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Who Has the Right to Make Barbecue

by  CN Team on July 07, 2017
Who Has the Right to Make Barbecue

We’re solidly in the middle of summer, which means it’s barbecue season. But let’s be very clear about something: We aren’t talking about throwing burgers and veggies on a grill for a cookout. We’re talking about the Southern tradition of slow-cooking meat over a dirt pit and the rich culinary history that is about more than just food. Barbecue originated as plantation-feast food — a dish cultivated by enslaved Africans who were often given pigs at the end of harvest season. After slavery, as black Americans began to migrate away from the South, barbecue traveled with them and began to evolve regionally.

We both live in Brooklyn, where barbecue is trending and gentrifying as quickly as our neighborhoods, and we’re not exactly sure how to feel about it. To talk through our feelings, we invited two Southern food experts on the show: John Thomas Edge Jr., the author of “The Potlikker Papers,” an exploration of how the food of working-class Southerners became American staples, and Nicole Taylor, a chef and the author of “The Up South Cookbook.” They help us trace the history of barbecue back to West Africa and remember the central role that African-Americans played (and continue to play) in establishing one of our country’s most signature styles of cooking.

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