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Virginia Barbecue: A History  available in stores and at online booksellers now! 8 Chapters Over 100 photos and illustrations 288 Pa...

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Goldie's Virginia Barbecue in Phoenix, Arizona

If you've read my book (You have read it haven't you? If not, get a copy and get started. You'll be glad you did), you know that people all over the country used to frequently cook and sell Virginia-style barbecue. Though not as widespread today, there are still a few places outside of Virginia that proudly serve Virginia-style barbecue.
Sauer's Barbecue Sauce is based on an old Virginia recipe. Bubba Lou’s Barbecue near Orlando, FL still sells Virginia-style barbecue and so does the Mason Dixon Line Restaurant in Washington state. There is even a Virginia-style barbecue recipe that is popular in the UK.
Here is an unfortunate account of Virginia-style barbecue in Arizona from the October 3, 1929 edition of the Arizona Republic under the headline "Fire Destroys Barbecue Shop on Opening Day."
In 1929, J. B. M. Goldsmith (Goldie) invested his savings of $500.00 to open a barbecue stand at 1154 East Washington Street in Phoenix, Arizona. $500.00 in 1929 would be about $7000.00 today. He not only invested his money, he invested his hard work and his expert knowledge of cooking barbecue.
On October 1, 1929, at 7:00 am, Goldie celebrated the grand opening of GOLDIE'S VIRGINIA BARBECUE. However, the day didn't go as Goldie had planned. By 1:30 pm, Goldie's barbecue stand was in ruins. In only a few hours, the entire operation burned to the ground due to defective wiring. The business was a total loss and Goldie carried no insurance.
I haven't been able to determine if Goldie persevered and reopened his restaurant, but I'm not through researching his story. Stay tuned.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Charleston Barbecue - Southern Hospitality is its Secret Ingredient

Barbecued Pork Belly at Swig & Swine in Charleston
If you've never visited, the first thing you need to know about Charleston, South Carolina, is that all of the good things you hear and read about it are true. It is a beautiful city that offers a rich history, unique culture, amazing music and delicious foods all warmly wrapped in heartfelt southern hospitality.

Even though I had a very busy agenda during my most recent visit to Charleston, I was determined to visit as many barbecue restaurants there as I could. Fortunately, I was able to visit Bessinger's Bar-B-Q, Swig & Swine, Duke's Barbecue, Melvin's Ribs & Que, Home Team BBQ and Lewis Barbecue which included all but two of the places I had on my list.

Hogs are the animals of choice for barbecue in Charleston. You can find barbecued shoulders, ribs and pork belly as well as whole hog. The phrase "whole hog" means something a little different in Charleston than it does in most other parts of the South nowadays. In Charleston, barbecue restaurants literally serve the whole hog including heads, trotters and livers.
I have confessions from the pitmasters that they use those parts of the hog and suspicions that they may also use other parts such as the kidneys, lights and goozles. Parts of the hog that are not suitable for barbecuing are used to make South Carolina-style barbecue hash.

BBQ Hash and Rice at Swig & Swine
Barbecue hash is an old southern tradition that is forgotten by most other places in the South. In colonial and federal times, when hogs were slaughtered for a barbecue, the parts of the animal that were not well suited for barbecuing were simmered in a large iron pot to make a stew they called hash. Barbecue hash in those days was made with livers, trotters (feet), lights (lungs), goozles (wind pipes), heads, and scraps of meat.  Often it was seasoned with nothing more than salt and red pepper. South Carolinians have preserved
BBQ Hash & Rice at Duke's Barbecue
that old custom even though some in the western parts of the state now use only lean meats in their hash. But, in Charleston the hash is made the "old school" way with scraps, heads, feet and lots of liver. It's all cooked down to a mush, seasoned and served over rice. The best barbecue hash I had during my visit is served at Swig & Swine.

