What's the best barbecue style? Here are some favorites...

Mmmm...smells like summer

Tempers run hot over heated discussions (sorry, couldn't resist) when it comes to the ultimate barbecue style. It's a very personal thing, often linked with childhood memories or geographic location. Others fall in love while traveling and never look back. Distinguished by sauce, cut of meat, and cooking methods, regional American barbecue styles are fairly varied, and the ongoing debate over the "true" style isn't ending anytime soon. What team are you rooting for?

How sweet (and spicy) it is

Sweet Alabama

Not necessarily the most well-known barbecue style, this small-time contender takes its "cues" from Memphis, generally combining pork shoulder and ribs in a tomato-based sauce. (They also dabble in smoking pork and chicken.) Its big claim to fame is its white sauce, invented in 1925 by Big Bob Gibson, the original Alabama barbecue pioneer. It's a standout amongst the other sauces, made by mixing mayonnaise, vinegar, and pepper, and is best when dabbed generously over chicken. As with other states, southern and northern style barbecues tend to vary slightly: the north favors the illustrious white sauce, as well as Carolina-influenced vinegar variations, and the south loves their mustard sauce and a heavy smoked flavor.

Texas - don't hold 'em - eat 'em

Texas sized sizzle

Texans are proud of their barbecue prowess, and with good reason. Such a large state plays host to several varieties, a nod to its mixed cultural origins and massive immigration. That being said, the most highly recognized style is the one that originated in Europe. Nineteenth century Germans and Czech butchers chose to smoke their leftover meat or make it into sausages, not because they wanted an unadulterated meat taste, but rather out of convenience and necessity. By making into smoked brisket or sausages, they could prolong the life of the beef. Sauces in Texas (known as "mops" or basting sauces) are used to add flavor when cooking, so don't expect a big ole' squirt of sauce sitting on top of your brisket. And do expect a cocked eyebrow or two if you request some.

If you've got a hankering for more exotic cuts of meat, head down to south Texas, where they favor the barbacoa style barbecue. Made by slow-roasting a cow head in a deep pit for 12 hours or so, this economical style is almost extinct, but can still be found at Vera's Backyard Bar-B-Que. East Texans prefer more tender cuts of beef that can easily be made into sandwiches, and also enjoy a variety of sides with their 'cue, like fried okra, green beans, and stick-to-your-ribs mac and cheese.

Talk about stick to your ribs!

North Carolina - nothing could be finer

North Carolinians are divided between two distinctly different barbecue styles: "Eastern" and "Lexington Dip" or "Piedmont" style (how you refer to the latter depends on where you live). The Eastern style is characterized by the practice of using the whole hog. That's right—they cook the sucker, then chop it all up and mix it with a vinegar and pepper sauce. Eaten with "cracklin'" (crispy pig skin, for those not in the know), this style should only be consumed when wearing expandable pants. In this instance, the sauce is not overly sweet nor overpowering. It's used to baste the pig while cooking, and lightly mixed in prior to serving to accentuate the flavor of the meat.

In the west, the Piedmont relies on pork shoulder smothered in a tomato-based vinegar sauce. Instead of pigskin on the side, you'll be treated to coleslaw, which is often slapped atop a pulled pork sammy. The Piedmont style is an aberration of the original eastern vinegar-based sauce; it's essentially the same thing with the addition of ketchup. Heinz's flagship product revolutionized the way the world enjoyed barbecue sauce, and was one of the first major players in the bottled barbecue sauce industry.

Crispy and delicious

South Carolina - you've struck gold

Like their northern neighbors, proud barbecuers in South Carolina also insist on using the whole pig, only they smother it in mustard-based sauce that goes by the name of "Carolina Gold." As the story goes, German immigrants introduced this much loved condiment into the barbecue sauce in the late 19th century, but it was actually a lone German immigrant named Joseph Jacob Bessinger who's ultimately credited with creating this new species of sauce. According to legend, he was desperate for a new form of revenue to feed his wife and 11 children when his wife found an ad for a restaurant in need of a new owner. The Holly Hill Cafe became the site of the infamous Carolina Gold sauce: an icon of South Carolina barbecue.

Snap, that's hot!

