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
Today's installment comes courtesy of Adrian Miller, a culinary historian, certified barbecue judge and author of an upcoming book about soul food. Follow him on Twitter at @soulfoodscholar.
The coming and passing of National Barbecue Month (commonly called "May" by others) tends to leave a bad taste in my mouth. It's the month when a lot of media outlets (magazines, newspapers, and television) remind us that barbecue season has officially begun. They mark the occasion by profiling notable pitmasters, sharing recipes and tips, and, as a bonus, providing a roundup of the best barbecue joints in your area or in the entire country.
What's regularly missing in these features are shout-outs to African Americans. Such omissions are troubling given the overwhelming contribution that African Americans have made, and continue to make, to the American barbecue tradition. Like good barbecue, my annoyance over this subject has been burning like a slow fire, and it hit a flashpoint last year.
The Food Network aired Best in Smoke - a barbecue competition show that featured six contestants, six assistants, one host, three judges...and no black people. Think I'm hypersensitive? Then imagine watching a country music special that only featured interviews with Charley Pride and Darius Rucker. Wouldn't you think there was something wrong with that picture?
In contrast to mass media outlets like the Food Network, the SFA's oral history and documentary film initiatives have paid homage to many African-American pitmasters. Check out CUT/CHOP/COOK, a film by Joe York about Rodney Scott of Hemingway, South Carolina. And explore the oral history interviews on the Southern BBQ Trail. Many of them feature African American subjects, from Helen Turner of Tennessee to Gerri and Stephen Grady of North Carolina (and over a dozen more).
Delve into more barbecue goodness from the Southern Foodways Alliance blog
Previously - South Carolina hash and rice
I haven't heard any Spanish-Americans complaining about not being given public credit for having invented barbecue in the first place. Food should always be about gathering together to share and enjoy.
The Spanish invented cooking meat over a fire? Who knew.
BBQ isnt simply cooking meat over a fire, its cooking meat (generally cheap cuts) over low heat to melt the fat off. Thats the distinction between BBQ and grilling.
People were probably BBQing long before writen languages. The romans and egyptians could make ice overnight without electricity
Most etymologists believe that barbecue derives from the word barabicu found in the language of the Taíno people of the Caribbean and the Timucua of Florida, and entered European languages in the form barbacoa. The word translates as "sacred fire pit." The word describes a grill for cooking meat, consisting of a wooden platform resting on sticks.
From the french, meaning from the beard to the tail.
That is the most ridiculous bunch of cr ap that I have seen written today.
and you know its wrong because????
Well, at the in-laws it's about tater salad, macaroni salad, inedibly charred hot dogs, and burgers so overdone it's like eating a hockey puck. It's a "starch and charcoal" kinda menu. Nothing like real down home 'cue, dear lord forgive them for they really have no idea what they are doing. Amen. Sigh.
Isn't that what BET is for? They will continue to cry me a river.
You're missing the point. BBQing in the US was a trend set off primarily by African Americans at family reunions and after Church service. No doubt Whites contributed as well, but BBQing today especially in the South is dominated by African American pitmasters.
No it isnt. And even if it was, their skin color has about as much to do with it as their big toe.
False. African Americans invented, and perfected BBQ. The only difference between the United states, and places like Canada, Australia, New Zealand is that the US was 1/3 Black at one time and the Black people are why America became great.
Lexe...you may be the most ignorant person I've seen on these boards in awhile? America was 1/3 black? False. African-Americans invented and perfected BBQ? False. Just because they cooked it alot "after church and at family reunions" doesn't mean they invented it, tard. Guess that means they invented fried chicken and watermelon too? And yes, there is no such thing as an African-American, Latin-American, or Irish-American...unless that person was born in that country and became a US citizen later. Most African-Americans couldn't name five countries in Africa. I guess I should start calling myself an Czech-American, and wear their colors, and wear chain around my neck with the outline of the country, despite the fact that I've never been there and can't name a single ancestor from there (like African-Americans with Africa). Get over yourself. Less than 2% of the population owned slaves in 1860. LESS THAN 2%!!! And there were also 4000 blacks who also owned other black slaves. And it was 150 years ago!!! So PLEASE PLEASE stop interjecting your racist garbage and focusing your entire life on being black, because less than 2% percent of the population owned slaves 150 years ago, and bought them from blacks in Africa who sold them. America didn't because great because of African-Americans, it became great despite them.