Another distinguishing characteristic of Charleston-style barbecue is the sauce. Though all of the places I visited served a variety of sauces, some of which were not particularly South Carolinian, all of them except Lewis Barbecue (more about that later) serve a sweet and slightly tangy mustard based sauce.
Mustard based sauces at Duke's Barbecue

BBQ Sauces at Home Team Barbecue
To my Virginian taste buds, it is very reminiscent of honey-mustard vinaigrette. In Virginia, we use a little mustard in our Southside-style barbecue sauce but not much and it isn't sweet (recipe in my book Virginia Barbecue: A History). So, the Charleston-style sauce took me a little while to grow accustomed to eating.

The last barbecue restaurant I visited was Lewis Barbecue. The folks at Lewis Barbecue don't serve Charleston-style barbecue; they serve Texas-style barbecue.
Barbecue brisket & sausage at Lewis Barbecue
John Lewis, formerly a pitmaster at Franklin Barbecue in Austin, and his partners opened Lewis Barbecue in June of 2016. They serve barbecue brisket, beef ribs and sausage. There is no barbecue hash and the barbecue sauce is decidedly not a Charleston-style sauce. However, the brisket I had there was superb.

Unfortunately for me, Rodney Scott's BBQ was one of those I missed. Scott's new Charleston restaurant opened the week after I had to depart for home. Of course, that means that I will have to visit again. Yep, it's a tough job but somebody's gotta do it.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Virginia Barbecues Separated by 65 Years

Left - Illustration by Alexander R. Boteler from My Ride to the Barbecue: Or, Revolutionary Reminiscences of the Old Dominion published in 1860. Right - Virginia Barbecue circa 1920s. Holsinger Studio Collection. Courtesy of Special Collections, University of Virginia Library.

On the left above is an illustration of a Virginia barbecue held in 1859. On the right is a photo of a Virginia barbecue held in the 1920s. Though separated by about 65 years and the Civil War, the similarities are striking.

Read all about it in Virginia Barbecue: A History now available in hardcover.

The Pitmaster's Prayer

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Delicious Tangy Virginia Brown BBQ Sauce Recipe - Southside Style

Tangy Virginia brown barbecue sauce drizzled on hickory smoked pork barbecue.

It's tangy. It's savory. It's Virginia's own barbecue sauce that originated in Virginia's southside region. The recipe is in the book Virginia Barbecue: A History. The book is available online and at local booksellers.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

North Carolina Did Not Kidnap Barbecue from Virginia and no Theft was Committed

So, there are some articles on some news websites that make the sensational claim that I, the author of Virginia Barbecue: A History, make the case in that book that North Carolina kidnapped or stole barbecue from Virginia. One North Carolina newspaper even put the story in the crime section of their website. One paper asks, "Did North Carolina steal barbecue from Virginia?" Another newspaper writes, "'North Carolina kidnapped Virginia barbecue': Author asserts the delicacy started in the commonwealth."

First of all, let me make it perfectly clear. I do not argue, insinuate, imply or assert that North Carolina stole or kidnapped barbecue from Virginia in the book!

The misunderstanding is apparently based on a quote I used in the book from Nita Jones who wrote in the Richmond Times Dispatch in June of 1978:

"A quick survey of barbecue houses locally might convince you that 'North Carolina-style' barbecue has not only crossed the state line, but kidnapped the market as well."

So, let's set the record straight.

I did not make any claim, assertion, argument or insinuation that North Carolina stole or kidnapped barbecue from Virginia. Yes, southern barbecue was born in Virginia and eventually made its way into what is today North Carolina from there. However, that was simply a migration, not a crime. The word kidnapped was in the book from a quote made in 1978 about the proliferation of North Carolina-style barbecue restaurants popping up in Richmond, Virginia, at that time. The person who wrote the quote was simply making a point about the number of North Carolina-style barbecue restaurants that existed in Richmond in 1978. That's it.

And, as Paul Harvey used to say, that's the rest of the story.

You can purchase the book at online booksellers and local bookstores.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Now Shipping! Virginia Barbecue: A History

Virginia Barbecue: A History available in stores and at online booksellers now!

8 Chapters
Over 100 photos and illustrations
288 Pages
Over 750 primary and secondary sources cited
Over 70,000 words

Virginia-style barbecue has deep roots in history that go back to the earliest colonial times when it was first developed through a collaboration between colonists and Powhatan Indians. The Virginian style of barbecue eventually spread all over the south to become what we call today southern barbecue.

