Featured Oral History Project: Georgia Barbecue

The Pink Pig - Bud Holloway - Georgia - Southern BBQ Trail
Bud Holloway of The Pink Pig, Cherry Log, GA. Photo by Amy C. Evans.

This week we’re featuring the Georgia leg of our Southern Barbecue Trail.

Barbecue in Georgia is not restricted to one style, although most pitmasters now work with hams and shoulders instead of whole hogs. On the northeastern fringe, you will find hash cooks and mull cooks. Brunswick Stew cooks are everywhere. Across the state, sauces vary widely. A mixture of vinegar and tomato predominates, with degrees of sweetness and heat varying county by county. There are exceptions, of course. Around Savannah and Columbus, and in pockets of south Georgia, mustard often replaces ketchup in sauces.

Fresh Air Barbecue, Jackson, GA.
Fresh Air Barbecue, Jackson, GA. Photo by Amy C. Evans.

Peruse these oral histories and you will come to know more than sauce. You will learn the stories behind some of state’s fabled pits. And you will draw a bead on what Ralph McGill, onetime editor of the Atlanta Constitution, meant when he described Georgia barbecue as “a noble dish with honorable antecedents, prepared with simple ritualistic services… It rests on the stomach like a benediction and may be fed to suckling babes.”

—From the introduction to the SFA’s Georgia barbecue oral histories, written by SFA director John T. Edge, a Georgia native and lifelong barbecue aficionado. (Click the link to explore oral histories, audio clips, and photos.)