Origins of American BBQ

The Indians had the slow cooking, smoking method of cooking, the Spanish had the pig

I wrote a previous article about Travel Channel getting it completely wrong about the history of barbeque in the United States. I am watching Chopped on Food Network and just saw an ad spot with Paula Deen saying that the technique of smoking meats, bacon in particular, was originally taught to the settlers in Smithfield, Virginia. Of Course, this is an ad for Smithfield meats. Even if we allow this to be a stretch from Jamestown, Virginia, across the river, it is still inaccurate.

The technique of slow cooking and smoking meat was originally taught by the Edisto Indians to the first settlers in the continental United States, in what is now St Helena, South Carolina. The Indians had the low and slow smoking cooking method and the Spanish had the pig. This is where barbeque and Southern meat smoking techniques came from.

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1 Comment on Paula Deen and Smithfield Bacon TV Ad Get It Wrong

  1. Hi Virgil –
    I’m putting the finishing touches on a historical book about Folly Beach, SC. I love this picture and I’m hoping you can tell me more about it and confirm that it depicts the Edisto Indians. I’ll be happy to credit your blog in the book. I’m on deadline – looking forward to hearing from you. Thanks!

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