The basic barbecue cooking technique is ancient. American barbecue innovations are not. This book focuses on southern barbecue but also traces the origins of several other styles of American barbecue including California barbecue, backyard barbecue and kitchen barbecue.

Here is a sample of what's inside -
  • There are four regional styles of real, authentic Virginia barbecue today.
  • Read the story of the fateful Vauxhall Island barbecue in 1869.
  • Read about the Virginia barbecue served in other states such as Missouri, Texas, North Carolina, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Minnesota, Ohio.
  • Read about the prominent 19th century American philologist James Trumbull who explained why the word "barbecue" is a "Virginian word." 
  • The word "barbecue" was used as a noun in English literature 4 years earlier than the Oxford English Dictionary claims.
  • An English version of the word "barbecue" was used as a verb in English literature 13 years earlier than the Oxford English Dictionary claims.
  • White barbecue sauce wasn't invented in Alabama. It's been around for hundreds of years.
  • Read about the origin of southern barbecue's basic sauce of oil, vinegar, salt, black pepper and red pepper.
  • Find out why California barbecue is so different from southern barbecue.
  • Read about when and why backyard barbecues became popular.
  • America's first barbecue club was established in Virginia centuries before the KCBS.
  • Virginians were the first to barbecue meats over hickory wood using the southern barbecue cooking technique.
  • The first barbecue restaurant in the United States is found in Virginia about 100 years before the first recorded North Carolina barbecue restaurant.
  • In the 1830s, two groves of trees were planted on the U.S. Capitol building's grounds to be used for holding barbecues. One grove for the Democrats and one grove for the Whigs. The "Barbecue Trees" (as they were called) remained on the Capitol grounds until the 1870s.
  • Read about the 19th century Virginia barbecue cook named Black Hawk who was so accomplished at his craft that he had an audience with the President.
  • Read about the African-American barbecue cook from Virginia who was a veteran of the Civil War but fought to save lives rather than take them.
Reviews -
"Joe Haynes adds to the scholarship of American barbecue with his remarkably well-researched book on Virginia barbecue. His work goes a long way toward putting the contributions of Virginia on the barbecue map.“
- Jim Shahin, Washington Post Barbecue Columnist
"I have been allowed sneak peaks into some portions of Joe Haynes' forthcoming book, and I assure you, if you love culinary history and barbecue, you will want this book!"
- Dr. Daniel Mouer, Chief Archaeologist, Professor of Anthropology and Archaeology at Virginia Commonwealth University, retired
"Keep an eye out for Joseph Haynes book on Virginia Barbecue. Joe is an excellent historian when it comes to digging up truly remarkable BBQ related information that seems to have slipped by his contemporaries. He makes a strong case that shouldn't have to be made for the legitimacy of Virginia 'Q."
- Eric Devlin, Editor in Chief of Smoke Signals Magazine
"I've lived most of my life in Virginia, and for a while nearly a half-century ago, my work took me to the back roads near Surry, Va. There I found country barbecue places and smokehouses that were run by families that had been around most of the century. I visited many of these places and talked to their owners about their barbecue. What I found was clearly Virginia barbecue, done the old way as it had been since at least the civil war." "While I have no definite proof, what I learned then is consistent with what you're finding now. I think you're right."

- Wayne Rash, Freelance Writer and Editor

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Washington Post Article About Virginia Barbecue

Jim Shahin, Washington Post Barbecue Columnist, on the right with yours truly out and about enjoying a Virginia Barbecue Tour.
The Washington Post published an article entitled "Where did barbecue begin? Virginia, he says — and he stands by it." The author, my friend Jim Shahin, does a great job of writing about me and my book even though he couldn't resist mentioning my balding head. However, there were some edits made to the article, apparently after Jim submitted it to his editors, that don't accurately explain the thesis of my book.

For some reason, the phrase "southern barbecue" was left out of the title of the article. As I point out in my book, the barbecue cooking technique is ancient and no one really knows where it started. I believe that it started in Africa thousands of year ago, but there is no way to make a strong case either way.