No its not. Making a t-shirt so everyone knows you went to a family reunion was invented by blacks. The rest wasn't.
Aaaaand the Tea Partiers and assorted whiners come out to play. Life must be brutal for them, having to live in a society that caters to them 98% and still have to suffer the indignity of someone piping up to suggest that perhaps the world is a bit more complex than that.
You are a black racist. There is no such thing as an "African-American". If you live in America legally, you are an "American". Get over this "I was born a poor black child"crap" and get to work being part of society.
I live in Texas and doubt the author can meet my standards for BBQ.
Lived in Texas, lived in Florida, lived in California. Hands down the best BBQ I've ever had was BBQ I didn't cook myself.
So there is no such thing as Irish-American, or Latin American either ? You white racist .
You are pretty racist. And dumb"
Could you whine anymore? And stop with the race card crap.
And where is Stubbs bbq headquarters ?
And who is Stubbs ?
Bbw Earl Campbell used to make some good hot links.
I'm not sure what TV the author was watching. I wasn't keeping track but I saw several Food Network shows that featured BBQ restaurants and/or black chefs.
I come on here to maybe see a few recipes, and found out it's nothing but a racist article.
What's going to be your next article CNN? Don't whitewash the carne asada this Fourth of July?
Agreed. I'm thinking this will be some awe inspiring 'cue talk, instead I get intense bickering about race relations. Thank you for mentioning carne asada, it gets my mind off the bickering.
Even a simple article about food has to carry the CNN agenda. It is pathetic.
I agree with e, why are we still called African Americans? Africans don't often don't see us as being connected with them and like most foreigners don't much like us due to the media and I really don't like them that much, just call me American or black.
http://www.dropthedash.com is still pushing to drop these silly hyphens that only qualify our Americanism.
Pertaining to this article, yes, you are hypersensitive. I am a southern black and enjoyed the Food Network show. I knew it could've – maybe even should've – included more representatives of the art. But, maybe, they just didn't have the time or applicants or whatever to cover it all. Sometimes, these shows are just thrown together on a whim, ya know?
Then pick a darn name for yourselves and stick with it. Half the time I use the term "black" and get sidewise glances, and when I use "African American," I don't make anyone happy either. I will call you anything, really. JUST PICK SOMETHING.
How about " Previous Owned American"?
Don't let the whites mess up your thinking. They have Europe, we have Africa, the land of gold, diamonds, exotic tropics, and glorious unspoiled nature as our ancestral homeland
Then why the hell are you here? If your not living off government entitlements then you have no reason not to go. I mean everything is so superior there, it makes no sense to stay here.
Then why have not the natives used any of that. I mean I have drank from a still working 2000+yo aqueduct still supplying a european city with water but charities need whites to fly to africa to dig wells.
Yes,you do.The land of ongoing religious strife,civil wars,disease,genocide,illiteracy,and absolutely poverty.Yes,the Motherland!
Don't forget decade long civil wars, AIDS destroying the population, corrupt warlord "presidents" that murder entire villages on a whim, people still living with no electricity and running water... the list goes on. If you love Africa so much, move there and see how well received you are by them. Fact is, most Africans dislike American black people more than a lot of racist whites do. They see you as uneducated, fat, family abandoning, greedy and very undeserving of all the hand outs and special treatment you receive. They see you over here, getting all the help in the world and you STILL can't make anything of yourselves.
How about if I just call you Scott? I know, I tend to think outside the box.
Thats a fair assertion. My travels through the deep south have found many small town family restaurants owned and operated by black/african american cooks. Sometimes Im nervous to go in as a single white traveler but hunger overtakes that. Its usually the mother who gives me the warmest welcome, her kids waiting tables, and dad or grandma back in the kitchen tending the smoker or prep. Not saying its just them and no white counterparts, but in fairness at least around 50/50 in racial mix... noteworthy for fair coverage. And the cornbread, collards and fried okra does seem to taste better sorry...
