I don’t have much to add: to what I said when we last “aired” this conversation, except to express some apologies that we’ve reached again into the Archive. It’s End of Year at Augustana College, which for both students and faculty is like being pressed headfirst through a funnel at Mach 2.3: its painful, but kind of exhilarating at the same time. It also doesn’t allow much time for anything else.
But I should also add a warm welcome to the many new listeners who are causing the silver spinning platters in Historically Thinking’s quaint Amish-built server farm to work full-time. We thank you particularly because your downloads tell us that we’re doing something good, and make us want to keep doing more of it. Many thanks.
I like this podcast a lot, for three reasons. First, it’s with a conversation with a friend, a man I admire for being an academic who does his own thing, in his own unique way. Second, it’s about barbecue. Third, it is really a conversation about place, and place is something of a secondary preoccupation at Historically Thinking, right after historical thinking (and historical feeling, but that’s another podcast series). Pig is pig, even in Memphis; but Memphis is not North Carolina, and it would be foolish for it to try to be.
Here on the Upper Mississippi it’s May, which means winter is just about over; people are creeping outside and beginning to put things on the grill; and the redolent smoke is floating through the late evening, a sign and seal of the approach of summer. Sometimes these nice Midwestern folk call what they’re doing barbecue; and while they’re good people, that “just ain’t right.” Barbecue is … well, What Barbecue Is, and particularly what North Carolina Barbecue Is, happens to be the subject of this podcast.
Once again, the eminence grease of Southern Sociology and Self-Understanding, John Shelton Reed, joins Al Zambone, this time to talk about North Carolina barbecue, the subject of a book he recently coauthored with Dale Volberg Reed and William McKinney. Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue is not only a history and sociology of North Carolina barbecue; it’s not only a set of interviews with some of the foremost practitioners of the art; it’s also got recipes. It even has instructions on how to build your own barbecue pit so that you can cook a whole hog. Isn’t that something?
We don’t want to brag, but, we have to say it: this is our most delicious podcast yet. And since Reed will soon be coming out with a book surveying the rest of the Southern barbecue scene, he’s sure to be on Historically Thinking again.
For Further Reading and Eating
- John Shelton Reed and Dale Volberg Reed, with William McKinney, Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue
- Reed thinks this review of his book by Bill Kauffman got what the book is all about.
- Allen & Son Bar-B-Q–they don’t have a website, but they have a Yelp page full of happy customers. Don’t even bother to read it. Just go eat there, OK?