Editor's note: All summer long, the Southern Foodways Alliance - a member-supported organization of more than 800 chefs, academics, writers and eaters devoted to the documentation, study, and celebration the diverse food cultures of the changing American South - will be delving deep in the history, tradition, heroes and plain old deliciousness of barbecue across the United States. As a loud, proud SFA member, I'm pleased to say that Eatocracy will be partnering with them to share some of their stories. Dig in. - Kat Kinsman, Managing Editor
A few days ago, I got an email from an SFA staffer in which she admitted that, having grown up eating Brunswick stew in North Carolina, she knew almost nothing about South Carolina hash and rice. This, clearly, is a deficiency that requires addressing, and suddenly I had the topic for my first guest post.
Hash is one of those things that, like yellow mustard–based sauce, puzzles outsiders when they first sample South Carolina barbecue. A cross between a meat stew and a gravy, it's the Palmetto State's classic side dish, and it's almost always served over a bed of white rice.
Hash originated prior to the Civil War in the counties on either side of the Savannah River in South Carolina and Georgia. Estrella Jones, who was born into slavery on Powers Pond Place near Augusta, GA, recalled that when she was a child, the men would sometimes steal hogs from other plantations and "cook hash and rice and serve barbecue."
At the opening of the Civil War, a feast was held to honor the Edgefield (County, SC) Riflemen as they prepared to leave for battle. The menu included "barbecued meats and hash."
By the 1880s, hash was being served as far north as Newberry, SC, and as far south as Macon in central Georgia. Today, hash has all but disappeared in Georgia, which has become Brunswick stew territory. It continues to reign supreme as South Carolina's barbecue accompaniment of choice.
For a closer look at the hash tradition in South Carolina, check out Stan Woodward's 2008 documentary Carolina Hash.
Today's installment comes courtesy of Robert Moss, a food writer and restaurant critic for the Charleston City Paper and author of "Barbecue: the History of an American Institution". Follow him on Twitter at @mossr.
Delve into more barbecue goodness from the Southern Foodways Alliance blog
Previously - Take a moment to stare at some barbecue
Next entry »5@5 - Cold-brew coffee for hot summer days
« Previous entrySoda ban bubbles up in Mass., adds free refills to proposal