequed “pit” style, so that it is slow-roasted over wood coals that serve to give the meat a “smoky” flavor and tenderizes it. The pork is most often chopped or pulled from Boston butts or whole shoulders. In another distinction, smoked meats, after cooking for many hours over the pit, are then sliced very thin and layered on sandwiches.

Then, rather than a sweet, thick tomato-based sauce, the meat is served with a thinner vinegar-based sauce (sometimes referred to as “dip”) including cayenne pepper or Worcestershire sauce with added spices. Sometimes the meat is served with no sauce at all.

For lovers of barbeque, the International Bar-B-Q Festival in Owensboro is a must visit or you can get your western Kentucky barbeque fix at Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn or JJMcBrewster’s year round.