Barbecue: Smoke, Sauce, and History
October 17-20, 2002

The fifth annual Southern Foodways Symposium examined the people, places, and traditions that inform our regional obsession with barbecue.

We began with a workshop on utilizing archival materials for foodways research and a University Museums special exhibit: Two Women and Their Cookbooks: Lena Richard and Mary Land. We traced barbecue from North Carolina to Texas, with Bob Garner and Robb Walsh. And Marcie Ferris offered the minority position on Southern Jews and barbecue culture. John Shelton Reed got down to the meat of the matter with sociological perspectives on ‘cue, and Calvin Trillin wrapped up the weekend with his musings on life as a hungry boy.

In 2002, evening programming was expanded to screen two documentary films: A Day in the Life of Barbecue and Hush, Hoggies, Hush. Roots rocker Kevin Gordon took center stage at Taylor Grocery, and Saturday night reached its zenith when Otha Turner and the Rising Star Fife and Drum Band of Gravel Springs, Mississippi, snaked their way through the crowd, playing tunes made famous at Turner’s semiannual goat barbecue.

The symposium hosted an Aberrant Barbecue Supper, featuring Cornish game hens and deep fried barbecue ribs, and ‘Cue on Hoecakes for lunch, by Devin Pickard of Centerville, Tennessee. Ben Barker of Magnolia Grill in Durham, North Carolina, threw down a gustatory gauntlet and served Tender as Mother’s Love Pork Cheeks in BBQ Jus with Brunswick Stew Salad, and pitmasters from across the South took center stage with a feast of whole hog, pork shoulder, pork ribs, and barbecue chicken.