In my book I assert that SOUTHERN barbecue was born in Virginia; not barbecue itself. There are many styles of barbecue in the world and even in the United States. In fact, in the first chapter I document the history of the four most popular styles of barbecue in the United States today which are Southern barbecue, California (or Western) barbecue, Backyard barbecue and Kitchen barbecue.

Southern barbecue is the kind of smoky, pull tender, mouthwatering barbecue that you can find all around the southern United States. California barbecue is the kind of barbecue that is most prevalent in California and the southwest where meats are slow cooked buried in a pit or broiled over hot coals such as California tri-tip or Santa Maria-style ribeyes. Backyard barbecue is generally hot dogs and hamburgers and steaks quickly broiled (grilled) on our backyard charcoal grills. Of course, people in the South have a hard time accepting grilling as a form of barbecuing but most areas of the United States today do call grilling in the backyard barbecuing. The fourth style of barbecue I write about isn't really a barbecuing technique either but its popularity has all but removed the stigma of calling it barbecue. People cook Kitchen barbecue inside their homes often using a crock pot. It consists of pulled pork cooked in a crock pot topped with a commercial barbecue sauce. Barbecued potato chips and barbecued beans are also in this category. Though Americans have their own ways of preparing barbecue and definitions of the word vary based upon region, the gold standard for American barbecue is and always has been Southern barbecue.

In my book, I show that Southern barbecue was born in seventeenth-century Virginia citing over 700 primary and secondary sources. So, please keep that in mind when you read titles in articles about my book such as the one in the most recent Washington Post article.

Overall, Jim did a great job of writing the article. He is a much better writer than I and I feel privileged to call him friend.

The Virginia Barbecue Revival is warming up! You can read the Washington Post article by clicking here. Where did barbecue begin? Virginia, he says — and he stands by it

You can read more about Virginia barbecue in my book available at online booksellers and on shelves on September 12, 2016.

Friday, August 26, 2016

No Forks Required

This signs greets customers when they walk into Kreuz Market in Lockhart, Texas.
Several central Texas barbecue restaurants make it clear that barbecue should be eaten with your fingers rather than forks. Of course, that central Texas practice was born when meat markets (butchers) in that area started barbecuing meats for sale at around the end of the 1800s in order to move more product with less waste. However, the tradition of eating barbecue with our fingers rather than utensils is much older than the central Texas tradition.

Old accounts of barbecues (some of which go back hundreds of years) in Virginia, Kentucky, Georgia and even New York City tell of how the barbecue was eaten with fingers or, as one put it, “nature’s gifts of teeth and fingers.”

The reason for this practice goes back to colonial times in Virginia. As people in frontier regions would hold barbecues and people from all over the region would attend, there was simply no way of providing everyone with eating utensils. Metal forks and spoons were luxury items in those days and, of course, there were no convenience stores around that sold cheap plastic forks and spoons. Therefore, attendees of those old barbecues would bring their own cup and spoon so that they could enjoy the Brunswick stew and ate the barbecue with their fingers. In an advertisement for a barbecue held in Augusta, Georgia, in 1840, we find:

"The Barbecue today, will be strictly after the old Virginia style, in the olden time, those therefore who intend to participate should not go unprovided with a knife, with which to, 'cut their way,' into the delicious legs of mutton &c., which will be served for the occasion."

So, put those forks down and eat your barbecue the right way . . . the Virginian way . . . even if you are in central Texas.

You can read more in my upcoming book Virginia Barbecue: A History available for pre-order at online booksellers. Click here for Amazon.com.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Barbecue Secret Number 16: Preparing Brown Sugar for Use in Rubs

If you make your own rubs and use brown sugar as an ingredient in them, you know that it can be problematic because the molasses in the sugar introduced moisture which can cause lumps of sugar coated in other ingredients and other unwelcome problems. Here is a barbecue secret to avoid the problems associated with using brown sugar in barbecue rubs. Before mixing your barbecue rub that includes brown sugar, dry the sugar first. Here is how I do it.

