Barbecue Digest: How a barbecued ox ended up in the Cape Fear River
September 4th, 2012
11:00 AM ET
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Editor's note: All summer long, the Southern Foodways Alliance will be delving deep in the history, tradition, heroes and plain old deliciousness of barbecue across the United States. Dig in.

It’s political convention season, and the so-called Tea Party has been stirring up passions on both sides of the political fence. The group’s name, of course, is taken from the occasion in 1773 when a bunch of irate Bostonians donned Mohawk warrior garb and dumped three shiploads of tea into their harbor to protest British taxation.

A similar but less remembered event took place seven years earlier in North Carolina. At the time, tensions were high over the recently enacted Stamp Act, which levied taxes on legal documents, newspapers, and magazines. Carolinians weren’t particularly receptive to the measure, and in 1766, the militia companies from several counties expressed their discontent by marching to the town of Brunswick and refusing to let a cargo of stamped paper be brought ashore.

Alarmed by the unrest, Governor William Tryon chose a conciliatory path. At the next militia muster in New Hanover, he prepared a feast for the troops that included a whole barbecued ox and several barrels of beer. Now, that seems like a pretty crafty move to me, but as it turns out, it wasn’t nearly enough. When called to the feast, the soldiers mocked Tryon’s hospitality, poured the beer onto the ground, and pitched the ox, untasted, into the Cape Fear River.

For two centuries, colonial American history was written with a focus on New England, and one can only assume that’s the reason the New Hanover Barbecue Party never achieved the historical status of that more famous tea party up in Boston. But, when you think about it, which shows more gumption: disposing of a few crates of tea, or tossing out an entire feast’s worth of barbecue and beer?

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 - Speaking in tongues: a barbecue communion and Obama chows down at an Atlanta classic and How L.B.J. nearly brought BBQ to NYC



soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. 9000mah????

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    June 22, 2013 at 1:47 am |
  2. Lou Cypher

    Taxation without representation is one thing, but ruining a perfectly good barbeque? The horror, the horror...

    September 7, 2012 at 5:16 am |
  3. randoid 1234

    You would have know me at that event. I would have been the one militiaman screaming, "NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

    September 5, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  4. Krandal

    House party ALL NIGHT LONG

    September 5, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  5. m

    People need to Copy and Post logical comments in areas that have or don't have anything to do with legalization/decriminalizing. To at least get them thinking. Most people won't catch TV for the one or two minutes if ever that the media talks on behalf about legalizing pot. So share reason like.. > We have a Deficit, cut prohibition on pot cost' & Bring in Billions in Revenue .Instead of it going to dealers/gangs. > Doing so would make the boarder less bombarded and the war on drugs would make more sense since pot isn't physically addictive nor deadly ,unlike hard drugs. > Keeping it illegal in and of itself is the gateway because dealers sell anything and to any age. When you can't buy crack at a liquor store. >: It would create jobs. and allow people to get jobs since people either loose jobs or cant get many jobs now. Imagine if everyone in this country who drank wine alcohol or tobacco lost their job . Its kind of hypocritical because some pills, alcohol tobacco ECT are worse than pot. If anything it's useful to many sick people as medicine. > Its kind of unfair , for example did Vodka ever have to get all the effort needed for 50+% of the vote to be allowed for adults ? > When its finally legal it can have similar laws like with Alcohol (21+ ect) and be like tobacco in that they can't advertise on TV. And be even healthier available in vaporizing or in food /drink form

    September 5, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
  6. Geoff

    When penguins attend Tea Party rallies they often start mating.

    September 5, 2012 at 6:11 am |
  7. Pee tardy PArtriot

    Hey look intellectuals. Maybe you'd best take it easy Mr. and Mrs. fancy pants!

    September 4, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  8. Corey

    attention teaparty:

    Liberal Progressives were founding this country while you were still bowing to the king

    September 4, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • Joepub

      attention Democrats:

      Democrats were busy fighting the union and wanting to keep slaves instead of wanting freedom for all.

