Traditional recipes

Why Chefs Love to Cook Barbecue Slideshow

Why Chefs Love to Cook Barbecue Slideshow

Will Budiaman

Jeffrey Coon, executive chef, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, New York City

"I love cooking barbecue because you take cuts of meat that are usually unmanageable, you work 'em, you use your knowledge, you smoke 'em low and slow, you make great product outta what a lotta people consider not so good… But it's always a challenge every day. I love it and I've been doin' it for 20 years now. We don't [screw] around and we take it serious."

He's not kidding — Coon once worked 36 hours straight on the line at Meatopia.

The Guy Who Doesn't Screw Around

Will Budiaman

Jeffrey Coon, executive chef, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, New York City

"I love cooking barbecue because you take cuts of meat that are usually unmanageable, you work 'em, you use your knowledge, you smoke 'em low and slow, you make great product outta what a lotta people consider not so good… But it's always a challenge every day. We don't [screw] around and we take it serious."

He's not kidding — Coon once worked 36 hours straight on the line at Meatopia.

Just Loves It

Will Budiaman

Big Lou Elrose, pitmaster and partner, Wildwood Barbeque, New York City

"It's fun because I'm a barbecue guy — I'm a retired New York City police officer, and I started competitive barbecuing but that's how I got into this.

Probably brisket and pork shoulder are my two favorites. Brisket is just so good — you know, if you cook brisket properly, 200 to 225 degrees, for about 12 to 16 hours, it comes out unbelievably good, and the same thing with pork shoulder, with all those special rubs and injections, you can get a really great product."

The Guy Likes Pork

Will Budiaman

Glenn Rolnick, director of culinary pperation at Alicart Restaurant Group, Virgil's Real BBQ, New York City

"Pork. Love pork — I like pork butts, I like a little bit of fat in my meat; I don't like meat that doesn't have any fat. Great bark on the skin so it has a nice seasoned crust on the outside so it's the first thing you taste when you bite in, and then you taste the nice, moist tender meat inside of that. It's that slow process to get that cooked in — really, really good, strong flavors into the meat."

Click here to see How to Safely Do a Backyard Pig Roast.

Don't Put Barbecue in a Box

Will Budiaman

Oliver Gift, executive chef, Lowcountry, New York City

"For a lot of young chefs, I think barbecue is a great avenue… there's such a broad range in this food and style.

It's not so much "Southern" [anymore] — it's worldwide; I have a menu item, a pork slider that's very Asian… in its preparation, for example. I try to take the whole gamut of the world and bring it back down for inspiration — I don't think it's really for somebody to lock [barbecue] into a specific area."

The People Person

Will Budiaman

Simon Glenn, chef and "number one conspirator," Tchoup Shop BBQ, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, N.Y.

"It's especially good when you get away from the kitchen walls, and you're sitting there and you're at the grill, serving people right there, watching people eat your food interactively."

Likes Variables

Will Budiaman

Jeff Lutonsky, co-owner, Mable's Smokehouse & Banquet Hall, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, N.Y.

"I enjoy cooking with barbecue because it's constantly changing. It takes five minutes to learn and a lifetime to master, basically. So, there are so many different variables that can really throw off something working with cheap cuts of meat, cheap vegetables... so you take something that used to be tossed away and then just with a lot of love and attention, then you transform that into something that's really special and kind of amazing that blows people away."

The Brisket Man

Will Budiaman

Daniel DeLaney, owner, BrisketLab, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, N.Y. (opening Oct. 31, 2012)

"Brisket is the most difficult protein to cook, but if you nail it, really nail it, it's mind-blowing — really, really mind-blowing."

The Man

Jason DeCrow/AP Images for Udi's Gluten Free Foods

Rocco DiSpirito, celebrity chef, television show host, and James Beard Award-winning cookbook author

"I think what's great about barbecue is it's always delicious and it's something everyone can do. And it's usually when men get involved in cooking so it's kind of a fun opportunity for men to contribute to getting the family together for dinner." Indeed, men do like their meat.


Barbecue is an American tradition – of enslaved Africans and Native Americans

B arbecue is a form of cultural power and is intensely political, with a culture of rules like no other American culinary tradition: sauce or no sauce which kind of sauce chopped or not chopped whole animal or just ribs or shoulders. And, if America is about people creating new worlds based on rebellion against oppression and slavery, then barbecue is the ideal dish: it was made by enslaved Africans with inspiration and contributions from Native Americans struggling to maintain their independence.

The common cultural narrative of barbecue, however, exclusively assigns its origins to Native Americans and Europeans the very etymology of the word is said to derive from both Carib through Spanish (barbacoa – to roast over hot coals on a wooden framework) or from western European sources (barbe-a-queue in French – “head to tail” – which fits nicely with contemporary ideas of no-waste eating and consuming offal). Some American barbecue masters have taken to attributing the innovation of barbecue to their German and Czech ancestors.

If anything, both in etymology and culinary technique, barbecue is as African as it is Native American and European, though enslaved Africans have largely been erased from the modern story of American barbecue. At best, our ancestors are seen as mindless cooking machines who prepared the meat under strict white supervision, if at all at worst, barbecue was something done “for” the enslaved, as if they were being introduced to a novel treat. In reality, they shaped the culture of New World barbecuing traditions, from jerking in Jamaica to anticuchos in Peru to cooking traditions in the colonial Pampas. And the word barbecue also has roots in West Africa among the Hausa, who used the term “babbake” to describe a complex of words referring to grilling, toasting, building a large fire, singeing hair or feathers and cooking food over a long period of time over an extravagant fire.

In the earliest colonial days, the West Indies served as a seed colonies for the presence of enslaved Africans in the New World especially because, within 10 years of European arrival, indigenous Americans endured mass, genocidal losses due to the introduction of diseases common in Europe. With only a few remaining Carib and Arawak indigenes, Africans quickly became the majority on the islands and, eventually, the Southeastern coast (where many island colonists resettled in the late 17 th and early 18 th centuries, often with their enslaved people in tow).