Tennessee - you're not the only ten I see

Next time you're in Memphis, make sure to save time for a hearty meal of "dry" or "wet" (or, you know, both) pork ribs in between jazz and country music sessions. The city's barbecue claim to fame is its dual love—and fierce rivalry—between these two styles. Dry ribs are coated in a rub (a mix of herbs and spices) and smoked, whereas wet ribs are smothered in a tomato based sauce and basted frequently while cooked. Memphis denizens love their barbecue so much you may find it incorporated into other dishes that seemingly lack any ties to barbecue (like spaghetti), but taste delicious nonetheless.

Class it up with lobster

Missouri - the mutt state

Missouri barbecue takes a leaf out of several national books. Many Kansas City barbecue aficionados find no fault with cooking up any protein they can lay their hands on. Fish, pork, chicken, beef (and even beans sometimes) - they all get thrown onto the pit and roasted. Missouri barbecue is best known for two things, both of which originated in Kansas City. Number one: caramelized double smoked ends of brisket, which are known as "burnt ends." (Clever, right?) The second is Kansas City style barbecue sauce. This is what most people think of today when they think of this favored condiment. Known for its generous inclusion of molasses, sweet Kansas City barbecue sauce first made its appearance in the 1920's and remains a national favorite to this day.

While many states and cities claim to have their own authentic version of "the best" barbecue style, it really comes down to personal preference—and possibly family history. One thing is clear, however: with so many mouthwatering barbecue styles to explore, it's not exactly a painful process to determine which one will ultimately win over your taste buds.

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There are several things about wine that can confuse the average person. If you haven't spent the last few years of your life learning everything there is to know about wine, you can be forgiven for picking up a box of the good stuff every now and then. However, if you want to know a little bit more about how to choose a good bottle, we can help you out. We've created a beginner's guide to picking a bottle of wine so you can enjoy yourself a little more.

Know What Type of Wine To Choose

First things first, you're going to need to decide the type of wine that you're looking for in order to narrow your search. Are you looking for a red, white, sparkling, or rosé? The choices may seem overwhelming, but try to focus on what foods you'll be pairing the wine with. Reds go great with heavier meals like red meat, while whites tend to lend themselves towards lighter dishes like fish and cheeses. If you'll be drinking the wine on its own, consider what you've tried in the past and what type you tend to gravitate toward.

Know How Much You're Willing To Spend

It's no secret that a penchant for wine can become an expensive hobby. If you're just getting into the idea, don't waste your time or money with the extremely pricey bottles. A good place to start looking for decent bottles of wine is somewhere between the $10 and $30 price range. This will keep you from buying something too low quality without breaking your bank in the process.

Read the Labels Closely

A good bottle of wine will often give tasting notes right on the bottle. Because everyone's palette is different, you may not get the same notes when you try the wine, but it's a good place to start. Choose something with tasting notes that you already enjoy like berries or cocoa and try to see if you get any hints of that as you drink. The labels may also tell you about the wine's acidity, or how tart it is, and the wine's body, or the way it feels in your mouth.

A beginner's guide to picking a bottle of wine can only go so far without being overwhelming. The next part of your wine journey will need to be undertaken on your own. Try various types of wine and see what tastes best to you—that's what wine is really all about.

Distillery tours went on hiatus in 2020, but there are high hopes for 2021. While bourbon leaps immediately to mind when thoughts turn to distillery tours, interest in other spirits and how they're made is increasing. Here are a few of the best tours to thrill tequila lovers.

Tequila Herradura

Ride in style on the Herradura Express, a distillery sponsored train ride that runs from Guadalajara to the town of Amatitán for a distillery tour and tastings, followed by lunch featuring live entertainment. The train then takes visitors back to Guadalajara by evening. Herradura is housed in the last tequila-producing Hacienda in the world, Hacienda San Jose del Refugio. Casa Herradura will be closed for visits and tours until Mexican health officials declare the coronavirus emergency over.

La Rojeña

Producer of Jose Cuervo, La Rojeña has a train of its own called the Jose Cuervo Express (currently on hiatus due to COVID-19) to bring visitors to the oldest distillery in the town of Tequila. Jose Cuervo offers distillery tours, tastings, and tours of the agave fields. Mundo Cuervo (Cuervo world) also has its own hotel, Solar de las Animas. Check for COVID-19 hours and restrictions before booking.

Casa Sauza

Founded in 1873, Casa Sauza offers four levels of tours including a visit to the La Perseverancia distillery, a visit to the Quinta Sauza estate, and for those willing to spend more, barrel tastings and a barbeque or a three-course meal. Casa Sauza is on hiatus until COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, but should go on the distillery tour bucket list.

