I can't think of another food category on which more hounds hold varying opinions. Yes, more than pastrami (Langer's all the way IMHO) and more than steak (Ruth's, Morton's, Mastro's and then some), and more than burgers (Umami vs. FO or maybe a little Top's Kobe Bistro for the drive-thru hound).
Everybody that has ever eaten 'cue seems to have a different idea as to what makes it great and after all of this time I'm way more than curious.
What makes BBQ good? I've eaten most varieties, in all kinds of places, in many states. I love Carolina pork, KC ribs, Georgia in general, and my favorite, Texas brisket & spare ribs (keep your baby backs). I love it so much that I've learned to make my own... all kinds and all styles. After trying the local purveryors (OC and LA), I haven't beenoverly impressed. I conclude (and most of you will heartily agree) that I must be in the minority.
Over the years, I've figured what works for me is....smoke! I need to have me some smoke! I'm not down with the boiled ribs and steamed meat that seem to pass for Q in these parts (although I used to sneak an ArbyQ before I knew better). And a good rib, for me, doesn't mean the meat "falls off the bone" and I most certainly don't need my 'cue smothered in sauce. Now, I'm not against sauce, but it needs to be: interesting, sparse, spicy and ON THE SIDE!
Trust me, this controversy is not limited to California. If you go looking for 'Q' opinions on other boards in other states, I guarantee you'll find them.
So, what makes BBQ good for you?