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Barbecue

Tastemakers

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Americans just can't seem to get enough pork. It's the other white meat, you know - whatever that means.

Ham is served in various forms at all the best holidays: Christmas, Thanksgiving and the 4th of July, in honey-glazed and hot-dog versions. The chops and tenderloins are reserved for finer dining. But I think the favorite pork, the people's pork, is pulled.

Barbecue. People just love it, judging from the strength and numbers of barbecue joints littering our highways, byways and strip malls. Barbecue even has its own listing in the yellow pages, under which you'll find many places and spellings like Buz and Ned's Real Barbecue, Alexander's BBQ and PerrinOs Bar-be-que & Catering.

Call each and every one of those places you find in the book, and I'll bet that each and every one will tell you that their barbecue is the best, made from the most authentic recipe they pried from the white-knuckled fist of their grandmother while she gasped for a last breath on her rural North Carolina deathbed.

Yes, people are crazy for the pig meat. It doesn't seem to matter that modern hog farming is called one of the most grossly harmful industries to the environment by just about every environmental group. Your office gurgles with excitement whenever someone suggests barbecue sandwiches for lunch.

So why is this version of pork held in such high esteem over all the others? It could be the sauce. But if it is, that begs the question, why don't we just start pouring salty, spiced tomato goo over everything we eat? Maybe we shouldn't go there right now.

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