As is often the case with food origin myths, these tales get things exactly backwards. Barbecue did not originate as a way to transform cheap cuts of meat into something palatable. Instead, it started as a way to cook all of the cuts of meat at one time, for barbecue originally was a form of whole animal cookery.
In the 19th century, barbecues were large-scale outdoor events, and local farmers donated valuable livestock for the occasion—pigs, cows, sheep, goats, or whatever else they had on hand. On the Fourth of July in the antebellum South, long before refrigeration and reliable supplies of ice, fresh meat didn’t stay fresh for very long. The animals were typically taken to the site of the barbecue and slaughtered right there by the pits.
– Steve Raichlen recaps his 2015 in barbecue
– Congratulations to Midwood Smokehouse, who comes in at #32 in Charlotte Magazine’s Top 50 Restaurants in Charlotte
— Charlotte magazine (@CharlotteMag) December 29, 2015