In Jamaica, maroon rebels who resisted slavery and formed their own settlements forged ties with rebellious indigenous islanders in the West Indies and Latin America (leading, eventually, to the modern form of barbecue known as jerking). Similar ties were established in the first areas of the United States to see the arrival of enslaved Africans, which occurred in 1526, after Spaniard Lucas Vasquez de Ayllon died in an effort to establish a colony in what we know now as South Carolina. Ayllon’s political successors abandoned the area, leaving behind the enslaved Africans and the Native Americans who had guided them there. With the Spanish had come pigs, which became feral and to this day infest Southern woodlands. It was in that context that barbecue made its debut on what is now American soil.

Enslaved Africans and Native Americans had a lot in common, culinarily-speaking: they had been cooking and eating in similar ways. despite an ocean between their civilizations. It only makes sense that, when their foodways, crops, cooking methods and systems of preservation, hunting, fishing and food storage collided, that there would be deep similarities and convergences of technique, method and skill. And West and Central Africans had always had their own versions of the barbacoa and spit roasting of meat. While living in a tropical climate, salting, spicing and half-smoking meat upon butchering was key to ensuring game would make it back to the village with minimal spoilage. Festivals were marked by the salting, spicing and roasting of whole animals or large cuts of meat.

Thus, in colonial and antebellum North America, enslaved men became barbecue’s master chefs: woodcuts, cartoons, postcards and portraits from the period document the role that black chefs played in shaping this very American, and especially Southern staple. Working over pits in the ground covered in green wood – much as in West Africa or Jamaica – it was enslaved men and their descendants, not the Bubbas of today’s Barbecue Pitmasters, that innovated and refined regional barbecue traditions. If anything, German, Czech, Mexican and other traditions in South Carolina, Missouri and Texas were added to a base created by black hands forged in the crucible of slavery.

In some ways barbecue is true Independence Day food. As European Americans acclimated themselves to the custom of forsaking utensils and even plates to eat more like enslaved Africans and Native Americans – from spareribs to corn on the cob – they used their hands in an unprecedented break with Old World formalities. It is not without some irony that enslaved people, the earliest barbecue pitmasters, were called upon to avail slaveholders and politicians with Fourth of July barbecues meant to win over neighbors and constituents. When they obtained their own freedom, the formerly enslaved celebrated Juneteenth with none other than their favorite freedom food – barbecue.

Barbecue is now widely recognized as a staple of the American culinary canon – so much so that at least three national holidays (Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day) are associated with it. Barbecue is laced with the aspiration of freedom, but it was seasoned and flavored by the people who could not enjoy any freedom on Independence Day for almost a century.


Barbecue is an American tradition – of enslaved Africans and Native Americans

B arbecue is a form of cultural power and is intensely political, with a culture of rules like no other American culinary tradition: sauce or no sauce which kind of sauce chopped or not chopped whole animal or just ribs or shoulders. And, if America is about people creating new worlds based on rebellion against oppression and slavery, then barbecue is the ideal dish: it was made by enslaved Africans with inspiration and contributions from Native Americans struggling to maintain their independence.

The common cultural narrative of barbecue, however, exclusively assigns its origins to Native Americans and Europeans the very etymology of the word is said to derive from both Carib through Spanish (barbacoa – to roast over hot coals on a wooden framework) or from western European sources (barbe-a-queue in French – “head to tail” – which fits nicely with contemporary ideas of no-waste eating and consuming offal). Some American barbecue masters have taken to attributing the innovation of barbecue to their German and Czech ancestors.

If anything, both in etymology and culinary technique, barbecue is as African as it is Native American and European, though enslaved Africans have largely been erased from the modern story of American barbecue. At best, our ancestors are seen as mindless cooking machines who prepared the meat under strict white supervision, if at all at worst, barbecue was something done “for” the enslaved, as if they were being introduced to a novel treat. In reality, they shaped the culture of New World barbecuing traditions, from jerking in Jamaica to anticuchos in Peru to cooking traditions in the colonial Pampas. And the word barbecue also has roots in West Africa among the Hausa, who used the term “babbake” to describe a complex of words referring to grilling, toasting, building a large fire, singeing hair or feathers and cooking food over a long period of time over an extravagant fire.

In the earliest colonial days, the West Indies served as a seed colonies for the presence of enslaved Africans in the New World especially because, within 10 years of European arrival, indigenous Americans endured mass, genocidal losses due to the introduction of diseases common in Europe. With only a few remaining Carib and Arawak indigenes, Africans quickly became the majority on the islands and, eventually, the Southeastern coast (where many island colonists resettled in the late 17 th and early 18 th centuries, often with their enslaved people in tow).

In Jamaica, maroon rebels who resisted slavery and formed their own settlements forged ties with rebellious indigenous islanders in the West Indies and Latin America (leading, eventually, to the modern form of barbecue known as jerking). Similar ties were established in the first areas of the United States to see the arrival of enslaved Africans, which occurred in 1526, after Spaniard Lucas Vasquez de Ayllon died in an effort to establish a colony in what we know now as South Carolina. Ayllon’s political successors abandoned the area, leaving behind the enslaved Africans and the Native Americans who had guided them there. With the Spanish had come pigs, which became feral and to this day infest Southern woodlands. It was in that context that barbecue made its debut on what is now American soil.

Enslaved Africans and Native Americans had a lot in common, culinarily-speaking: they had been cooking and eating in similar ways. despite an ocean between their civilizations. It only makes sense that, when their foodways, crops, cooking methods and systems of preservation, hunting, fishing and food storage collided, that there would be deep similarities and convergences of technique, method and skill. And West and Central Africans had always had their own versions of the barbacoa and spit roasting of meat. While living in a tropical climate, salting, spicing and half-smoking meat upon butchering was key to ensuring game would make it back to the village with minimal spoilage. Festivals were marked by the salting, spicing and roasting of whole animals or large cuts of meat.

Thus, in colonial and antebellum North America, enslaved men became barbecue’s master chefs: woodcuts, cartoons, postcards and portraits from the period document the role that black chefs played in shaping this very American, and especially Southern staple. Working over pits in the ground covered in green wood – much as in West Africa or Jamaica – it was enslaved men and their descendants, not the Bubbas of today’s Barbecue Pitmasters, that innovated and refined regional barbecue traditions. If anything, German, Czech, Mexican and other traditions in South Carolina, Missouri and Texas were added to a base created by black hands forged in the crucible of slavery.

