These days the beef vs pork camps aren't as severely divided. There are a lot of factors eroding the staunch regional lines of beef vs pork:
- We are a much more mobile society now versus 1870. As people move about, they take preferences and cooking techniques with them and also experience new culinary ideas. The Internet is making this change even more rapid.
- Modern production and distribution makes commodity beef and pork equally available regardless of geographic location.
- Third, while BBQ restaurants are traditionally single proprietor operations, 39 percent of them are now restaurant chains (Source: NBBQA 2015 Conference: Driving Growth In Dynamic Times) and restaurant chains often cross regional lines.
- People are embracing healthier lifestyles and opting more often for leaner proteins, such as chicken, turkey and fish.
- Economic factors drive consumers away from pork and beef. According to Nielsen Perishables Group, at the end of 2014 pork and beef were down in units sold while chicken was up in both dollars and units sold. Granted, economic factors are often cyclical but they do introduce new trends and practices that sometimes stick.