The fact that Lexington is known for its shoulders, not whole hogs, is also a result of this business savvy; they cook faster and produce less waste. And because of the cut's smaller size, the meat easily soaks up the flavor of the smoke. In Lexington, and other parts of the surrounding area, a barbecue lover also has options. "It's like going to a steak house," says Rick Monk, who runs my favorite place, Lexington Barbecue, which his father, Wayne, founded in 1962. Ask for "brown," you get meat with more smoke flavor; "white" is leaner and lighter. You can order your 'cue chopped, sliced, or "coarse-chopped with brown"—chunks with crispy skin. The local tomato-tinged sweet "dip" and ketchup-spiked slaw are perfect with such robustly flavored meat. Overall, western-style barbecue is more emphatic and, I was starting to think, more savory than what's out east. When I mentioned this to my father-in-law, he was horrified: "It's unrefined! Too heavily sauced!"