In some ways barbecue is true Independence Day food. As European Americans acclimated themselves to the custom of forsaking utensils and even plates to eat more like enslaved Africans and Native Americans – from spareribs to corn on the cob – they used their hands in an unprecedented break with Old World formalities. It is not without some irony that enslaved people, the earliest barbecue pitmasters, were called upon to avail slaveholders and politicians with Fourth of July barbecues meant to win over neighbors and constituents. When they obtained their own freedom, the formerly enslaved celebrated Juneteenth with none other than their favorite freedom food – barbecue.

Barbecue is now widely recognized as a staple of the American culinary canon – so much so that at least three national holidays (Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day) are associated with it. Barbecue is laced with the aspiration of freedom, but it was seasoned and flavored by the people who could not enjoy any freedom on Independence Day for almost a century.


Barbecue is an American tradition – of enslaved Africans and Native Americans

B arbecue is a form of cultural power and is intensely political, with a culture of rules like no other American culinary tradition: sauce or no sauce which kind of sauce chopped or not chopped whole animal or just ribs or shoulders. And, if America is about people creating new worlds based on rebellion against oppression and slavery, then barbecue is the ideal dish: it was made by enslaved Africans with inspiration and contributions from Native Americans struggling to maintain their independence.

The common cultural narrative of barbecue, however, exclusively assigns its origins to Native Americans and Europeans the very etymology of the word is said to derive from both Carib through Spanish (barbacoa – to roast over hot coals on a wooden framework) or from western European sources (barbe-a-queue in French – “head to tail” – which fits nicely with contemporary ideas of no-waste eating and consuming offal). Some American barbecue masters have taken to attributing the innovation of barbecue to their German and Czech ancestors.

If anything, both in etymology and culinary technique, barbecue is as African as it is Native American and European, though enslaved Africans have largely been erased from the modern story of American barbecue. At best, our ancestors are seen as mindless cooking machines who prepared the meat under strict white supervision, if at all at worst, barbecue was something done “for” the enslaved, as if they were being introduced to a novel treat. In reality, they shaped the culture of New World barbecuing traditions, from jerking in Jamaica to anticuchos in Peru to cooking traditions in the colonial Pampas. And the word barbecue also has roots in West Africa among the Hausa, who used the term “babbake” to describe a complex of words referring to grilling, toasting, building a large fire, singeing hair or feathers and cooking food over a long period of time over an extravagant fire.

In the earliest colonial days, the West Indies served as a seed colonies for the presence of enslaved Africans in the New World especially because, within 10 years of European arrival, indigenous Americans endured mass, genocidal losses due to the introduction of diseases common in Europe. With only a few remaining Carib and Arawak indigenes, Africans quickly became the majority on the islands and, eventually, the Southeastern coast (where many island colonists resettled in the late 17 th and early 18 th centuries, often with their enslaved people in tow).

In Jamaica, maroon rebels who resisted slavery and formed their own settlements forged ties with rebellious indigenous islanders in the West Indies and Latin America (leading, eventually, to the modern form of barbecue known as jerking). Similar ties were established in the first areas of the United States to see the arrival of enslaved Africans, which occurred in 1526, after Spaniard Lucas Vasquez de Ayllon died in an effort to establish a colony in what we know now as South Carolina. Ayllon’s political successors abandoned the area, leaving behind the enslaved Africans and the Native Americans who had guided them there. With the Spanish had come pigs, which became feral and to this day infest Southern woodlands. It was in that context that barbecue made its debut on what is now American soil.

Enslaved Africans and Native Americans had a lot in common, culinarily-speaking: they had been cooking and eating in similar ways. despite an ocean between their civilizations. It only makes sense that, when their foodways, crops, cooking methods and systems of preservation, hunting, fishing and food storage collided, that there would be deep similarities and convergences of technique, method and skill. And West and Central Africans had always had their own versions of the barbacoa and spit roasting of meat. While living in a tropical climate, salting, spicing and half-smoking meat upon butchering was key to ensuring game would make it back to the village with minimal spoilage. Festivals were marked by the salting, spicing and roasting of whole animals or large cuts of meat.

Thus, in colonial and antebellum North America, enslaved men became barbecue’s master chefs: woodcuts, cartoons, postcards and portraits from the period document the role that black chefs played in shaping this very American, and especially Southern staple. Working over pits in the ground covered in green wood – much as in West Africa or Jamaica – it was enslaved men and their descendants, not the Bubbas of today’s Barbecue Pitmasters, that innovated and refined regional barbecue traditions. If anything, German, Czech, Mexican and other traditions in South Carolina, Missouri and Texas were added to a base created by black hands forged in the crucible of slavery.

In some ways barbecue is true Independence Day food. As European Americans acclimated themselves to the custom of forsaking utensils and even plates to eat more like enslaved Africans and Native Americans – from spareribs to corn on the cob – they used their hands in an unprecedented break with Old World formalities. It is not without some irony that enslaved people, the earliest barbecue pitmasters, were called upon to avail slaveholders and politicians with Fourth of July barbecues meant to win over neighbors and constituents. When they obtained their own freedom, the formerly enslaved celebrated Juneteenth with none other than their favorite freedom food – barbecue.

Barbecue is now widely recognized as a staple of the American culinary canon – so much so that at least three national holidays (Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day) are associated with it. Barbecue is laced with the aspiration of freedom, but it was seasoned and flavored by the people who could not enjoy any freedom on Independence Day for almost a century.


Barbecue is an American tradition – of enslaved Africans and Native Americans

B arbecue is a form of cultural power and is intensely political, with a culture of rules like no other American culinary tradition: sauce or no sauce which kind of sauce chopped or not chopped whole animal or just ribs or shoulders. And, if America is about people creating new worlds based on rebellion against oppression and slavery, then barbecue is the ideal dish: it was made by enslaved Africans with inspiration and contributions from Native Americans struggling to maintain their independence.

The common cultural narrative of barbecue, however, exclusively assigns its origins to Native Americans and Europeans the very etymology of the word is said to derive from both Carib through Spanish (barbacoa – to roast over hot coals on a wooden framework) or from western European sources (barbe-a-queue in French – “head to tail” – which fits nicely with contemporary ideas of no-waste eating and consuming offal). Some American barbecue masters have taken to attributing the innovation of barbecue to their German and Czech ancestors.

