Whole Hog Barbecue

READ THIS YOU MUPPETS, on cooking and intangible cultural heritage: the rocket scientist who's also a whole hog pit master.

Whole hog barbecue is different from other styles of barbecue. The hog is cooked in one piece, versus cooking it in parts. It’s considered the oldest form of barbecue in the United States, with roots in the cooking styles of the indigenous peoples of North America. However, the process gained traction in the American South, where enslaved people would cook whole hogs on plantations for celebrations and political gatherings...

“When I cooked in the ground in 2017 … it was the first time that anyone in my community had done that in 40 years,” he says. “If I don’t recreate that, then it would be lost. I wasn’t going through a WPA narrative to recreate it.” [WPA stands for the Works Progress Administration, a government program that documented local life from 1939-1943.] Instead, he says, “I asked my dad to recreate it. If it hadn’t been done, then I wouldn’t know first-hand."

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