It isn't clear from your comment whether you're *from* the Deep South, but down there, a love of good food is truly one of the great social equalizers, not not just in a racial sense but in economic and cultural ones as well. It's extraordinarily common to find restaurants in heavily black (or white) areas where the clientele is far more demographically diverse than the surrounding area would suggest. I'm white and I've been going to black-owned-and-operated restaurants all my life without thinking anything unusual or discomfiting about it. The people running these places have, without exception, been friendly, welcoming and fun to talk with. It's just how things go down there.
I am a Caucasian whose earliest memories are largely about food, and BBQ in particular. I have yet to eat any white BBQ that came anywhere close to that I've enjoyed at black BBQ restaurants. My research has been done in forty-nine American states (most of which wouldn't know BBQ if it bit them in the butt), and I stand by it.
Well hurry up and make a show about it so they will stop crying about how unfair t.v is.
No your not. White people don't refer to themselves as caucasians. I know. I'm white. I can, however, offer a similiar observation regarding barbecue. I've had plenty. If I had to racially rank the top ten ,the best and 2nd best were made by black folks. The third best was made by koreans. Then four through ten were almost all made by my fellow whites, with eight being a brazilian restaurant . These were all restaurants BTW. No homemade stuff.
I am angered by the underrepresentaion of white people in the NBA, olympic track and field, the prison population, flash mobs, AIDs patients, welfare recipients, unqualified government hires, looters
Like good barbecue, my annoyance over this subject has been burning like a slow fire, and it hit a flashpoint today.
Brilliant comment. This guy is racist.
actually, there are more white welfare recipients and unqualified government job holders than any other group. More in prison, too.
There are more black people PERCENTAGE WISE in prison and on welfare. Of course the number of whites will be higher because they make 75% plus of the population. I hate it when ignorant people make that statement. Do research.
Just to inform the ignorant racists among us, when people are denied equal opportunity to work, and earn a living, the next option is welfare, when that option is not adequate all that is left is crime. The crime is the result of whites preventing Blacks from access to good jobs, education , etc... And don't pretend it isn't true.
Thats right Lexe, whites people keep blacks from having jobs and it makes them turn to crime and welfare. These horrible whites also brainwash blacks into eating BBQ, becoming unhealthy and overweight and having shorter life span than whites. If Obama loses in November, it will be beacause of racists whites too.
Whites cant be unqualified for govt. jobs as they have to get in on merit not affirmative action. Its funny in 90% black Detriot there are often all white jurys as those that write down criminal convictions on the jury duty card dont get picked
Wow. the story was about barbecue and the contribution black folks have made to the art form. everybody's gotta get all bent outta shape about that. amazing. there is this simmering hatred which runs through people these days. they're angry about the economy. they're angry about jobs. they're just pissed off at everything. and the slightest word or phrase comes along to open that wound and BAM!, you get a race war. jesus, people. grow the f**k up.
welcome to todays America Bill. Were most everyone has to hate something and someone or they just dont feel right about themselves. Its no longer United states, its the Divided states. And it shows.
If this article wasn't about race you might have a point.
So sick of blacks and latinos and chinese and all the hyphenate Americans. CNN has become so ridiculous. Maybe they just mirror how ridiculous this country has become. I have European and American Indian background, but I am American above all else. I don't feel guilty about being white, and I don't feel guilty about slavery. I don't care about shouting out to black contributions to anything. I don't give a rip about the latino vote. I also am not one of those whites that rolls over and assumes asian anyone is smarter or better than I am. If people would rather be some hyphenate culture above American, I have no use for you, and I think you should get the hell out because you are hyphenate UN-American.
then go back to Europe. no wait you have a splash of Native in you maybe we need to put you on a reservation cause with an attitude like that you dont deserve to live in our society.
"our society"? blacks can not be social or a part of any "normal" society. Its hard enough for the blacks to quit killing each other over trivial matters. According to the other black racists on this site, africa is the land of gold, diamonds, and everything good, but yet they remain here, I do not understand.
Yes, Africa may be the land of gold, diamonds, and all that. It is also the land of blood thirsty warlords, rampant AIDS, famine and starvation, rape, and brutality. That's what greed over gold and diamonds will do, people get their hands and heads chopped off by child soldiers with machetes over that milk and honey. It's a scary and tragic place.