If anything, both in etymology and culinary technique, barbecue is as African as it is Native American and European, though enslaved Africans have largely been erased from the modern story of American barbecue. At best, our ancestors are seen as mindless cooking machines who prepared the meat under strict white supervision, if at all at worst, barbecue was something done “for” the enslaved, as if they were being introduced to a novel treat. In reality, they shaped the culture of New World barbecuing traditions, from jerking in Jamaica to anticuchos in Peru to cooking traditions in the colonial Pampas. And the word barbecue also has roots in West Africa among the Hausa, who used the term “babbake” to describe a complex of words referring to grilling, toasting, building a large fire, singeing hair or feathers and cooking food over a long period of time over an extravagant fire.

In the earliest colonial days, the West Indies served as a seed colonies for the presence of enslaved Africans in the New World especially because, within 10 years of European arrival, indigenous Americans endured mass, genocidal losses due to the introduction of diseases common in Europe. With only a few remaining Carib and Arawak indigenes, Africans quickly became the majority on the islands and, eventually, the Southeastern coast (where many island colonists resettled in the late 17 th and early 18 th centuries, often with their enslaved people in tow).

In Jamaica, maroon rebels who resisted slavery and formed their own settlements forged ties with rebellious indigenous islanders in the West Indies and Latin America (leading, eventually, to the modern form of barbecue known as jerking). Similar ties were established in the first areas of the United States to see the arrival of enslaved Africans, which occurred in 1526, after Spaniard Lucas Vasquez de Ayllon died in an effort to establish a colony in what we know now as South Carolina. Ayllon’s political successors abandoned the area, leaving behind the enslaved Africans and the Native Americans who had guided them there. With the Spanish had come pigs, which became feral and to this day infest Southern woodlands. It was in that context that barbecue made its debut on what is now American soil.

Enslaved Africans and Native Americans had a lot in common, culinarily-speaking: they had been cooking and eating in similar ways. despite an ocean between their civilizations. It only makes sense that, when their foodways, crops, cooking methods and systems of preservation, hunting, fishing and food storage collided, that there would be deep similarities and convergences of technique, method and skill. And West and Central Africans had always had their own versions of the barbacoa and spit roasting of meat. While living in a tropical climate, salting, spicing and half-smoking meat upon butchering was key to ensuring game would make it back to the village with minimal spoilage. Festivals were marked by the salting, spicing and roasting of whole animals or large cuts of meat.

Thus, in colonial and antebellum North America, enslaved men became barbecue’s master chefs: woodcuts, cartoons, postcards and portraits from the period document the role that black chefs played in shaping this very American, and especially Southern staple. Working over pits in the ground covered in green wood – much as in West Africa or Jamaica – it was enslaved men and their descendants, not the Bubbas of today’s Barbecue Pitmasters, that innovated and refined regional barbecue traditions. If anything, German, Czech, Mexican and other traditions in South Carolina, Missouri and Texas were added to a base created by black hands forged in the crucible of slavery.

In some ways barbecue is true Independence Day food. As European Americans acclimated themselves to the custom of forsaking utensils and even plates to eat more like enslaved Africans and Native Americans – from spareribs to corn on the cob – they used their hands in an unprecedented break with Old World formalities. It is not without some irony that enslaved people, the earliest barbecue pitmasters, were called upon to avail slaveholders and politicians with Fourth of July barbecues meant to win over neighbors and constituents. When they obtained their own freedom, the formerly enslaved celebrated Juneteenth with none other than their favorite freedom food – barbecue.

Barbecue is now widely recognized as a staple of the American culinary canon – so much so that at least three national holidays (Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day) are associated with it. Barbecue is laced with the aspiration of freedom, but it was seasoned and flavored by the people who could not enjoy any freedom on Independence Day for almost a century.


Barbecue is an American tradition – of enslaved Africans and Native Americans

B arbecue is a form of cultural power and is intensely political, with a culture of rules like no other American culinary tradition: sauce or no sauce which kind of sauce chopped or not chopped whole animal or just ribs or shoulders. And, if America is about people creating new worlds based on rebellion against oppression and slavery, then barbecue is the ideal dish: it was made by enslaved Africans with inspiration and contributions from Native Americans struggling to maintain their independence.

The common cultural narrative of barbecue, however, exclusively assigns its origins to Native Americans and Europeans the very etymology of the word is said to derive from both Carib through Spanish (barbacoa – to roast over hot coals on a wooden framework) or from western European sources (barbe-a-queue in French – “head to tail” – which fits nicely with contemporary ideas of no-waste eating and consuming offal). Some American barbecue masters have taken to attributing the innovation of barbecue to their German and Czech ancestors.

If anything, both in etymology and culinary technique, barbecue is as African as it is Native American and European, though enslaved Africans have largely been erased from the modern story of American barbecue. At best, our ancestors are seen as mindless cooking machines who prepared the meat under strict white supervision, if at all at worst, barbecue was something done “for” the enslaved, as if they were being introduced to a novel treat. In reality, they shaped the culture of New World barbecuing traditions, from jerking in Jamaica to anticuchos in Peru to cooking traditions in the colonial Pampas. And the word barbecue also has roots in West Africa among the Hausa, who used the term “babbake” to describe a complex of words referring to grilling, toasting, building a large fire, singeing hair or feathers and cooking food over a long period of time over an extravagant fire.

In the earliest colonial days, the West Indies served as a seed colonies for the presence of enslaved Africans in the New World especially because, within 10 years of European arrival, indigenous Americans endured mass, genocidal losses due to the introduction of diseases common in Europe. With only a few remaining Carib and Arawak indigenes, Africans quickly became the majority on the islands and, eventually, the Southeastern coast (where many island colonists resettled in the late 17 th and early 18 th centuries, often with their enslaved people in tow).

In Jamaica, maroon rebels who resisted slavery and formed their own settlements forged ties with rebellious indigenous islanders in the West Indies and Latin America (leading, eventually, to the modern form of barbecue known as jerking). Similar ties were established in the first areas of the United States to see the arrival of enslaved Africans, which occurred in 1526, after Spaniard Lucas Vasquez de Ayllon died in an effort to establish a colony in what we know now as South Carolina. Ayllon’s political successors abandoned the area, leaving behind the enslaved Africans and the Native Americans who had guided them there. With the Spanish had come pigs, which became feral and to this day infest Southern woodlands. It was in that context that barbecue made its debut on what is now American soil.

