There’s a Word for It — The Origins of “Barbecue”

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There’s a Word for It — The Origins of “Barbecue”

by John Shelton Reed
Southern Cultures, Vol. 13, No. 4: Global South (2007)

"For all that southerners have made barbecue our own, the fact remains that this symbol of the South, like kudzu, is an import."

What could be more southern than barbecue? Even when entrepreneurs have taken the dish to other parts of the world, the names of their establishments pay tribute to the origins of their product, either explicitly (Memphis Championship Barbecue in Las Vegas, Memphis Minnie’s in San Francisco, the Carolina Country Kitchen in Brooklyn, the Arkansas Café in London) or at least by implication (Jake and Earl’s in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Daisy May’s in Manhattan, Dixie’s in Bellevue, Washington). Rivaled only by grits as the national dish of the South, barbecue would appear to be as southern, as indigenous, as it comes.