Thats right, anyone who wants us all to simply be Americans and Human Beings does not beling in the United Racial States of Race-merica.
US blacks on welfare live better than the top 1% of natives of black nations. If they could support a 1stworld enviroment they would do so in their homelands. I have drank from a 2000+yo aqueuct still providing a european city with water yet charities need whites to fly to africa to dig wells.
Dumb title of an article. Just racist. I won't read it. I am here to complain. I am biracial lady and sick of "whitewash" this and blah blah blah that. You can't go and talk crap on other races, and why would you, but you can bag on the white guy. Nice.
Oh right...BBQ Got a boot on da neck do dey?
What a ridiculous article from a pa,t hetic race baiting loser.
Black's, if you buy into this, you will buy anything.
Then again 90% of you voted for Od, umbo sooo nevermind.
Ya know why you never see Hispanics Having a BBQ? The beans keep falling through the grill.
"What's regularly missing in these features are shout-outs to African Americans."
Look, if any media outlet put up a picture of a black person holding up some barbecued spare ribs, the whole place would explode with accusations of promoting a negative racial stereotype. So the media stopped doing it. Now you're complaining because the media isn't doing it. There is just no way to please *anyone* anymore, is there?
i sorta agree. us blacks are hypersensitive sometimes. like i didnt see nothing wrong with the Mary J Blige chicken commercial for KFC. SENSITIVE.
Get over it. Blacks do not need to be in every part of the entertainment sector. Considering Blacks account for 13% of the population why are they part of over 50% of the entertainment industry.
if you think black account for 50% of entertainment, then your not that bright.
a little sidetrack but here's a question. why is the term 'african american' still used? if someone is born in america they're american right?
The best 'Q I ever ate was from the Front Porch in Panama City, FL. An African American retired Airman & his Wife made the best ribs I've ever eaten. And let's be real here folks, BBQ like the Blues & Jazz owes a huge debt and much gratitude to African Americans. And that's all that's all this white boy has to say about that!
I live there now, where was that so I can get some?
Glenn's just outside Panama City had somem absolutely awesome BBQ
I live in Panama City, have had Glenn's, and rate it fair to middlin. have had BBQ from kcMO, TX, GA, and the Carolinas. The best by far IMO, was a small BBQ truck in W. Palm Bchon Southern blvd
I forgot to mention Memphis
But the fact that Glenn was black did absolutely NOTHING to make his BBQ taste better!
CNN has found a great way to get people to come to their website. Create silly articles that incite peoples worst attributes.
If a show about barbecue without a black person is insensitive than what do you call a channel made specifically for blacks (BET)?
... its called making up for the 5 major networks not having hardly any black shows.
The population of the United States consists of 12.6% Black. Yet blacks should have more shows catering to the black population than the whites? What is the magic number of black shows that needs to be aired before people stop crying about equal opportunity? I know...until the majority of shows, job positions, and wealth are held by blacks, the crying about equal opportunity will never end. The sense of black entitlement held because of slavery is the only argument some blacks bring to the table. Did you know that slavery existed throughout the history of man? White on white even? OMG! Did you know that black on black slavery has existed throughout the 20th century in Africa?
yo are so right. i am sick of hearing about equal opportunity. we should act the way your ancestors did and just take yours. thats right take your money, land stuff, enlsave you keep you oppressed, make laws that prevent your descendents from learning for generations, feed you bad food, and instill a breeding program so we only get the hot looking women from you when we want them after all you have to be good for something since you are too lazy to work (history shows american whites are lazy just ask the business people who keep shipping jobs overseas). yup thats what we should do. no point in getting along or even trying to show that color means absolutely nothing when it comes to talent. we are smarter, stronger and better than you in every way when given the exact same environment to grow and excel. statistics show that. but that is the big secret so shhh....take your penis envy and go away.
THey are only 13% of the population but they are overrepresented in rape/murder and every other crime but DUI.
Only black people barbecue? Why are some people offended when a black person is not on every show? Silly article meant to stir the pot. Good Job CNN. With 24 hour news we now have to make up articles to make people fight against each other.