      September 5, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
      • Jataka

        Wrong. Anymore bright ideas? Set your sails for fail, moron.

        September 5, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
        • Adrian

          Well he is correct in a way. The Democrats were the party of the South until the Southern Strategy. Once the Democrats supported the civil rights in 1948, many Southern Democrats jumped ship for the GOP and the parties began a long realignment between the parties. By the late 60s, the Democrats were clearly the party of civil rights while the GOP was the party of "state's rights". So yes, the GOP was the party of Lincoln, but that was before the political realignment of the middle of the 20th Century.

          September 7, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
        • Southerner01

          Adrian, where do you get the idea that in the 1960s, the Democrats were the party for civil rights? Are you familiar with George Wallace? The DEMOCRAT governor of Alabama, who stood in the doorway of the University of Alabama to attempt to block entrance to the first black students? Or how about the fact that 21 Democrat senators voted against the Civil Rghts Act and only 7 Republicans? 40% of house Democrats voted against the act, while 80% of Republicans voted in favor. The Republican leadership had to overcome a Democrat led filibuster in order to even hold a vote on the act. Democrat Arkansas OGvernor Faubus attempted to block integration of a Little Rock high school using state police forces. It took the intervention of Republican President Eisenhower to end the standoff and integrate the school.

          Your revisionist history is appalling!

          September 10, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • Greg Kells

      I can see how you might make that mistaken assumption, but you are horribly misguided. Our most influential founding fathers were more comparable to modern Libertarians than modern Progressives. Simply being forward thinking doesn't make you a Progressive anymore than being frugal makes you a Conservative. The founding principles of our nation are undeniably Libertarian. Attempting to disregard those principles in favor of expanding the authority of the federal government is Progressive. That ideology is diametrically opposed to the beliefs of Jefferson, Franklin, and Adams. You might call the founding fathers Classical Liberals, but that is very different than Progressive Liberalism. Sorry, but your ideology is not even remotely inline with the principles this nation is built on.

      September 8, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  9. Tigrr

    Never forget what the last GOP WH did....
    see youtube - CIA Asset Susan Lindauer Can Now Speak 10 years after 9-11.

    Yeah, Bush WH did it. Everyone in govn't knows.
    Romney will be just another puppet for Senior and Cheney, as were Junior and actor Regan.
    Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

    September 4, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Jimbo

      In my time with the government I never knew secrets anywhere as sensitive as 9 11 and I had to sign a 75 year non disclosure agreement. I think your source is full of you know what.

      September 5, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • Greg Kells

      because nobody ever posts any questionable conspiracy nonsense on youtube

      September 8, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
  10. Really???????????

    Can someone please explain to me how Obama asks Harold & Kumar to work for his campaign, but at the same time truns up the prosecution on all medical pot dispensaries. He promised he would do the EXCACT opposite in his first election campaign. Yet he did the EXACT opposite of what he promised and now he's vying for the "stoner vote"? His hipocracy knows no bounds!!

    September 4, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  11. Jim

    Actually, the Boston Tea Party of 240 years ago wasn't really to protest a tax. Ironically, it was to protest the removal of a tax.

    Prior to that historic protest, which by the way occurred to varying degrees in other colonial ports, the East India Company held a monopoly, backed by the British Crown, over tea imported into both England and the Colonies. This tea had been heavily taxed, which is the most commonly remembered aspect to people today. Because of this tax, there was a thriving black market in smuggled Dutch tea in the Colonies. All this contributed to a surplus of unsold tea putting the East India Company in financial difficulties.

    The Tea Act of 1773 repealed most of the tax, making the tea more competitive with the smuggled Dutch tea. But the remaining taxes are what paid the Colonial Governor’s salaries, and under the Tea Act, the East India Company’s tea could be sold only through consignees appointed by those Governors. Naturally, the consignees tended to be related to the Governors.

    So what really irked the colonists was the government bailout of the East India Company, and the cronyism of the tea consignees. But the real instigators to the dumping of tea in the harbor were the smugglers of Dutch tea who now faced a serious threat to their thriving business.