Enslaved Africans and Native Americans had a lot in common, culinarily-speaking: they had been cooking and eating in similar ways. despite an ocean between their civilizations. It only makes sense that, when their foodways, crops, cooking methods and systems of preservation, hunting, fishing and food storage collided, that there would be deep similarities and convergences of technique, method and skill. And West and Central Africans had always had their own versions of the barbacoa and spit roasting of meat. While living in a tropical climate, salting, spicing and half-smoking meat upon butchering was key to ensuring game would make it back to the village with minimal spoilage. Festivals were marked by the salting, spicing and roasting of whole animals or large cuts of meat.

Thus, in colonial and antebellum North America, enslaved men became barbecue’s master chefs: woodcuts, cartoons, postcards and portraits from the period document the role that black chefs played in shaping this very American, and especially Southern staple. Working over pits in the ground covered in green wood – much as in West Africa or Jamaica – it was enslaved men and their descendants, not the Bubbas of today’s Barbecue Pitmasters, that innovated and refined regional barbecue traditions. If anything, German, Czech, Mexican and other traditions in South Carolina, Missouri and Texas were added to a base created by black hands forged in the crucible of slavery.

In some ways barbecue is true Independence Day food. As European Americans acclimated themselves to the custom of forsaking utensils and even plates to eat more like enslaved Africans and Native Americans – from spareribs to corn on the cob – they used their hands in an unprecedented break with Old World formalities. It is not without some irony that enslaved people, the earliest barbecue pitmasters, were called upon to avail slaveholders and politicians with Fourth of July barbecues meant to win over neighbors and constituents. When they obtained their own freedom, the formerly enslaved celebrated Juneteenth with none other than their favorite freedom food – barbecue.

Barbecue is now widely recognized as a staple of the American culinary canon – so much so that at least three national holidays (Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day) are associated with it. Barbecue is laced with the aspiration of freedom, but it was seasoned and flavored by the people who could not enjoy any freedom on Independence Day for almost a century.


Barbecue is an American tradition – of enslaved Africans and Native Americans

B arbecue is a form of cultural power and is intensely political, with a culture of rules like no other American culinary tradition: sauce or no sauce which kind of sauce chopped or not chopped whole animal or just ribs or shoulders. And, if America is about people creating new worlds based on rebellion against oppression and slavery, then barbecue is the ideal dish: it was made by enslaved Africans with inspiration and contributions from Native Americans struggling to maintain their independence.

The common cultural narrative of barbecue, however, exclusively assigns its origins to Native Americans and Europeans the very etymology of the word is said to derive from both Carib through Spanish (barbacoa – to roast over hot coals on a wooden framework) or from western European sources (barbe-a-queue in French – “head to tail” – which fits nicely with contemporary ideas of no-waste eating and consuming offal). Some American barbecue masters have taken to attributing the innovation of barbecue to their German and Czech ancestors.

If anything, both in etymology and culinary technique, barbecue is as African as it is Native American and European, though enslaved Africans have largely been erased from the modern story of American barbecue. At best, our ancestors are seen as mindless cooking machines who prepared the meat under strict white supervision, if at all at worst, barbecue was something done “for” the enslaved, as if they were being introduced to a novel treat. In reality, they shaped the culture of New World barbecuing traditions, from jerking in Jamaica to anticuchos in Peru to cooking traditions in the colonial Pampas. And the word barbecue also has roots in West Africa among the Hausa, who used the term “babbake” to describe a complex of words referring to grilling, toasting, building a large fire, singeing hair or feathers and cooking food over a long period of time over an extravagant fire.

In the earliest colonial days, the West Indies served as a seed colonies for the presence of enslaved Africans in the New World especially because, within 10 years of European arrival, indigenous Americans endured mass, genocidal losses due to the introduction of diseases common in Europe. With only a few remaining Carib and Arawak indigenes, Africans quickly became the majority on the islands and, eventually, the Southeastern coast (where many island colonists resettled in the late 17 th and early 18 th centuries, often with their enslaved people in tow).

In Jamaica, maroon rebels who resisted slavery and formed their own settlements forged ties with rebellious indigenous islanders in the West Indies and Latin America (leading, eventually, to the modern form of barbecue known as jerking). Similar ties were established in the first areas of the United States to see the arrival of enslaved Africans, which occurred in 1526, after Spaniard Lucas Vasquez de Ayllon died in an effort to establish a colony in what we know now as South Carolina. Ayllon’s political successors abandoned the area, leaving behind the enslaved Africans and the Native Americans who had guided them there. With the Spanish had come pigs, which became feral and to this day infest Southern woodlands. It was in that context that barbecue made its debut on what is now American soil.

Enslaved Africans and Native Americans had a lot in common, culinarily-speaking: they had been cooking and eating in similar ways. despite an ocean between their civilizations. It only makes sense that, when their foodways, crops, cooking methods and systems of preservation, hunting, fishing and food storage collided, that there would be deep similarities and convergences of technique, method and skill. And West and Central Africans had always had their own versions of the barbacoa and spit roasting of meat. While living in a tropical climate, salting, spicing and half-smoking meat upon butchering was key to ensuring game would make it back to the village with minimal spoilage. Festivals were marked by the salting, spicing and roasting of whole animals or large cuts of meat.

Thus, in colonial and antebellum North America, enslaved men became barbecue’s master chefs: woodcuts, cartoons, postcards and portraits from the period document the role that black chefs played in shaping this very American, and especially Southern staple. Working over pits in the ground covered in green wood – much as in West Africa or Jamaica – it was enslaved men and their descendants, not the Bubbas of today’s Barbecue Pitmasters, that innovated and refined regional barbecue traditions. If anything, German, Czech, Mexican and other traditions in South Carolina, Missouri and Texas were added to a base created by black hands forged in the crucible of slavery.

In some ways barbecue is true Independence Day food. As European Americans acclimated themselves to the custom of forsaking utensils and even plates to eat more like enslaved Africans and Native Americans – from spareribs to corn on the cob – they used their hands in an unprecedented break with Old World formalities. It is not without some irony that enslaved people, the earliest barbecue pitmasters, were called upon to avail slaveholders and politicians with Fourth of July barbecues meant to win over neighbors and constituents. When they obtained their own freedom, the formerly enslaved celebrated Juneteenth with none other than their favorite freedom food – barbecue.

