Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"Barbecue" Rymes with "Argue"

Though mostly good natured arguing. Because at the heart of the matter, we are talking about sharing food with family, community, and culture,. Sauce and style have become more of a team effort in the internet age. Wear your Eastern Carolina jersey proudly, y'all, I'll be over here onboard the Southern Soul train reppin' Island City barbecue 'till I die.

Where I grew up in Georgia, we had a lot of barbecue at a lot of different places. Some was pork, some was beef, some was chicken or sausage or venison cooked over the same coals. Because if you've already got the coals working, what's the harm in more meat over the fire?

There was usually a selection of sauces: vinegar based, tomato based, mustard based. There were even flavors: hot, sweet, and regular. And you could order it chopped or pulled.

Now that I live in New Orleans, there is cochon-de-lait. Which is either very similar or entirely different from "barbecue" depending on who you are talking to. And, of course, barbecue shrimp - which is its own culinary category altogether.

For some folks, "barbecue" is a noun: the pork and/or beef that is cooked for a long time at "low" heat over a pit of coals. Chicken or sausage or venison didn't count as "barbecue," but were just the sauce covered side-items to the "barbecue."

For others "barbecue" is the verb of cooking any or all meats at "low" heat over a pit of coals. As someone who grew up in Coastal Georgia, this is the closest to my cultural upbringing.

Though there is one line I draw with my inclusiveness: grillin' is not barbecue.

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