Monday, April 30, 2012

From The Mail Bag

Facebook fan Jennifer writes; "I'd love to read a blog post about the whole goggle thing..."

Dear Jennifer,

Nice hair!  I like it so much that I now wear mine that way.  ;)  Your simple question requires a long answer, and away we go!

The Delwood's Barbecue Sauce recipe traces its roots back to the 1800's and the method of cooking a pig has changed little.  In the 1800's it was cooked in a hole in the ground, now we have old oil drums, and fancy welded equipment.  Wood became charcoal and sometimes fancy gas ovens.  Traditional dress among those who cook barbecue range everywhere from jeans and button up plaid shirts to jeans and t-shirts.  Ball caps have logo's like "Cat" and "John Deer".  Here's some old photos of my dad dressed in the traditional Eastern North Carolina Barbecue style.

Ball cap, jeans, plaid shirt, its traditional to the point it is almost a uniform.  Other traditions include drinking, horse shoes, and having your left over pig stolen over night because no one was sober enough to pack it up when the eating was done so it was decided to come back the next morning to pack it up.  I suppose you would also have to include, stealing left over barbecue to the list of traditions.  The most important and easiest tradition of all to forget is community.  No one ever cooks alone, you are always surrounded by friends ready to drink beer, play horse shoes, and help you flip the pig once it is about ready to sauce.

Coming at this I realized from day one that while I was going to take the traditional knowledge I learned and apply it to make the best barbecue I possibly could, there was a lot of traditions that I was going to be leaving behind.  When I cook a pig, I am on the clock and I will not drink until the last person has eaten.  I am usually cooking alone, so I have to cook my pig skin down the entire time.  I am usually cooking alone because this job doesn't pay enough to pay a second person to sit around with me for six hours and not drink.   Realizing all this really early on I realized that what I was delivering wasn't a traditional "historically accurate" pig picking experience.  I was creating a "historical fiction" of a pig picking tradition that could have existed but didn't.  Plus, being based out of the triad, the expectations have changed, Down East everyone eats right off of the grill.  Up here in the Piedmont, folks like their meat served off of a platter with all the other sides.

Meanwhile, in another subculture called Steampunk you have a "historical fiction" world where the transistor was never invented and the industrial revolution never ended.  It is a world of Jules Verne, HG Wells, and HP Lovecraft.  The Titanic never sank, the Hindenburg never caught fire and the jet engine never got off the ground.  It is a world of adventure and far reaching frontiers.  Men are real dapper gentlemen, women are real ladies of a certain quality, and scientist are all quite mad.  It is populated by an endless number of lords, ladies, professors, tinkers, airship captains, ship captains, submarine captains, mechanics, pirates, explorers, traders, and adventurers of every ilk.

And now they have a cook.

So there you have it.  In a sea of barbecue cooks, I'll be the one wearing goggles standing at the crossroads of two wonderful histories, that just happend to have never actually happened.

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