Barbecue is now widely recognized as a staple of the American culinary canon – so much so that at least three national holidays (Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day) are associated with it. Barbecue is laced with the aspiration of freedom, but it was seasoned and flavored by the people who could not enjoy any freedom on Independence Day for almost a century.


Barbecue is an American tradition – of enslaved Africans and Native Americans

B arbecue is a form of cultural power and is intensely political, with a culture of rules like no other American culinary tradition: sauce or no sauce which kind of sauce chopped or not chopped whole animal or just ribs or shoulders. And, if America is about people creating new worlds based on rebellion against oppression and slavery, then barbecue is the ideal dish: it was made by enslaved Africans with inspiration and contributions from Native Americans struggling to maintain their independence.

The common cultural narrative of barbecue, however, exclusively assigns its origins to Native Americans and Europeans the very etymology of the word is said to derive from both Carib through Spanish (barbacoa – to roast over hot coals on a wooden framework) or from western European sources (barbe-a-queue in French – “head to tail” – which fits nicely with contemporary ideas of no-waste eating and consuming offal). Some American barbecue masters have taken to attributing the innovation of barbecue to their German and Czech ancestors.

If anything, both in etymology and culinary technique, barbecue is as African as it is Native American and European, though enslaved Africans have largely been erased from the modern story of American barbecue. At best, our ancestors are seen as mindless cooking machines who prepared the meat under strict white supervision, if at all at worst, barbecue was something done “for” the enslaved, as if they were being introduced to a novel treat. In reality, they shaped the culture of New World barbecuing traditions, from jerking in Jamaica to anticuchos in Peru to cooking traditions in the colonial Pampas. And the word barbecue also has roots in West Africa among the Hausa, who used the term “babbake” to describe a complex of words referring to grilling, toasting, building a large fire, singeing hair or feathers and cooking food over a long period of time over an extravagant fire.

In the earliest colonial days, the West Indies served as a seed colonies for the presence of enslaved Africans in the New World especially because, within 10 years of European arrival, indigenous Americans endured mass, genocidal losses due to the introduction of diseases common in Europe. With only a few remaining Carib and Arawak indigenes, Africans quickly became the majority on the islands and, eventually, the Southeastern coast (where many island colonists resettled in the late 17 th and early 18 th centuries, often with their enslaved people in tow).

In Jamaica, maroon rebels who resisted slavery and formed their own settlements forged ties with rebellious indigenous islanders in the West Indies and Latin America (leading, eventually, to the modern form of barbecue known as jerking). Similar ties were established in the first areas of the United States to see the arrival of enslaved Africans, which occurred in 1526, after Spaniard Lucas Vasquez de Ayllon died in an effort to establish a colony in what we know now as South Carolina. Ayllon’s political successors abandoned the area, leaving behind the enslaved Africans and the Native Americans who had guided them there. With the Spanish had come pigs, which became feral and to this day infest Southern woodlands. It was in that context that barbecue made its debut on what is now American soil.

Enslaved Africans and Native Americans had a lot in common, culinarily-speaking: they had been cooking and eating in similar ways. despite an ocean between their civilizations. It only makes sense that, when their foodways, crops, cooking methods and systems of preservation, hunting, fishing and food storage collided, that there would be deep similarities and convergences of technique, method and skill. And West and Central Africans had always had their own versions of the barbacoa and spit roasting of meat. While living in a tropical climate, salting, spicing and half-smoking meat upon butchering was key to ensuring game would make it back to the village with minimal spoilage. Festivals were marked by the salting, spicing and roasting of whole animals or large cuts of meat.

Thus, in colonial and antebellum North America, enslaved men became barbecue’s master chefs: woodcuts, cartoons, postcards and portraits from the period document the role that black chefs played in shaping this very American, and especially Southern staple. Working over pits in the ground covered in green wood – much as in West Africa or Jamaica – it was enslaved men and their descendants, not the Bubbas of today’s Barbecue Pitmasters, that innovated and refined regional barbecue traditions. If anything, German, Czech, Mexican and other traditions in South Carolina, Missouri and Texas were added to a base created by black hands forged in the crucible of slavery.

In some ways barbecue is true Independence Day food. As European Americans acclimated themselves to the custom of forsaking utensils and even plates to eat more like enslaved Africans and Native Americans – from spareribs to corn on the cob – they used their hands in an unprecedented break with Old World formalities. It is not without some irony that enslaved people, the earliest barbecue pitmasters, were called upon to avail slaveholders and politicians with Fourth of July barbecues meant to win over neighbors and constituents. When they obtained their own freedom, the formerly enslaved celebrated Juneteenth with none other than their favorite freedom food – barbecue.

Barbecue is now widely recognized as a staple of the American culinary canon – so much so that at least three national holidays (Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day) are associated with it. Barbecue is laced with the aspiration of freedom, but it was seasoned and flavored by the people who could not enjoy any freedom on Independence Day for almost a century.


Barbecue is an American tradition – of enslaved Africans and Native Americans

B arbecue is a form of cultural power and is intensely political, with a culture of rules like no other American culinary tradition: sauce or no sauce which kind of sauce chopped or not chopped whole animal or just ribs or shoulders. And, if America is about people creating new worlds based on rebellion against oppression and slavery, then barbecue is the ideal dish: it was made by enslaved Africans with inspiration and contributions from Native Americans struggling to maintain their independence.

The common cultural narrative of barbecue, however, exclusively assigns its origins to Native Americans and Europeans the very etymology of the word is said to derive from both Carib through Spanish (barbacoa – to roast over hot coals on a wooden framework) or from western European sources (barbe-a-queue in French – “head to tail” – which fits nicely with contemporary ideas of no-waste eating and consuming offal). Some American barbecue masters have taken to attributing the innovation of barbecue to their German and Czech ancestors.

If anything, both in etymology and culinary technique, barbecue is as African as it is Native American and European, though enslaved Africans have largely been erased from the modern story of American barbecue. At best, our ancestors are seen as mindless cooking machines who prepared the meat under strict white supervision, if at all at worst, barbecue was something done “for” the enslaved, as if they were being introduced to a novel treat. In reality, they shaped the culture of New World barbecuing traditions, from jerking in Jamaica to anticuchos in Peru to cooking traditions in the colonial Pampas. And the word barbecue also has roots in West Africa among the Hausa, who used the term “babbake” to describe a complex of words referring to grilling, toasting, building a large fire, singeing hair or feathers and cooking food over a long period of time over an extravagant fire.