This article and the comments it's given birth to has left me with only one thing to say...
Let's get real here... barbecue isn't just putting chicken and ribs on the grill. It's actually about the placement and displacement of heat. The "race card" gets played all the time and across any topic that Blacks want to make fools of themselves and claim their territory. If you ask a question or challenge a fact, it's a racist comment, according to them. We've created a monster over fifty years ago, folks and it will only get worse. The last time the Black community was working and truly contributing to society in some form was during the existence of slavery – it's a hard, cold fact.
I think that although harsh, Solo makes a real point that is based in truth and we know it (we may not want to say it out loud, but today, there is a lot of anger towards how things played out historically.)
The only people angry are southerners, and they don't count because they got pwn'd in the Civil War.
That has to be the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Considering there are more whites on welfare, I think we contributed a lot. Rock and Roll, Blues, Jazz, the cotton gin, Peanut butter, civil rights, we fought in WWI and WWII and countless of campaigns.
I hate to say it, but I don't think that the comment from Solo is racist – it's a bit harsh but still true in some form – I've looked up the rates on welfare dependency and Blacks have by far the largest percentage of initial filing and then remaining on the social program. It's an entitlement mentality that costs millions every year. Plus, the birth rate for Blacks out of wedlock and in prisons is far more than any other race combined.
I hate to burst your bubble of misinformation but...... George Washington Carver didn't invent Peanut Butter, at all. It was invented by the Aztecs in about the 15th century and Eli Whitney invented the Cotton Gin in 1794.
...and white people didnt discover America. so whats your point?
@Reese: Ok, you've raised a few good pojnts on this particular diatribe. However, just to be fair, it was in fact Caucasians that walked across the Bering Straight. So yes, "white" people DID discover America.
Get a life
Maybe the shows are for a white demographic? Maybe black people don't like to watch people BBQ on TV? Maybe Food Network auditioned a bunch of people and picked the ones they wanted on their show without regard to race and these are the picks? Maybe this is just a very poor attempt at inflammatory journalism (just typing the word "journalism" while in a CNN thread made me throw up in my mouth a little). Maybe you picked just ONE show from like, two hundred and are trying to make something racist out of nothing. Sorry, no matter what you were trying, you came out with nothing. Nothing at all.
Solo, some of what you say is true until you get pretty racist, and quite uninformed about Black contribution to society, but this is not surprising most white people are truly racist, some don't even know it..
Most whites are no less "racist" than most blacks, you only see the racism you want to see, and thats the problem with our country's race problem and why we will never get over it, until we start being fair that is. If Solo is racist, so is the author of this article, except one has a louder voice.
I'm actually a very accepting person – what I don't tolerate is abuse of my hard-earned tax dollars and those who cheat the system. I can't change facts and call it as it is. If those in the Black community object or don't care for the stats, please, by all means – work for change. (Or, just work.)
I'm a graduate history student who has read Solo's posts – pretty right on, actually in facts.
Oh, guess what? After the law mandated that Blacks had to paid for their labor, guess who could not get a job, last hired first fired, etc...? We didn't come over here on vacation, clown. Think.
Adrian Miller should be fired for writing a dumb article like this. As a black man living in America, it saddens me to read an article like this.
Let me get this straight…A white women states her opinion about barbeque and now black folks are playing the race card. Also, the article never mentions that black people “invented” barbeque. Some of you need to take a good reading comprehension course. Your school system failed in educating you.
Did they invent fried chicken and watermelon too? Oh wait, that's racist. But honestly, I'm tired of my fried chicken being blackwashed. What a trolling article.
Playing the race card when talking about barbeque "leaves a bad taste in my mouth".
What he said!
Basketball was invented by a white man, but all the greatest players are black and have been for many, many decades. Was it "blackwashed"?
Culture crosses boundaries, Korean people may start BBQing next. Live with it.
Koreans have been BBQing for ages. Its called BULGOGI. Check it out.
So now they claim they invented BBQ? Sorry, it was not the blacks who invented BBQing. It was the native Americans who invented BBQing as we know it in the US.
