Craft or Curse?

Craft or Curse?

How Barbecue Became Cool

Scott's Bar-B-Que, Hemingway, South Carolina, June 20–21, 2012. Photo from Southern Foodways Alliance, by Denny Culbert.

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Craft or Curse?

How Barbecue Became Cool

by Adrian Miller
Southern Cultures, Vol. 28, No. 1: Crafted

“What do we mean by ‘craft,’ and should it apply to making barbecue?”

I recently visited Dublin, Ireland, and there were several restaurants serving Central Texas–style barbecue. Whether or not they were doing it well is another matter, but the point is that people around the world can’t seem to get enough of the cuisine. Barbecue is an ancient and now global method of food preparation whose history has been deeply shaped by place, people, and economies of labor—particularly in the American South. And it’s this style of southern barbecue that is particularly hot right now. American barbecue competitions and restaurants are proliferating in the United States and worldwide. Its cooks and writers are famous. But what’s making barbecue so trendy?

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