I preheat my oven to 180 degrees F. I line a baking sheet with parchment paper. I then put a layer of brown sugar on the paper that is about 1/4" thick.

Next, I place the baking sheet with the paper and sugar in the oven and let it dry for about 20 to 30 minutes. I remove the sugar laden baking sheet from the oven and let it cool. The result is a brittle sheet of dried brown sugar.

I break the sheet of dried brown sugar into pieces that will fit in a gallon sized plastic bag. I seal the bag being careful to remove as much of the excess air in it as possible. Then, I crush the pieces of sugar by gently pounding it with a rolling pin. I tried using a food processor and a spice grinder but both of those created something more akin to powdered sugar than granulated sugar.

The final step is to sift the crushed sugar through a fine strainer. That larger pieces that don't pass through the strainer go back into the plastic bag to be crushed. I continue this process until all of the sugar is back to the state of granulated sugar.

The resulting dried brown sugar maintains the flavor and sweetness of brown sugar but it will no longer clump up or introduce unwanted moisture to my barbecue rubs.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Virginia Barbecue: A History - Pre-orders Being Taken Now!

After many years of research and hard work, my book Virginia Barbecue: A History is being published by the good folks at The History Press. It is available for pre-order now on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. It will ship and be on bookstore shelves on September 12, 2016.

You can pre-order from Amazon.com here

You can pre-order from BarnesandNoble.com here.

With more than four hundred years of history, Virginians lay claim to the invention of southern barbecue. Native Virginian Powhatan tribes slow roasted meat on wooden hurdles or grills. James Madison hosted grand barbecue parties during the colonial and federal eras. The unique combination of vinegar, salt, pepper, oils and various spices forms the mouthwatering barbecue sauce that was first used by colonists in Virginia and then spread throughout the country. Today, authentic Virginia barbecue is regionally diverse and remains culturally vital. Drawing on hundreds of historical and contemporary sources, author, competition barbecue judge and award-winning barbecue cook Joe Haynes documents the delectable history of barbecue in the Old Dominion.

There are eight chapters in the book as follows:

1. “Real” American Barbecue
2. Barbecue: A "Virginian Word”
3. Barbecuing “in the Indian Manner”
4. Virginia’s Rich Barbecue Tradition
5. Barbecuing in the Virginian Manner
6. Virginia’s Nineteenth-Century Barbecue Men
7. Virginia: The Mother of Southern Barbecue
8. Authentic Virginia Barbecue Recipes

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Barbecue Secret Number 15 - Ignore the Stall

I ignore porous bed free expansion cooling when I cook BBQ. You should too. "Porous bed free expansion cooling" is the geeky name for what causes the dreaded stall. If you have barbecued a pork butt or a brisket, you know that once it reaches around 160 degrees internal that it can stay at that temperature for hours before the internal temperature begins to rise again. That's called the stall. As the temperature of the moisure in the meat rises, it evaporates and cools the meat. The process repeats itself for hours as the moisture that causes the stall dissipates. When it's gone, the stall ends. That's why the stall lasts so long.

So many BBQ "experts" tell us that barbecuing meat shouldn't be wrapped in foil until it reaches the stall. However, the truth is, the stall is irrelevant and can be ignored. The point is this. If you wrap meat that you are barbecuing at some point during the cook, do it at a time that is right for the kind of meat that you are cooking. Don't go by some standard "rule" that is often repeated but never justified with facts.

Here is an example, a select brisket will turn out better if it's wrapped at a point sooner in the cook than a choice or prime brisket. Remember, the only meaningful reasons for wrapping are to preserve exterior color, preserve moisture, and speed up cook time. Select briskets don't have as much moisture content from fat as a choice or prime cut. Therefore, they should be wrapped sooner than the higher quality cuts. Less moisture and fat content means that you have to wrap sooner in order to preserve what little moisture there is in the meat.

If you are concerned about the possibility of too little smoke getting into the meat, use
more wood chunks, or use green wood, or run your fire a little cooler so more smoke is
generated. Compensate less time in smoke with more smoke while the meat is in it.

Ignore the stall. It's irrelevant. Think through what you are trying to accomplish and time
things based on those goals.