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Blue Ribbon Barbecue

For the die-hard North Carolina barbecue lover, there is no in-between. It’s either eastern vinegar-based or western tomato-based sauce.

But it is possible for east and west to meet and coexist, tastefully.

Three NC State students have shown that combining eastern and western barbecue sauces is not barbecue blasphemy—it’s a winning recipe.

A team of food science students won the Taste of RMC Product Development Competition last month at the American Meat Science Association Reciprocal Meat Conference at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. The conference is the big annual meeting for meat scientists from around the country.

The team was made up of Daniela Bautista, a graduate student in food, bioprocessing and nutrition sciences, and Matthew Hudson and Edward Osika, both chemical engineering students who are minoring in food, bioprocessing and nutrition sciences, said Dr. Dana J. Hanson, associate professor and team adviser.

Hanson said the Taste of RMC contest is a major part of student participation at the annual meeting, and while taste is certainly important, presentation is a big part of contest judging. The NC State entry, “The Q-tini,” served up pulled pork barbecue in a martini glass. The winning combination featured layers of baked beans and pork topped with creamy coleslaw. The finishing touch was a piece of pickled okra.

But Hanson said the secret was the sauce. The students combined the vinegar taste of Eastern North Carolina barbecue sauce with a Western North Carolina-style tomato-based sauce to thicken the mixture.

Food science students Edward Osika, Matthew Hudson and Daniela Bautista won the Taste of RMC Product Development Competition at the American Meat Science Association Reciprocal Meat Conference at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas.
Food science students Edward Osika (left), Matthew Hudson and Daniela Bautista created the Q-tini.

The result was a winner, a first for NC State in the seven years the competition has been held. In fact, Hanson added, the sauce was so good, the students have discussed bottling and selling it.

Osika and Hudson represented Eastern North Carolina on the winning team. Osika is from Emerald Isle and Hudson from Fayetteville. Bautista apparently represented the west. She’s from Honduras.

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  1. Actually, both Eastern and Western (or Piedmont) NC sauces are vinegar based. The piedmont sauces merely have some amount of tomato product in them. It is the store-bought generic sauces which are tomato based.

  2. We know taste is king. But to those who have a problem eating fatty foods did the project determine the fats content–especially saturated fat?

  3. Congrats to the students! While I would agree that vinegar and tomato-based get all the glory, and NC does vinegar better than anywhere else I have tasted throughout the great 50, there is an oft-overlooked sauce that is just as tasty: mustard-based. While it is perceived as a South Carolina concoction, there are plenty of fine establishments in NC that serve this delightfully delectable dip.

  4. I assume that your recipe is secret, so will this barbeque be available to taste at some point, and if so, where? Also, if you are serious about going into business, consider visiting the SBTDC Capital Area Center for help with developing your business plan. (We here at the SBTDC are part of NCSU.) (Local Call): 715-7272, and ask for Julie at ext. 627. I look forward to trying your recipe!

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