Barbecue Popularity Continues to Grow and Evolve

    NASHVILLE, Tenn., Nov. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Barbecue is as American as,
 well, barbecue. And Americans love to barbecue, which is why in 1999 alone
 they did it three billion times, according to the Barbecue Industry
 Association.
     Rumor has it that Native Americans introduced the colonists to the art of
 slow-cooking game over an open flame, which eventually evolved into the
 festive backyard gatherings we've all come to enjoy. However, while barbecuing
 is often associated with cooking outdoors over a grill, in recent years it has
 been finding its way into modern kitchens and can be found on menus in all
 types of restaurants.
     Chain Account Menu Survey, a research firm based in Wheaton, IL, points to
 barbecue as one of the top flavor trends to watch. "Barbecue is one of those
 foods that keeps growing and evolving," said Doug Armantrout, CAMS publisher.
 "Particularly noteworthy is the wide range of flavors for barbecue sauces that
 are being offered."
     As part of the growing trend, Shoney's Restaurants will be offering
 barbecued baby back ribs in its Holiday RibFest promotion, which runs November
 18 through January 5, 2003.
     "We tested our barbecued baby back ribs in select markets, and they proved
 to be quite popular," said Denise Horne, vice president of marketing for
 Shoney's. "We think the holidays are the perfect time for offering barbecue
 because it gives people some variety during a traditionally turkey and ham
 dominated time of year."
     Barbecue now represents a particular flavor as much as it previously
 represented the art of cooking over an open flame. No longer is there a need
 for a pit or a smoker in order to achieve the smoked flavor that comes from
 cooking over an open flame. Cooks can now use a liquid smoke seasoning, which
 is generally made from hickory smoke concentrate and provides for a distinct
 smoky flavor.
     Another aspect of barbecue is the sauce. This is viewed by many as the
 most defining part of barbecue. Today there are literally hundreds of barbecue
 sauces being used, and experts tend to categorize them according to the
 ingredients and characteristics that connect them to a specific region. Here
 are a few of the regions and the flavors associated with them.
     North Carolina - Sauces in the region east of Raleigh and tend to include
 vinegar, salt, black pepper, crushed or ground cayenne, and a few other
 spices. In the western part of the state the recipe is pretty much the same,
 with the addition of small amounts of ketchup, molasses or Worcestershire
 sauce.
     South Carolina - Here the sauces tend to be a unique mustard style, which
 is a thin vinegar-mustard sauce slightly sweetened with honey or molasses.
     Memphis - Meats here tend to be either dry-rubbed with a dry spice rub
 toward the end of cooking or covered in a sauce that is made up of vinegar,
 mustard and tomato.
     Kansas City - This is considered the Mecca of barbecue by many. The sauces
 here are thick, with a tomato and sugar base and tend to be sweet, tangy and
 spicy. Many of the well-known national brands are based upon the KC formula.
     Texas - In Texas beef is king. Sauces here range from thick, spicy,
 tomato-based sauces, to thin, hot pepper-based sauces to thick and dark sauces
 from south-of-the-border.
     Shoney's baby back ribs are covered in a tomato-based sauce that is thick,
 tangy and smoky flavored with a hint of molasses, garlic and onion.
     As part of Holiday RibFest, Shoney's will be offering baby back rib
 entrees that can be ordered with a choice of butterflied shrimp or grilled
 barbecued chicken and, for the really adventurous, Shoney's offers an entire
 half-rack of baby back ribs. All of the entrees are priced under $9, and, for
 a limited time, Shoney's is offering its new Walnut Brownie a la Mode for
 $1.99.
     Founded in 1947, Shoney's now has more than 350 franchise and corporate
 restaurants located in 24 states, most of them in the Southeast.
 
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SOURCE Shoney's

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