Published June 1st 2019 by University of Georgia Press
Jim Auchmutey follows the delicious and contentious history of barbecue in America from the ox roast that celebrated the groundbreaking for the U.S. Capitol building to the first barbecue launched into space almost two hundred years later. The narrative covers the golden age of political barbecues, the evolution of the barbecue restaurant, the development of backyard cooking, and the recent rediscovery of traditional barbecue craft. Along the way, Auchmutey considers the mystique of barbecue sauces, the spectacle of barbecue contests, the global influences on American barbecue, the roles of race and gender in barbecue culture, and the many ways barbecue has been portrayed in our art and literature. It’s a spicy story that involves noted Americans from George Washington and Abraham Lincoln to Louis Armstrong, Elvis Presley, Martin Luther King Jr., and Barack Obama.
Auchmutey examines barbecue through the lenses of politics, race, gender, regional variety and other filters, and takes the reader on a rambling journey through a mouthwatering series of historic barbecue emporiums around the country where delectable meat dishes are prepared over open coals, often in picturesque settings by colorful pit masters with generations of barbecue secrets lodged in their heads.
—Don Schanche Jr., The Washington Post