Barbecue: The History of an American Institution by Robert F. Moss
(University of Alabama Press, 2010, 277 pages)
This is a well-researched, comprehensive book on the history of barbecue from the 17th century to the present day. It took Robert Moss ten years to research and write this book. Definitely time and effort well spent! Throughout the book, Moss used hundreds of primary sources to illustrate not only barbecue and its regional variations, but politics, race, culture and geographies and how they have evolved since the colonial times. Did you know that Virginia is the birth place of barbecue? Would you be surprised if I told you that the world’s largest chain of hamburger restaurants, McDonald’s, started out selling beef and pork barbecue sandwiches? This book is informative, engaging, and it will definitely make you hungry; just look at the subject of the book ;-).
Moss had lots of help with his research including librarians, of course. I can’t help but quote him here: “The Interlibrary Loan Staff at the Charleston County Public Library were invaluable in helping me complete my work far from the walls of a research library.”
We all love a good barbecue. But you are not going to find barbecue recipes and techniques here. What you will get out of this book is a deep appreciation for barbecue and its contribution to the history of the United States. You’ll walk away hungry for barbecue. Highly recommended.