Barbecue

photo of 'The Dude Abides Party'
Ashley Sue Bullers/North Carolina Museum of Art

Summer is here and so are summer festivals. While big events like MerleFest or the National Folk Festival get much of the attention, many smaller festivals scattered throughout the state highlight the varied cultural communities in North Carolina.

Host Frank Stasio talks with festival organizers about this summer’s lineup, from the Highland Games in the west to the Yam Festival in the east.


photo of a spread at Grady's Barbecue in Dudley, N.C.
Rien Fertel

North Carolina is the number two producer of pigs in America, and barbeque is by most accounts the state’s food. But historian Rien Fertel argues that most barbecue writing is hyperbole. 

In his new book “The One True Barbecue: Fire, Smoke, and the Pitmasters Who Cook The Whole Hog,” (Touchstone/2016) he examines the history of the southern barbecue art, and the wide range of mythology surrounding the meat and those who tend to it.

John Shelton Reed did not think of himself as a southerner until his classmates at MIT pointed it out.

The Tennessee native was going to school in the northeast just as the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s took off. It was the beginning of a career dedicated to the study of southern culture.

He came to it as a kind of outsider in his own home but quickly returned to his roots, helped create the Center for the Study of the American South at UNC-Chapel Hill, and has become one of the preeminent voices on the "correct" way to make North Carolina barbecue. 

An image of North Carolina 'Welcome Sign'
J. Stephen Conn / Flickr Creative Commons

 

North Carolina has much to offer newcomers. From the coast to mountains and everything in between, the state is a place for food, fun and plenty of adventure. Where is the best barbeque? What is that accent? Who are the stars of bluegrass?

 

Below find five stories that highlight the Tar Heel state’s distinguishing qualities. And even if you’ve lived in North Carolina your entire life, take a look at the list of some of your state’s gems.

Stephen Colbert
David Shankbone

On his popular Comedy Central talk show The Colbert Report Wednesday night, Stephen Colbert mourned the fact that his sister, Elizabeth Colbert-Busch, lost to former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford in a race for the state’s first district’s Congressional seat.

“Mark Sanford beat my sister,” Colbert said. “I feel so betrayed by South Carolina.”

Jewish-American Identity & Food

Mar 26, 2009

A lot of what we cook defines us. Say "barbecue and sweet tea" and people hear, "the South." The same is true for immigrants. As hyphenated Americans we are what we eat. This will be the subject of an upcoming lecture by Nora Rubel, an assistant professor of religion and classics at the University of Rochester in New York. Rubel earned her graduate degree at UNC-Chapel Hill and returns next week talk about "The Settlement Cookbook and the Transformation of Jewish-American Identity." But first she joins guest host Laura Leslie with a preview.

Holy Smoke

Nov 12, 2008

Most traditions have plenty of people, history and folklore to back them up. Carolina barbecue is no different. A new book called, "Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue" explores the Tar Heel tradition - past and present.