The Slaw and the Slow Cooked
Culture and Barbecue in the Mid-South
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: Vanderbilt University Press
Table of Contents
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Foreword: From Coa to Barbacoa to Barbecue
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Start with a coa, a sharpened, skinned stick that may be used for digging and planting seeds or for skewering and smoking mammalian meats, fish, or fowl. Coa may indeed be one of the oldest and most wide- spread words in the Americas—including the Caribbean. ...
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1. Smoked Meat and the Anthropology of Food: An Introduction
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It seems only fitting that anthropology would have an interest in the slow cooking of meat on a spit over an open pit of coals, as it is one of the most ancient ways of food preparation known to human beings. Yet it is also a contemporary foodway in many parts of the world, so its persistence spans nearly the whole trajectory...
I. Traditional and Contemporary Landscapes of Mid-South Barbecue
2. A History of Barbecue in the Mid-South Region
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From Memphis-style dry ribs to pork sandwiches topped with coleslaw and even such novelties as tamales and barbecue spaghetti, the Mid-South region today has a vibrant and distinctive barbecue tradition. This tradition has its roots in the earliest days of settlement...
3. Patronage and the Pits: A Portrait, in Black and White, of Jones Bar-B-Q Diner in Marianna, Arkansas
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A white man clutching a brown paper bag stands in the dirt-and-gravel lot that fronts Jones Bar-B-Q Diner in the Arkansas Delta town of Marianna. Grease splotches the bag, a stain that envelops the bottom and flares up the sides. The man appears to be sixty, maybe seventy. His face is wide and jowly. ...
4. Piney Woods Traditions at the Crossroads: Barbecue and Regional Identity in South Arkansas and North Louisiana
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Just off lonely Highway 82 on the eastern outskirts of El Dorado, Arkansas, I park my pickup in the gravel lot in front of a non-descript roadside one-stop I remember well from my childhood. Karl Brummett, the store owner, greets me at the door with a ready smile and a sturdy apron. ...
5. Priests, Pork Shoulders, and Chicken Halves: Barbecue for a Cause at St. Patrick's Irish Picnic
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It is the end of July in small-town Tennessee. The midmorning sun rests high in the sky, and the sweltering humidity only rises with the sun’s trajectory. On days like today, the locals say, it’s a hundred degrees in the shade, and you’re beginning to think this is not an exaggeration. ...
6. Identity, Authenticity, Persistence, and Loss in the West Tennessee Whole-Hog Barbecue Tradition
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Although the Southern iconoclast W. J. Cash seemingly could not appreciate barbecue, he did honestly understand its foundational importance to the region. He blamed pork consumption for the degeneration of the South. “Increasingly,” the amateur, but well-admired, sociologist wrote of the Southern frontiersman...
II. Old/New Barbecue Moving Forward
7. The Changing Landscape of Mid-South Barbecue
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On a Friday in June near my parents’ home in West Tennessee, my brother lit the grill to prepare for his wedding rehearsal dinner. He had borrowed the grill from a friend, and it was spectacular: a trailer-mounted behemoth with multiple hanging racks, all attached to an electric motor drive designed to move the barbecue slowly and continually...
8. Swine by Design: Inside a Competition Barbecue Team
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For most, exposure to barbecue is limited to ordering a plate from the customer side of the counter or barbecuing some ribs on a few sweltering summer Saturdays per year. Most leave the rubbing, sweating, smoking, fire tending, and mopping to the pros. ...
9. Barbecue as Slow Food
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The Slow Food Movement began in Italy in 1986 and reached new heights with the Slow Food Nation event in San Francisco in 2008—where celebrities, chefs, and members from all over the United States and around the world came together to celebrate the principles and progress of the movement. ...
10. Southern Barbecue Sauce and Heirloom Tomatoes
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Barbecue sauce is a noteworthy and controversial topic to Southern minds. As he has with so many other topics related to Southern barbecue, John Shelton Reed (with help from his wife, Dale Volberg Reed) has made a thorough investigation into the historical origins of barbecue sauce across the region. ...
11. Mid-South Barbecue in the Digital Age and Sustainable Future Directions
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This final chapter echoes themes from earlier in the book—stories of locality, identity, and tradition embodied in the consumption of smoked pork barbecue. Here we argue that barbecue is not just a local experience. As a food and a practice, barbecue is inherently social. ...
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Page Count: 232
Publication Year: 2011