The History of an American Institution
Robert F. Moss
Narrated by David Holloway
Approximately 6.5 hours
Book published by The University of Alabama Press
Americans enjoy reading about barbecue almost as much as they love eating it. Books on the subject cover almost every aspect of the topic: recipes, grilling tips, restaurant guides, pit-building instructions, and catalogs of exotic variants such as Mongolian barbecue and Indian tandoor cooking. Despite this coverage, the history of barbecue in the United States has until now remained virtually untold.
Barbecue: The History of an American Institution draws on hundreds of sources to document the evolution of barbecue from its origins among Native Americans to its present status as an icon of American culture. This is the story not just of a dish but of a social institution that helped shape the many regional cultures of the United States. The history begins with British colonists' adoption of barbecuing techniques from Native Americans in the 16th and 17th centuries, moves to barbecue's establishment as the preeminent form of public celebration in the 19th century, and is carried through to barbecue’s iconic status today.
From the very beginning, barbecues were powerful social magnets, drawing together people from a wide range of classes and geographic backgrounds. Barbecue played a key role in three centuries of American history, both reflecting and influencing the direction of an evolving society. By tracing the story of barbecue from its origins to today, Barbecue: The History of an American Institution traces the very thread of American social history.
Robert F. Moss is Vice President of Product Management for Benefitfocus in Charleston, South Carolina, and the author of Raymond Chandler: A Literary Reference.
“If you enjoy reading about barbecue history, then this book is a must-read for you. What sets this book apart is what you discover in this book that you don't find in many other places. I really enjoyed the new perspectives that Moss has brought forward. This is a book you'll want to pick up soon.”
—National Barbecue News
“Moss knows more about the history of barbecue than anyone I’ve yet encountered, and nothing like this book has ever before been published. To his great credit, he treats his subject seriously but not solemnly. Barbecue is simply a lot of fun to read about. At least it is in Moss’s hands. He has some good stories to tell, and he tells them well. I love it that aristocrats of the South Carolina low country established private clubs where gentlemen could eat ‘cue without having to mingle with the hoi polloi. Who knew that barbecue once flourished in New England?”
—John Shelton Reed, coauthor of Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue
“Amazing as it seems, in all the welter of barbecue books extant, there is not a single one that comes close to recording this history. The effort has been long overdue, but here it is, finally, and it fills some huge gaps in the long and colorful story of this food tradition. I venture to guess that if the word gets around that a real social history of barbecue is on the market, it will stir up some genuine interest among the tens of thousands of Americans who love this subject. It’s truly the first comprehensive history of American barbecue.”
—John Egerton, author of Southern Food: At Home, on the Road, in History