Tracing the DNA of BBQ
Pitcooked BBQ in the American South in the actual earth dug pit evolved for 350 years. Pitcooked BBQ is the cooking of whole animals over a bed of coals, even though I thought bbq represented pit cooked whole hog in above ground pits by the time the tradition reached me. For those 350 years, the “Hole in the Ground” or Trench survived in the heads of black farmers across the south, but I am 100% sure it was in my father’s hand and heart until the mid 1970’s. It lasted in my father’s head until he shared with me the visual sketch that I personally brought to life in 2017 in Shreveport, LA and then on Man, Fire, Food my first TV Appearance which shows it being continuously in a people for 392 years at the time and counting. I will share the evolution in my forthcoming self-published book, but this book will give you insight with validated receipts. I hope to present the findings of my PhD level research learned over a lifetime of oral history, experimental validation, and research of the available literature, that I hope someone like Dr. John Hope Franklin or Dr. Earl Dowell would be appreciative of the scholarship. Dr. Franklin worked on a book on George Washington Williams for 40 years and he was the most eminent scholar on American History. Dr. Earl Dowell is the world's most prominent Aeroelasticity. If you don’t know these two men, I encourage you to google them.
As I think about the 1619 Project by Nikole Hannah-Jones, American BBQ was in its infancy of creation when there was an enough enslaved population to provide entertainment to obtain votes for politically motivated reasons. Further a conversation with noted Joseph Haynes, “Virginia BBQ: A History” said something below that resonated with me and makes perfect sense. This book by Joseph is a must read for bbq enthusiasts.
The story of BBQ in VA started in about 1625 - 1630. There needed to be a large enough African and African American population along with enslaved Native Americans and poor indentured people who were allowed to hold what authorities called "entertainments." Once voting rights came to the colony for planters who had formerly been indentured, rich guys started hosting those entertainments and they cooked the foods the enslaved and indentures cooked together which eventually became called barbecue and the event too. It's tied to the unique conditions in Virginia during those times.
I was unsure about placing the original date for bbq at this moment in time but Joseph Haynes, helped me to clarify that fact. So with the information Joseph is saying, I would have to agree that Virginia would be the home of American BBQ but you have to equally give the utmost credit to black people whom preserved it as it spreaded
with slavery. What the research states is that the use of enslaved Africans quickly emerged and replaced the indentured servants as the work force. It is also true up until the Emancipation Proclamation and almost a century afterwards until the Great Migration, enslaved Africans and their descendants who later became sharecroppers, did the labor on the agricultural lands in the south. On these lands, survived the evolution and improved pitcooked bbq that we know is southern BBQ which is the foundation of American BBQ. Over those nearly 350 years, people of African descent perfected this craft of cooking whole animals. Being a carrier of what I know this BBQ tradition was for nearly 390 plus years and counting, with the countless passing of oral history over that time period I am extremely humbled and honored. This self-published book to come will be a proud moment when I can deliver back to the blacks hands the research with analysis and investigations back into the people whom shared with me the oral tradition. Come 2020, I will stay down south to focus my time on publishing this work and get it out of my head because 390+ years of information is something I feels need to be shared. The research is nearly done for a cloudy complicated history of bbq that I hope I can make palatable and enjoyable to clear up a lot of unknowns as pitmaster, since that is the modern word for people whom cook bbq.
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