I watch a lot of food shows, and I've noticed that most of them accurately reflect our demographics. It was food shows that woke me up to "asado" (Southern Southern barbecue, so to speak). Also, this writer needs to remember that there are several adult white people in the U.S. for every adult black person. One show on the Food Network doesn't establish a case for racist bias on all "mass media" food shows.
So true. In spite of all the attention black and Hispanic people get in media, the country is still roughly 70% white. Therefore white people are going to be represented much more in most things. It's just basic math. Stop crying racism over every little thing.
Nobody ever gave blacks credit for rock and how Elvis basically copied off black artists but got the fame.
Your chitlin's are burnin'.
I think they make a medicated cream that helps clear that up.
Actually I see and read quite often where black people are credited for this. You need to read more.
Kind of like how Blacks are credited for Jazz and not the Jews, right?
Wrong. I bet you get all of your historical "knowledge" from comic books.
Bill... you obviously know nothing at all about music. By the way, how is your cousin David doing?
That's nonsense. Everyone with a greater than room temp IQ acknowledges the Black roots of Rock 'n' Roll.
There is a good point in this story whether you want to admit it or not. That FN show was the six best in the country; ACCORDING TO WHO though???
Most of them were never heard of except for Dave, thanks to Famous Dave's. The rest were handpicked by some stuffy research team, who didn't bother to do their homework, I bet. Not ONE black pitmaster??? That's racist!
I think they choose people who won big BBQ competitions, they weren't just randomly drawn out of a hat.
IT'S NOT A MATTER OF RACE for cryin' out loud. It's BARBEQUE!! Geeze, anyway.
Jenn, great point and comment! I watch the barbecue contest on FN all the time and never see my people featured. I just knew that we had to have some excellent barbecuers out there! This is a fantastic article. Oh yes to those who say this isn't about race, IT REALLY IS!!
Famous Dave's is the McDonalds of BBQ...
Agreed, well said. Not bad, just commercialized, consistent but lacking character.
She is not doing BBQ. Down south, this is how we cook / steam oysters. Get a big piece of thick sheet metal (not galvenized), get it really hot. Then spread out oysters in the shell and cover them with a piece of heavy burlap that has been soaked in water. In about 10 minuted, the oysters start to pop open from the steam. Yummy.
We call that a "clam bake" up North (the name is misleading – it's supposed to be all kinds of shellfish and crustaceans). And you're right – it's marvelous.
This article title is sort of offensive... Imagine the hulaballu (sp?) that would erupt if a CNN reporter were to write an article entitled 'Don't Blackwash the Jello Fruit Salad'
Ha, that's funny.
"Ha, that's funny." I think not!! It's educational and very true. You all have a great day.
I think of barbecue as a Southern thing, not as a racial thing. As someone pointed out, the primary styles in barbecue are Carolina, Texas, Missouri, and Tennessee. Those are states. Not black, white, hispanic, etc. I'm not sure how it's a black thing when a common way whites celebrated in the 1800s South was with barbecues. I actually HAVE seen blacks on Food Network barbecue shows, including a Throwdown with Bobby Flay episode and several Challenges. Further, Down Home with the Neelys (a black couple) often features barbecue and other soul food creations as does Big Daddy's House (a black male who was on The Next Food Network Star). Huh. I think I just realized I watch far too much tv lol.
Seriously, 2 questions: re: cooking bbq in the South since the 1800's...
1: WHO do you think cooked those original barbeque meals? What color do you suppose their skin was?
and 2: Where do you think the whites (mostly from England, a land and a culture not really known for knowing how to slow cook meats over open flame the way bbq is usually done) learned to cook bbq?
There may not have been any contestants of color who made the contest cut, but it DOES seem quite odd that there were NO people of color on the show. Might need some attention there, Food Network.
answer 1) BLACK!
answer 2) mamma
Mike in NJ thinks that every soul who lived in the south during the 1800s was a slave owner. LOL. Stop with the race card already, Mikey boy. It's barbeque, not a civil rights issue.
No sir, I do not. Consider and answer my questions. Don't just say the first nonsense that comes into your head.
