University of North Carolina Press, 2008
“History Highlights,” an online offering of the North Carolina Museum of History, posts two events for the year 1924. One is the founding of Duke University in Durham. The other is the opening of Bob Melton’s Barbecue in Rocky Mount.
“It’s not clear why Duke gets equal billing,” write John Shelton Reed, Dale Volberg Reed, and William McKinney in their book Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue: The Definitive Guide to the People, Recipes, and Lore. The Reeds, both native Tennesseans, and McKinney, a South Carolinian now living in northern Virginia, have crafted a book that ranges from the roasted meats of Homer’s Iliad to yellow page ads in the restaurant sections of North Carolina telephone directories, all in an ambitious attempt to tell the story of the Tar Heel State’s passion for pit-cooked pork.