A Tour of Regional Barbecue Styles & Their Perfect Ridge Pairings

Zins, Blends & BBQ!

We invite you to dust off those grilling utensils this summer and join us for an exploration of regional barbecue styles and how to pair them with our different zinfandels. Kansas City, North Carolina, Texas, and yes…even Northern California; each has its own unique interpretation of what barbecue should be, and we’re here to help guide you through the tasty variations.

The first step in creating a harmonious pairing is to identify the dominant element in the dish and then look for a complementary element in the wine, thus creating a bridge between the two. The dominant element in a particular dish typically falls into one of three categories; 1) The Primary Ingredient, 2) The Cooking Method, or 3) The Sauce or Side. When you’ve determined the element that is playing the lead role in the dish, look for those complimentary elements in the wine. Below are several examples. We invite you to try these recipes and experiment with the suggested pairings as well as our other wines to see which pairing you like best. Enjoy!

To purchase the four wines featured below, click here.

Kansas City
BBQ Baby Back Ribs paired with Pagani Ranch Zinfandel

BBQ Ribs

The dominant element in this dish is the barbecue sauce. Kansas City style sauce is what most people in this country associate with a “traditional” barbecue sauce. This version not only brings richness to the ribs, but a diverse array of spice and slightly less sweetness than is typical. This dish calls for a wine of equal intensity. Our selection here is our new 2016 Pagani Ranch Zinfandel. The old vine, field-blend vineyard (planted in the 1890’s) produces intense, concentrated fruit, and the resulting wine pairs beautifully with this dish.
Click here for this recipe.

North Carolina
BBQ Pulled Pork paired with Geyserville


Our focus with this dish is twofold; first the relative mildness of the main ingredient, Pork. And second, the significant presence of vinegar in the sauce. This combination calls for a wine with elegant complexity and good acidity to balance the use of vinegar. Our match for the Pulled Pork is our 2017 Geyserville. The age of the vines at Geyserville contribute amazing complexity to this wine and the significant amount of Carignane (18%), which gives the wine great acidity, makes this a wonderful pairing.
Click here for this recipe.

Texas Style Beef Brisket paired with Hooker Creek Zinfandel


Here the dominant element of the dish is the beef as well as the high impact cooking method of mesquite grilling. This dish calls for intensity and structure. Our choice is the 2016 Hooker Creek Zinfandel. This wine is showing rich, dark fruits and intense spice, which complements the grilled brisket perfectly. The old vine complexity shines in this wine, along with with the small amount of petite sirah which adds to the structure of the wine, helping create a fantastic pairing for this bold dish.
Click here for this recipe.

Zin soaked Tri Tip paired with East Bench Zinfandel


California has a BBQ style? Who knew?! Well, sort of. Here we opted to create our own pairing bridge and make California’s signature varietal the core of the marinade for the Tri Tip. The Tri Tip cut was popularized in the 1950’s in Santa Maria, California where locals began to rub it with a variety of seasonings and roast it whole over red oak. Californian’s flocked to Tri Tip for its full flavor and lower fat content. The cut is still often labeled the “Santa Maria steak.” We’ve chosen our 2017 East Bench Zinfandel as its pairing partner for this preparation.
Click here for this recipe.

To purchase these four featured wines, click here.

Explore these resources for more information on regional barbecue styles:

The Evolution of American Barbecue
Kanas City

Categories: Food & Wine Pairing, Winemaking

Tags: , , , , ,

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