La Cofradia

The only tequila distillery with a hotel inside, La Cofradia offers many experiences in addition to distillery tours. Choose a hike through natural trails, biking, or horseback riding through the agave fields. Rooms made of giant tequila barrels sit among the agave plants for a unique stay. Visiting La Cofradia is sure to be a tour that thrills tequila lovers. Contact the hotel directly for information about lockdown closures.

A distillery tour offers education about tequila's history and manufacture. Bone up on your tequila terms and tips for choosing quality tequila before you go, so you'll understand what you're tasting.

We don't know how to feel about winter this year. Sure, nobody likes the cold and dreary months, but there's something special about the Holiday season that just seems to be missing. Maybe the thought of staying inside and cozying up to a nice book isn't very enticing given the last few months. The joyful winter wonderland that we usually associate with winter seems to be missing.

That's why our editors decided to take it upon themselves and spread some delight with seasonal meals, courtesy of HelloFresh. For those who don't know what HelloFresh is, it's a meal-kit delivery service with dozens of easy-to-prepare recipes to choose from. Simply select which meals you want as well as how many servings and a neatly organized cardboard box will arrive at your doorstep within the week. Nobody wants to go out in the Winter anyway, and with HelloFresh, you don't have to!

To celebrate the arrival of the coldest season, we decided to highlight some of our favorite (and heartiest) recipes from HelloFresh that are perfect for the Holiday season. Here are five wholesome and balanced meals that will warm you up in no time.

Veggie Loaded Kale & Risoni Soup

A hearty and warm soup is a Winter staple and this veggie loaded kale and risoni soup from HelloFresh absolutely hits it out of the park. All anybody wants during the colder months is to feel cozy and nurtured--just like the flavorful bowl of nutrients. Warm and creamy risoni compliments the seasonal veggies perfectly and the side of garlic bread is a sure-fire cure for any winter blues. With 22 meals to pick from each week, this one is sure to be a household favorite.

Cheesy Red Pesto Chicken Melts

Everyone is familiar with classic green pesto, but have you ever tried red pesto? Red pesto offers way more complexity and oomph than its green counterpart. It is incredibly bright with rich notes of umami, roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh basil and garlic. This rendition also features hits of chargrilled capsicum for a little extra zest. You get the exact amount of each ingredient and seasoning, as well as super detailed recipe cards, that make meal prep a breeze. Spread it over a glistening chicken bread and sprinkle with cheese for delectable chicken melts.

Winter Risotto

Risotto is a great winter warmer. It's packed full of veggies so your body will light up like fire, but it's also silky, sumptuous and a real crowd pleaser. HelloFresh's Winter Risotto features a heart helping of kale that pairs perfectly with nutty Parmesan and crunchy walnuts for a robust taste. Did we mention that it also comes with fennel seeds sprinkled throughout? This unique seasoning adds a distinctive, yet delicious flavor to this classic winter staple. We know these meals are pretty hardy, which is why we love having the option to pause our subscription or cancel a week when need be.

Cheat's Italian Pork & Veggie Bolognese

A bolognese that only takes 30 minutes to make? Sign us up! This one is chock full of all the rich flavors of a classic Italian sauce. In fact, we're getting some serious Italian grandmother vibes with this recipe. Silky baby Spanish and grated carrots melt into a hearty meat sauce, offering a mouth-watering meal for anyone looking for a little zest. It's delivery quality, but much more affordable, plus you get to cook it yourself!

Smokey Mild Chorizo & Bean Chilli

Yet another clever twist on a weekday favorite! The paprika and garlic flavored cured sausage is a staple in our chopping baskets since it goes well with practically anything. Not only is Chorizo loved for its taste, but also for its ability to infuse sauces with its tantalizing flavor. This time around, HelloFresh has decided to spice up a classic bowl of bean chili with Spanish styling of a smokey mild chorizo. The end result? A mix of chorizo, red kidney beans, corn and avocado, and an irresistible flavor that everyone will love. This is just one of dozens of unique HelloFresh recipes you won't find anywhere else!

Gone are the days of trekking through the frigid cold just for a few groceries. Sign-up for HelloFresh today and get your ingredients delivered right to your doorstep. Time to start cozying up the right way, with a delicious meal and a nice cup of hot cocoa.

Update: Our friends at HelloFresh are extending a special Black Friday offer to our readers. Follow this link to get $90 off across 4 boxes including free shipping!