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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 Pa...

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.

Friday, March 25, 2016

All Cows are Grass Fed

When I was a youngster, my Dad used to raise cows and steers all the time. I remember one particular steer that my sister and I named Lemon. We knew that Lemon's ultimate destinations were the freezer and the stove, but we treated him as much like a pet as we could.

My Dad kept Lemon in a pasture where he grazed all day on green grass. We would keep his barn filled with hay and straw. During the summer, we fed him the leaves, shucks, and stalks from the corn we picked out of the garden. He also got watermelon rinds and every other bit of veggies from the gardens that we didn't eat. Starting in September, my Dad would take my brothers and I out to large corn fields where we would glean left over corn from stalks that the farmers couldn't reap. We would take the corn back home, shuck it in a hand cranked corn shucker and use it to feed Lemon, the cow and our hogs.

I remember eating a steak from Lemon that my Dad cooked on a wood stove that he used to keep in the basement. It was a T-bone. It was pretty good. I suppose one could say that Lemon was grass fed. But, we never worried about such things.

Here is an interesting article that fellow beef lovers might find interesting.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Four Hundred Year Old Virginia Barbecue Recipe

Virginians have been cooking southern style barbecued pork longer than people in any other state. The oldest recorded recipes used in Virginia barbecue call for hickory wood for fuel and a seasoning made of vinegar, butter, salt, and cayenne pepper. Here is how it's done in a modern, upright barbecue smoker such as the Chargriller Akorn or the Weber Bullet.
Ingredients
1 pork butt approximately 8 pounds
1/8 cup of apple cider vinegar
2 pats of butter, softened
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes
Mix the vinegar, butter, salt, and peppers and apply the mixture all over the pork. Barbecue at 275 to 300 degrees for 3 hours. Wrap the pork in foil and continue to cook until the meat is pull tender which should be about 3 to 4 more hours of cook time. When done, remove the meat from the smoker and let it rest for 1 hour. Pull the meat and serve. It can also be chopped.
What about the sauce recipe? Try this old Virginia sauce named in honor of a great Virginia barbecue cook named Shack - http://ocbarbecue.blogspot.com/2013/04/old-virginia-barbecue-sauce-recipe.html.
The recipes for the Tangy Virginia Brown and Sweet Virginia Red sauces will be in my upcoming book. Stay tuned for details.