In the earliest colonial days, the West Indies served as a seed colonies for the presence of enslaved Africans in the New World especially because, within 10 years of European arrival, indigenous Americans endured mass, genocidal losses due to the introduction of diseases common in Europe. With only a few remaining Carib and Arawak indigenes, Africans quickly became the majority on the islands and, eventually, the Southeastern coast (where many island colonists resettled in the late 17 th and early 18 th centuries, often with their enslaved people in tow).

In Jamaica, maroon rebels who resisted slavery and formed their own settlements forged ties with rebellious indigenous islanders in the West Indies and Latin America (leading, eventually, to the modern form of barbecue known as jerking). Similar ties were established in the first areas of the United States to see the arrival of enslaved Africans, which occurred in 1526, after Spaniard Lucas Vasquez de Ayllon died in an effort to establish a colony in what we know now as South Carolina. Ayllon’s political successors abandoned the area, leaving behind the enslaved Africans and the Native Americans who had guided them there. With the Spanish had come pigs, which became feral and to this day infest Southern woodlands. It was in that context that barbecue made its debut on what is now American soil.

Enslaved Africans and Native Americans had a lot in common, culinarily-speaking: they had been cooking and eating in similar ways. despite an ocean between their civilizations. It only makes sense that, when their foodways, crops, cooking methods and systems of preservation, hunting, fishing and food storage collided, that there would be deep similarities and convergences of technique, method and skill. And West and Central Africans had always had their own versions of the barbacoa and spit roasting of meat. While living in a tropical climate, salting, spicing and half-smoking meat upon butchering was key to ensuring game would make it back to the village with minimal spoilage. Festivals were marked by the salting, spicing and roasting of whole animals or large cuts of meat.

Thus, in colonial and antebellum North America, enslaved men became barbecue’s master chefs: woodcuts, cartoons, postcards and portraits from the period document the role that black chefs played in shaping this very American, and especially Southern staple. Working over pits in the ground covered in green wood – much as in West Africa or Jamaica – it was enslaved men and their descendants, not the Bubbas of today’s Barbecue Pitmasters, that innovated and refined regional barbecue traditions. If anything, German, Czech, Mexican and other traditions in South Carolina, Missouri and Texas were added to a base created by black hands forged in the crucible of slavery.

In some ways barbecue is true Independence Day food. As European Americans acclimated themselves to the custom of forsaking utensils and even plates to eat more like enslaved Africans and Native Americans – from spareribs to corn on the cob – they used their hands in an unprecedented break with Old World formalities. It is not without some irony that enslaved people, the earliest barbecue pitmasters, were called upon to avail slaveholders and politicians with Fourth of July barbecues meant to win over neighbors and constituents. When they obtained their own freedom, the formerly enslaved celebrated Juneteenth with none other than their favorite freedom food – barbecue.

Barbecue is now widely recognized as a staple of the American culinary canon – so much so that at least three national holidays (Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day) are associated with it. Barbecue is laced with the aspiration of freedom, but it was seasoned and flavored by the people who could not enjoy any freedom on Independence Day for almost a century.


Barbecue is an American tradition – of enslaved Africans and Native Americans

B arbecue is a form of cultural power and is intensely political, with a culture of rules like no other American culinary tradition: sauce or no sauce which kind of sauce chopped or not chopped whole animal or just ribs or shoulders. And, if America is about people creating new worlds based on rebellion against oppression and slavery, then barbecue is the ideal dish: it was made by enslaved Africans with inspiration and contributions from Native Americans struggling to maintain their independence.

The common cultural narrative of barbecue, however, exclusively assigns its origins to Native Americans and Europeans the very etymology of the word is said to derive from both Carib through Spanish (barbacoa – to roast over hot coals on a wooden framework) or from western European sources (barbe-a-queue in French – “head to tail” – which fits nicely with contemporary ideas of no-waste eating and consuming offal). Some American barbecue masters have taken to attributing the innovation of barbecue to their German and Czech ancestors.

If anything, both in etymology and culinary technique, barbecue is as African as it is Native American and European, though enslaved Africans have largely been erased from the modern story of American barbecue. At best, our ancestors are seen as mindless cooking machines who prepared the meat under strict white supervision, if at all at worst, barbecue was something done “for” the enslaved, as if they were being introduced to a novel treat. In reality, they shaped the culture of New World barbecuing traditions, from jerking in Jamaica to anticuchos in Peru to cooking traditions in the colonial Pampas. And the word barbecue also has roots in West Africa among the Hausa, who used the term “babbake” to describe a complex of words referring to grilling, toasting, building a large fire, singeing hair or feathers and cooking food over a long period of time over an extravagant fire.

In the earliest colonial days, the West Indies served as a seed colonies for the presence of enslaved Africans in the New World especially because, within 10 years of European arrival, indigenous Americans endured mass, genocidal losses due to the introduction of diseases common in Europe. With only a few remaining Carib and Arawak indigenes, Africans quickly became the majority on the islands and, eventually, the Southeastern coast (where many island colonists resettled in the late 17 th and early 18 th centuries, often with their enslaved people in tow).

In Jamaica, maroon rebels who resisted slavery and formed their own settlements forged ties with rebellious indigenous islanders in the West Indies and Latin America (leading, eventually, to the modern form of barbecue known as jerking). Similar ties were established in the first areas of the United States to see the arrival of enslaved Africans, which occurred in 1526, after Spaniard Lucas Vasquez de Ayllon died in an effort to establish a colony in what we know now as South Carolina. Ayllon’s political successors abandoned the area, leaving behind the enslaved Africans and the Native Americans who had guided them there. With the Spanish had come pigs, which became feral and to this day infest Southern woodlands. It was in that context that barbecue made its debut on what is now American soil.

Enslaved Africans and Native Americans had a lot in common, culinarily-speaking: they had been cooking and eating in similar ways. despite an ocean between their civilizations. It only makes sense that, when their foodways, crops, cooking methods and systems of preservation, hunting, fishing and food storage collided, that there would be deep similarities and convergences of technique, method and skill. And West and Central Africans had always had their own versions of the barbacoa and spit roasting of meat. While living in a tropical climate, salting, spicing and half-smoking meat upon butchering was key to ensuring game would make it back to the village with minimal spoilage. Festivals were marked by the salting, spicing and roasting of whole animals or large cuts of meat.