    So, the Boston Tea Party was really about the Tea Act’s removal of a tax on tea. Which makes the modern day tea party movement sort of bass ackwards.

    September 4, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • Corey

      Hey where do you think you are ??? This is MERICA and readin and learnin is for F@&^s

      September 4, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
      • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

        LOL

        September 4, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Greg Kells

      The Boston Tea Party is a symbolic reference point. The history we are taught in public schools is rife with inaccuracy to the point of bordering on fiction. Historically you are correct. Culturally though, you kind of miss the point. If you want to be pedantic about it, the Whiskey Rebellion is a more apt comparison to the modern Tea Party, but it doesn't have the cultural significance of the Tea Party.

      September 8, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
  12. palintwit

    When a teabagger enters college, the first thing he is taught is how to brush his tooth.

    September 4, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

      win

      September 4, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Ken

      Dear Palintwit...I have two teeth and use mouthwash. Sheesh...enough with the insults already.

      September 4, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • JellyBean

      LM AO!

      September 10, 2012 at 9:57 am |
  13. organically

    These are just ten of the reasons why the Tea Party is so detrimental and damaging to America (written by me personally and not plagiarized and I give you permission to cut and paste elsewhere)

    1) Tea Party members do not compromise although all democracy and the success of our republic is based on compromise
    2) The Tea party is trying to make all liberal policies appear unconstitutional
    3) An aim of the Tea Party is to convince the population that our government is wasting trillions of dollars, part of their plot to end most government spending
    4) A goal of the Tea Party is to perpetuate unwarranted public mistrust in government
    5) The leading paranoia of Tea Party supporters is their notion that our own government is our greatest enemy
    6)The primary ignorance of the Tea party is the belief that president Obama and liberals are responsible for all of your personal financial problems
    7) The Tea Party is trying to make the rest of us believe that the federal government hinders or somehow circumvents State rights
    8) The Tea party wants you to feel that our entire government is a complete failure, part of their goal to gain greater control our republic through elections
    9) A mission of the Tea Party is to make people believe that all government regulations undercut your liberty and that all federal regulations hinder your freedom
    10) The Tea Party is trying to brainwash you into thinking that they represent the founding fathers and understand the constitution more than any other political group

    September 4, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • Ken

      So you are saying the Dems are Gods and can do no wrong. Yeh, right.

      September 4, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • Joepub

      Umm Kool Aid! Can I have some?

      September 5, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
      • up1652

        Ever wonder how Kraft foods feels about the derogatory use of their product name Kool Aid ?

        September 8, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • James

      Splitting (also called all-or-nothing thinking in cognitive distortion) may mean two things: splitting of the mind, and splitting of mental concepts (or black and white thinking). The latter is thinking purely in extremes (e.g., goodness vs. evil, innocence vs. corruption, victimization vs. oppression, etc.), and can be seen as a developmental stage and as a defense mechanism. In psychoanalysis, there are the concepts of splitting of the self as well as splitting of the ego. This stems from existential insecurity, or instability of one's self-concept. YOU ARE KNOWN!!!

      September 6, 2012 at 5:05 am |
    • Greg Kells

      I am not affiliated with or even particularly sympathetic to the Tea Party, but you are posting hyperbole and nonsense. I'd be surprised if anyone bothers to read your hysterical jibberish, let alone copy and paste it. NO political organization will compromise on core principles. The core principles of the Tea Party are sound. When they first emerged I was interested in their message and their tactics, and I still see them as a necessary reaction to a flawed political system. I take issue with the quality of the leaders they gravitate around. Palin is a joke, and the younger Paul is not much better. I also have concerns with the move away from grass roots to big corporate funding, but the ideas are no more dangerous than anything the radical left has produced. It is a reaction to the radical left becoming accepted as mainstream political thought. The core of their ideology was Libertarian at the outset, which made little sense to me since their was already a Libertarian Party. If you think Libertarian ideals are dangerous, you live in the wrong country. Our nation is founded on Libertarian principles. If there is a single political ideology that is in direct conflict with the principles our nation is founded on, it's Progressive Liberalism. The Tea Party (however misguided they've become) is a reaction to that ridiculous ideology becoming so pervasive and accepted.