Why is it that everytime a so-called African American is posted on any site, even something that is'nt bad. You all still have something to say. Would it kill you people just to read and click on to something else? Why do you comment so much on African American's? Why so much hatred? Especially when AA's and whites have absolutely nothing in common, no more than a Chinese and a French man.
Umm.. she started it.
Another point is that most of time these shows don't know the difference between grilled and BarBQ'd.... lol.
About half the time they call any steak on a propane grill barbque. It Ain't.
This should be a non-issue. I highly doubt FN casting directors set out to make an all-white BBQ show. These were the six best applicants that would make for the most interesting TV, bottom line. I agree that the strong black history associated with BBQ is important, but I've seen at least two documentaries on FN before that explicitly dealt with that subject. Aren't we at a point where the color of your skin shouldn't matter, especially when it comes to something as trivial as food preparation? I've had plenty of amazing BBQ prepared by someone who is black, but the best BBQ I've ever had, hands down, is made by a white woman in Chattanooga, TN. I will drive (and have driven!) 6 hours for that BBQ.
Native Americans were smoking meats way before the Europeans came to the Americas, and subsequently brought the Africans over...
Is it possible that the Africans.Were smoking meats in Africa too..?
Cooking was the "Slaves" job.
The parts you BBQ were always scraps.
The masters refuse.
Maybe no one of African American descent applied for the show.
Seriously? It's barbecue. There are 4 very distinct kinds of barbecue from their respective regions: Texas, Carolinas, Tennessee, and Kansas City. You can't pit them against each other because it's like comparing pb & j to pb & honey. Good, but everyone has their own preference.
Everybody eats, everybody poops, and everybody's human. That's our race. Now I'm going to go fire up my grill.
And silly me thought that "whitewashing" might refer to the omission of how unhealthy food prepared on a BBQ is. I wouldn't claim it because it's an activity that has had its day and should be avoided now that we have safer and less polluting ways to prepare food.
That is easily the dumbest most ignorant comment of the week here at CNN.
Congrats, that is no easy feat.
Barbeque? STFU, it was invented by Neanderthals about 100,000BC! Pass me a mammoth rib!
You obviously have no idea.
and you obviously have no sense of humor. It's food, not astrophysics.
Seriously? Even food has now become racially sensitive. Grow the F up people, it's food. I don't care what race you are, if the food tastes good, then I am happy. End of story. People need to stop being so over sensitive and get over it.
The only reason it might be a black thing is that blacks tend to be much more patient than whites. (for good reason) And the thing that makes good BBQ is long and slow cooking. You can't hurry it like a lot of people try. Besides, I think blacks really own BBQ. Certainly not white Texans!
You really shouldn't "think" without the proper equipment, you know. It makes you look more foolish than you actually are.
these race bating articles do nothing more then get everyone up in arms with each other, The journalists that put this smut out need to find something else to get views.
African Americans invented, and perfected BBQ, now the whites are trying to co-opt it, as usual.
LOL! as usual. give it 50 years and they'll say eminem invented rap and hip hop
I love that! Thanks Chris for keeping it funny and thoughtful!
Eminem? Please... everyone knows it was the Beastie Boys.
Kidding aside, I actually knew someone who thought hip hop was invented by Blondie because they were early fans of NYC rap battles and had one of the first "rap' songs played on mainstream radio.
CW McCall invented rap when he did "Convoy" in 1972.
Seriously?... African-Americans invented barbecue?! I suppose they invented fire, too. Why don't we see any media about white folks associated with "soul food"? After all, it's actually southern home cooking. I grew up on it. OBTW, my heritage is Scotch-German, but my family has been American since the early 1700's.
as a white person im not tring to co-opt anything stop assuming that of all white people please.. we all know black people dont like being stereotyped so i would ask you dont do it to us
Yeah, right. They invented Ford, apple pie, fried chicken, and watermelon too.
yes. we want bbq too.
Excuse me but BULLSH*T!!! I'm on the circuit and have competed with black competitors and there was a black contestant on "Best In Smoke" just the other day. And what about the Food Network show "Down Home With The Neely's"?
Maybe BBQ is being "whitewashed" and if so they should show more of the cross section but most of the places I've competed the majority of competitors are white.
You can't show what ain't there folks...
