Regional and global barbecue styles that satisfy all fans

bbq pulled pork sandwich

Some culinary historians call barbecue America’s first cuisine. From pit-roasted whole hogs to roadside smokehouse brisket, it celebrates the time-honored techniques and traditions of regions from central Texas to Memphis to the Carolinas. While authenticity certainly is the backbone of barbecue, global influences also are taking root on noncommercial foodservice menus.

Take Davidson College in Davidson, N.C., where Executive Chef Craig Mombert regularly runs pulled pork made from butts or shoulders cooked low and slow overnight in a combi oven. “Given our location in North Carolina, barbecue is big on campus,” says Mombert.

In addition to his state’s classic sauces— a mustard-based sauce adopted from northwest North Carolina and a vinegar-based sauce representative of the eastern part of the state—he serves two international riffs based on Korean and Mexican flavors. Sides include two types of slaw—a classic recipe and one with edamame and tofu to complement the Asian ’cue.

Not surprisingly, the University of North Carolina Greensboro’s Spartan Dining Services has an impressive barbecue menu too. Its offerings run the gamut from classic preparations such as locally sourced pork butt and chicken thighs with both a vinegar-based sauce and a mustard-based sauce to Mexican-barbecue fusion brisket tacos. There’s even sauteed barbecue tofu for vegetarian and vegan diners.

Responding to its student body’s love of smoked meats, UNCG offers a blowout Thursday night barbecue dinner. “Students look forward to this every week,” says Chartwells Resident District Manager Sarah Lynch. Spartan Dining serves more than 1,000 students for these barbecue dinners, and goes through 200 pounds of pulled pork and 160 pounds of barbecued chicken thighs each Thursday. “It is one of the biggest nights that we have in the dining halls,” she says. “Feedback is outstanding to the point where we are starting to think about expanding to more than just one barbecue night per week.”

An upcoming UNCG BBQ dining event will feature America’s “BBQ Belt,” which encompasses four distinct barbecue regions—North Carolina, Texas, Memphis and Kansas City.  Lynch says the event will be orchestrated with blues music, checkered picnic tablecloths and state flags from respective regions at each station. “Barbecue is comfort food,” says Lynch. “Since many of our students are from somewhere in the state, it is very comforting to have a cuisine that they grew up enjoying.”

Dascomb Residence Hall at Oberlin College features barbecue twice a week at dinner, serving about 400 students during those meal periods. The rotating menu features something for everyone, including offbeat treats such as smoked tofu and smoked tomato salsa. “What is authentic to some students in the South is not the same for other students [on our campus],” says Michele Gross, director of business operations and dining services. “We try to offer a variety of barbecue to appeal to a variety of students from a variety of backgrounds.” 

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Italian food hall chain Eataly is making plans for a 2018 initial public offering in its home country, according to a report this week in Financial Times.

The company plans to list shares on the Italian stock exchange in Milan “as early as next year,” Eataly Executive Chairman Andrea Guerra told Financial Times .

Eataly is eager to expand the presence of its massive Italian food emporiums in the U.S., which have helped spur the growing food hall trend . The company has five locations here, with two in New York City and one each in Chicago, Los Angeles and Boston. Financial...

Industry News & Opinion

Students staffing the foodservice department at Rutgers University will soon get an hourly pay bump, as the New Brunswick, N.J., university is raising its wage for student workers to $11 an hour, reports.

The increase will go in effect Jan. 1 and will impact 13,000 students.

The fight to raise wages at the school was spearheaded by student group United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS), which is continuing to push the university to increase student wages to $15.

The fight for a $15 wage for student workers has spread at schools throughout the country,...

Industry News & Opinion

After shutting down 265 schools due to ongoing wildfires, the Los Angeles Unified School District kept three schools open on Friday and Saturday to provide meals for students and their families, the Los Angeles Times reports.

At one of the schools, employees and volunteers handed out around 100 meals on Friday and 270 meals on Saturday. The meals included items such as dragonfruit punch, raisins, bananas, sunflower kernels, whole-grain cinnamon graham crackers, sunflower seed butter and fat-free chocolate milk.

Around 80% of students in the district come from low-income...

Sponsored Content
Breakfast chili

From Bush’s Best®.

While decadent plates of French toast and pancakes stacked high will always be breakfast favorites, it’s undeniable that savory breakfast items are on the rise in many foodservice operations. Menu items such as avocado toast and omelets aren’t new, of course, but consumers’ preferences for better-for-you food choices, along with their desire for global flavors, are driving this trend.

According to a recent Technomic Breakfast report, consumer demand for vegetarian ingredients has led to an increase of ingredients like soy, tofu, beans, lentils, seeds,...

FSD Resources