BBQ so different?

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Clay Jackson

TVWBB Super Fan
I am very interedted in soome background on BBQ. I have lived in Houston, TX (Goode Co BBQ-Brisket), Goldsboro, NC (Wilbur's BBQ-Eastern NC vinegar), and Richmond, VA (Pierce's BBQ-pulled pork with a heavy tomato based sauce). All three are not even the same type of meal. But the locals still would call it BBQ. Can you explain the strong feel of "regionalism" when it comes to someone's BBQ? It is the only food I can think of that can create a true disagreement between friends all starting with "oh that's not real BBQ" I'm sure in your travles you have had that conversation quite often. Thank you

Lolis Eric Elie

New member

Not being from any of the counties of barbecue country, I was not going to get into the fight over regional differences that some people would. But you've hit the heart of my book, which is about food and identity. Comparing my barbecue to yours is not unlike comparing my mother's cooking to your mother's cooking. We move very quickly to fighting words.

The strong feeling of regionalism emerges because barbecue is an emblematic food. If I showed up in Houston from my home in New Orleans or from some foreign country, you might take me to Goode & Co. to show me the home town food. You have a pride in that which you wouldn't have in the local Italian place that you love, but which is not so close to your heart.

Consider this. We eat hamburgers, hot dogs, fried chicken and pizza all over the country, but with only a few minor exceptions, nobody argues over whose hamburgers are the best. Barbecue is special. It helps identify us. If I come to your house and eat some of your barbecue, I can probably tell you a lot about yourself.

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