      September 8, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  14. Stephen in VA

    Dumping beer into the ground? That's not gumption, it's stupidity. My Irish ancestors used to say that after you die your soul gets hung upside down in a vat of all the alcohol you've ever spilt, and if you drown, to He** wit' ye.

    September 4, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
  15. y

    Who cares if its the tea party or BBQ party, lets just party.

    September 4, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • Ken

      Now that's the most informed and practical comment I've read so far.

      September 4, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
  16. RES

    The original Tea Party was due to taxation without representation. The current t-party had representation and their right-wing put us in the mess we are in now. We do not need them to try and fix what they already broke!

    September 4, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • richwood7

      The use of the term Tea Party by the GOP is one of the greatest insults to the true Tea Party in American history. What they really represent are the anti-fremdom, pro-aritocracy Tories who did not want America to be independant and were just like the GOP today.

      September 4, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • buckcameron

      Perhaps the BBQ party would be a better term for a big load of bull.

      September 4, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • tavernvoice

      It's still taxation without representation. We pay taxes (Perhaps not you depending on your income-I do), yet do you really think we have more say over this government than, unions, lobbyists, corporations and even elected officials. If you think so, then you are sorely mistaken. Tea party is an easy target. The idea of smaller government and fiscal responsibility, are only bad to all those who are connected in some way to the USG. According to today's numbers in food stamp terms only, that's 46 million. And most of these people don't even pay taxes. So it's still alive and well.

      September 4, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • tavernvoice

      Actually greed, stupidity and shear laziness have put us where we are today. And these RES are human characteristics, not GOP or Dem ones. If you think for one minute that they are a one-sided trait, then you are giving a pass to all multimillionare libs that have made gobs the same way conservatives have – at the expense of others.

      September 4, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
  17. Randall

    Oh please! They certainly did not have water buffalo back then! Now how do you get back ANY level of cred with this article. I saw the picture, and stopped reading because the photo alone showed me the level of intelligence the rest of the article would portray, yes?

    September 4, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • Jerv

      No. The article said "whole barbecued ox." It was just probably the best stock photo they could find. Good read, though.

      September 4, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
  18. jorgesedano

    Before the tea party there were the Hippies...

    September 4, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • rjaddow

      Today's Tea Party members were yesterday's hippies – They just conveniently forgot where they came from

      September 4, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
      • Charlie in Maine

        I hope the tea party does for the GOP what te hippies did for the Democrats.......Make them lose.

        September 4, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
      • parties gone bad

        In the beginning, the modern "Tea Party" group stood for fiscal responsibility, smaller government and moderate social views. Today, the Tea Party has been warped by an influx of people who have far right social views, want a smaller government and specifically want to protect the wealthy, just like mainstream Rebublicans.

        What we need is candidates from an independant party who feel free to actually represent the aggregate views of their constituents, not generous personal and corporate donors or do what their party instructs.

        September 4, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
      • Alternatively

        ... two other possible explanations: they grew up and matured and/or they learned math.

        September 4, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • organically

      Ingnorant. Tea party people are extemely conservative and most "hippies" are liberals.

      September 4, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
      • vatoloke

        But weren't the "hippiies" the originals with the "less government" mantra?
        My, how the GOtP has devolved!

        September 4, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
        • Paullwisc

          Ummm, no. What you call "hippies" were a highly diverse group of people, the majority of whom didn't involve themselves in politics other than anti-Vietnam War protests. Those who did never asked for smaller government as current-day Tea Party members do.

          I doubt there are many former hippies in the Tea Party. Selfish, bigoted and obsession with money doesn't really fit the description.

          September 4, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  19. Homer

    Dumping precious beer on the GROUND? That's a level of tragedy somewhere between Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima!

    September 4, 2012 at 11:32 am |
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