Friday, November 15, 2013

Barbecue "Innovations"

Daniel Vaughn has a nice post over at TMBBQ offering a Concise History of American BBQ Innovations. I might quibble with a few of them. For instance, while cattle may have made it to the American mainland a few years before pigs, it would be ludicrous to claim that beef as a "BBQ innovation" antedated pork, considering that in almost all barbecue accounts before the 1770s pig is the animal almost universally mentioned.

But, the rest are pretty good. Two that didn't make the list are backyard "barbecues" (what we in the South call cooking or grilling) and barbecue restaurants. The Luddite resistance to the first is quite common, but almost no one these days objects to barbecue restaurants.

Not so back in the mid-20th centuries, when barbecue stands and restaurants ruled the American highway. Check out the clip below from Rufus Jarman's "Dixie's Most Disputed Dish", which appeared in the July 3, 1954 issue of the Saturday Evening Post.

Being a Luddite about barbecue traditions, it seems, is itself an enduring barbecue tradition. And, yet, barbecue has always continued to evolve right along anyway.


nmisscommenter said...

Obviously, change/innovations are not inherently good or bad. Southern Pride: Bad. Enclosed pit: Good.

Concur about back yard pits from the 30s-50s and (even more so) the advent of barbecue restaurants (and the dubiousness about cattle as an "innovation." Hey, what about cooking with fire?). I was interested that he put the igrill in there, because I can't tell whether I should get one of those or not.

What about bottled bbq sauce? The bbq sandwich (which I think had to come after commercially available buns?)?

Robert said...

BBQ sauce is definitely a controversial innovation for the list.

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