Very good point. Like so much in American culture, the African-American aspect and contribution tends to be co-opted by whites, whether it\'s music, cooking or a myriad of other cultural influences.
BBQ is a pretty good example of this dynamic, with the Bobby Flays of the country setting themselves up as the arbiters of what is good and bad in \'cue. To an extent, it\'s understandable that FN and other networks want to cater to their demographic, but c\'mon! Even the more well known African-American outfits get sidelined for whatever reason. Stubb\'s, anyone? Now, granted, Stubb\'s has made its way and dominates its market, but what of the \"mom & pop\" outfits throughout the South and elsewhere? They should be judged on their \'cue, of course, but there\'s something deeper that needs to be addressed, culturally. The culinary context of culture is paramount, and should always be taken into consideration, especially in matters of taste.
umm as a white person i dont co-opt anything so please stop assuming all whites do that i dont sit there and make stereotypes of black people so please dont do the same to me
I can't think of a single person on the planet who knows less about barbecue than Bobby Flay. Liquid smoke and propane?
Agreed, Liquid smoke in reference to true 'cue is counter-intuitive, and the taste of it is downright disgusting. I'd rather eat a piece of meat cooked on one of those counter top "grills." Bland but not vomit inducing like fake BBQ flavor. Ew.
Why is this woman setting cardboard on fire?
Only you can SEE the cardboard Steve.
Looks like sheet metal to me...
Steve, do the world a favor and stay the hell out of the kitchen!
If your a woman, the only place for you is in the kitchen. Get your bare feet back there.
Looks to me like a half inch thick, if not thicker sheet of metal. What that has to do with BBQ I'm not entirely sure.
You stick the pig right on the fire and the metal keeps the smoke close to the meat.
Nice – ask a question and get bombarded. Sorry, don't cook on steel plates often while using a shovel.
Then how do YOU make mashed potatoes?
@Steven – funniest thing typed on here and at least it wasn't mean spirited!!! Thanks for the lol.
The author makes a good point. You see a bunch of hicks at BBQ competitions many times. However, there are many more important issues one could be annoyed with. Bad for your health. Food should transcend race. Let's not dwell on it.
I totally agree with this author. I've also noticed the absence of African Americans in BBQ events and TV shows and thought it was quite odd considering their obvious historical contribution to this southern American cuisine.
It would seem that the TV BBQ programs are a derivative of the BBQ competition scene since the TV producers just show what they can readily find and film. The lack of black competitors in the BBQ competitions certainly doesn't seem to be any sort of discrimination, but rather a lack of time/money/interest to compete on the part of black pitmasters.
Traveling to and entering the BBQ competitions is fairly expensive and as another recent article indicated, black wealth on average is notably lower than white wealth, and I suspect the black folks who are well off also aren't particularly avid pitmasters.
I wish there was a way to keep this comment at the top for everyone to read.
This is the real reason for the author's quite legitimate observation. And as you note, it is only racism if the producers consciously excluded qualified minorities. It is self-selection bias if the minorities choose real jobs over competitions.
And the shows that go visit the restaurants show plenty of minority owned joints - because you can make a living by owning a good BBQ joint.
The name that you've used to make your comment is very appropriate. It sounds like you're full of BS!
No kidding. The black pitmasters are out there making money, not wasting their time on some TV show. As far as the person behind the ridiculous article, well CNN always seems to be out there trying to foment racial conflict these days. What a bunch of losers.
This was a stupid response. Shows your racism.
Yeah, tell it to Fred Sanford.
I disagree. I watch a lot (too many) of these shows, and while most of the contestants in the competition type shows are not black, the shows I've seen either on BBQ history or on the best BBQ joints in the country have both blacks and whites.
It looks from the posters here that compete in BBQ events that the contestants ARE mostly white. Should the producers have biased the show to have more black contestants as a retro-"shout out" to their race's invention of/contribution to the style? Wouldn't that have given a misleading picture of the racial cross-section of these present day competitions?
It may have been nice to have a short segment showing the history of US BBQ from its beginnings to present-day, but it shouldn't be required.
As McHammerpants said above, I was taught that food transcends race, and for that matter ALL cultural creations that are great just based on their own merits, not the people that invented it.
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