Thus, in colonial and antebellum North America, enslaved men became barbecue’s master chefs: woodcuts, cartoons, postcards and portraits from the period document the role that black chefs played in shaping this very American, and especially Southern staple. Working over pits in the ground covered in green wood – much as in West Africa or Jamaica – it was enslaved men and their descendants, not the Bubbas of today’s Barbecue Pitmasters, that innovated and refined regional barbecue traditions. If anything, German, Czech, Mexican and other traditions in South Carolina, Missouri and Texas were added to a base created by black hands forged in the crucible of slavery.

In some ways barbecue is true Independence Day food. As European Americans acclimated themselves to the custom of forsaking utensils and even plates to eat more like enslaved Africans and Native Americans – from spareribs to corn on the cob – they used their hands in an unprecedented break with Old World formalities. It is not without some irony that enslaved people, the earliest barbecue pitmasters, were called upon to avail slaveholders and politicians with Fourth of July barbecues meant to win over neighbors and constituents. When they obtained their own freedom, the formerly enslaved celebrated Juneteenth with none other than their favorite freedom food – barbecue.

Barbecue is now widely recognized as a staple of the American culinary canon – so much so that at least three national holidays (Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day) are associated with it. Barbecue is laced with the aspiration of freedom, but it was seasoned and flavored by the people who could not enjoy any freedom on Independence Day for almost a century.


Barbecue is an American tradition – of enslaved Africans and Native Americans

B arbecue is a form of cultural power and is intensely political, with a culture of rules like no other American culinary tradition: sauce or no sauce which kind of sauce chopped or not chopped whole animal or just ribs or shoulders. And, if America is about people creating new worlds based on rebellion against oppression and slavery, then barbecue is the ideal dish: it was made by enslaved Africans with inspiration and contributions from Native Americans struggling to maintain their independence.

The common cultural narrative of barbecue, however, exclusively assigns its origins to Native Americans and Europeans the very etymology of the word is said to derive from both Carib through Spanish (barbacoa – to roast over hot coals on a wooden framework) or from western European sources (barbe-a-queue in French – “head to tail” – which fits nicely with contemporary ideas of no-waste eating and consuming offal). Some American barbecue masters have taken to attributing the innovation of barbecue to their German and Czech ancestors.

If anything, both in etymology and culinary technique, barbecue is as African as it is Native American and European, though enslaved Africans have largely been erased from the modern story of American barbecue. At best, our ancestors are seen as mindless cooking machines who prepared the meat under strict white supervision, if at all at worst, barbecue was something done “for” the enslaved, as if they were being introduced to a novel treat. In reality, they shaped the culture of New World barbecuing traditions, from jerking in Jamaica to anticuchos in Peru to cooking traditions in the colonial Pampas. And the word barbecue also has roots in West Africa among the Hausa, who used the term “babbake” to describe a complex of words referring to grilling, toasting, building a large fire, singeing hair or feathers and cooking food over a long period of time over an extravagant fire.

In the earliest colonial days, the West Indies served as a seed colonies for the presence of enslaved Africans in the New World especially because, within 10 years of European arrival, indigenous Americans endured mass, genocidal losses due to the introduction of diseases common in Europe. With only a few remaining Carib and Arawak indigenes, Africans quickly became the majority on the islands and, eventually, the Southeastern coast (where many island colonists resettled in the late 17 th and early 18 th centuries, often with their enslaved people in tow).

In Jamaica, maroon rebels who resisted slavery and formed their own settlements forged ties with rebellious indigenous islanders in the West Indies and Latin America (leading, eventually, to the modern form of barbecue known as jerking). Similar ties were established in the first areas of the United States to see the arrival of enslaved Africans, which occurred in 1526, after Spaniard Lucas Vasquez de Ayllon died in an effort to establish a colony in what we know now as South Carolina. Ayllon’s political successors abandoned the area, leaving behind the enslaved Africans and the Native Americans who had guided them there. With the Spanish had come pigs, which became feral and to this day infest Southern woodlands. It was in that context that barbecue made its debut on what is now American soil.

Enslaved Africans and Native Americans had a lot in common, culinarily-speaking: they had been cooking and eating in similar ways. despite an ocean between their civilizations. It only makes sense that, when their foodways, crops, cooking methods and systems of preservation, hunting, fishing and food storage collided, that there would be deep similarities and convergences of technique, method and skill. And West and Central Africans had always had their own versions of the barbacoa and spit roasting of meat. While living in a tropical climate, salting, spicing and half-smoking meat upon butchering was key to ensuring game would make it back to the village with minimal spoilage. Festivals were marked by the salting, spicing and roasting of whole animals or large cuts of meat.

Thus, in colonial and antebellum North America, enslaved men became barbecue’s master chefs: woodcuts, cartoons, postcards and portraits from the period document the role that black chefs played in shaping this very American, and especially Southern staple. Working over pits in the ground covered in green wood – much as in West Africa or Jamaica – it was enslaved men and their descendants, not the Bubbas of today’s Barbecue Pitmasters, that innovated and refined regional barbecue traditions. If anything, German, Czech, Mexican and other traditions in South Carolina, Missouri and Texas were added to a base created by black hands forged in the crucible of slavery.

In some ways barbecue is true Independence Day food. As European Americans acclimated themselves to the custom of forsaking utensils and even plates to eat more like enslaved Africans and Native Americans – from spareribs to corn on the cob – they used their hands in an unprecedented break with Old World formalities. It is not without some irony that enslaved people, the earliest barbecue pitmasters, were called upon to avail slaveholders and politicians with Fourth of July barbecues meant to win over neighbors and constituents. When they obtained their own freedom, the formerly enslaved celebrated Juneteenth with none other than their favorite freedom food – barbecue.

Barbecue is now widely recognized as a staple of the American culinary canon – so much so that at least three national holidays (Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day) are associated with it. Barbecue is laced with the aspiration of freedom, but it was seasoned and flavored by the people who could not enjoy any freedom on Independence Day for almost a century.


Watch the video: Best Dishes on MasterChef Part 1 (January 2022).