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An appliance for cooking meat over wood coals or charcoal which allows the temperature to be maintained in the 190-225*F range.
Barbecue, Origin of
Many years of research has convinced me that barbecue probably began in North Carolina. An anonymous tract published in London in 1666, entitled "A Brief Description of the Province of Carolina" stated "hogs find so much mast and other food in the woods that they want no other care than a swineherd to keep them from running wild." William Byrd kept a daily journal during his survey of the boundary of North Carolina and Virginia, 1728-29, and published it as "History of the Dividing Line." In it he observed regarding the inhabitants of the region, "The only business here is raising of hogs, which is managed with the least of trouble and affords the diet they are most fond of. The truth of it is, the inhabitants of North Carolina devour so much of the swine's flesh that it fills them full of gross humors." He further noted, "For want, too, of a constant supply of salt, they are commonly obliged to eat it fresh and that begets the highest taint of scurvy.."
The conditions, therefore, were (1) abundant hogs requiring no upkeep, (2) the necessity for cooking the whole hog, lest it spoil from insufficient salt for curing. (3) The threat of scurvy which is the result of lack of vitamin C.
Citrus fruits, which were the main source of natural vitamin C, were as scarce as salt in the pioneer wilderness. Peppers are several times richer in vitamin C than citrus, and, more importantly, available. Vinegar, rich in acetic acid - a natural bactericide , was the cheap and readily available. (A Vermont doctor has written a book and made a career preaching the health benefits of apple cider vinegar.)
And, the long, slow cooking process suited the North Carolinians life style as described by Byrd.
Vinegar, water, salt and peppers still constitute the basic barbecue basting sauce in North Carolina. South Carolinian's added mustard. Georgian's and Virginian's added catsup. As it moved westward, all manner of ingredients were added.
Barbecue, Origin of the Word
H.L Mencken in The American Language, 1919, said that the word, barbecue, was in common usage in Virginia and the Carolinas by the 1660. He attributes the source as a Taino word "boucan" which meant a rack of green wood. Taino were Arawakan Indians who inhabited Puerto Rico, Hispanola and the eastern tip of Cuba and were considered to have become extinct by about 1610. The French used that word as the root of buccaneer - a pirate. Authoritative Spanish dictionaries show the word "barbacoa" to be of American origin. And give its meanings as "1. Barbecue, meat roasted in a pit in the earth. 2. A framework suspended from forked sticks."
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Smoky's 5th basic position for really great barbecue'n.
'According to Smoky' is © by C. Clark Hale
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