by Jonathan Deutsch and Megan J. Elias
If there is one thing the United States takes seriously (outside of sports), it’s barbecue. Different in every region, barbecuing is an art, and Americans take pride in their special blend of slow-cooked meat, spices, and tangy sauces. But the US didn’t invent the cooking form, nor do Americans have a monopoly on it—from Mongolian lamb to Fijian pig and Chinese char siu, barbecue’s endless variations have circled the globe. In this history of this red-blooded pursuit, Jonathan Deutsch and Megan J. Elias explore the first barbecues of ancient Africa, the Arawak origins of the word, and define what it actually is.
Traveling to New Zealand for the Maori’s hangi, Hawaii for kalua pig, Mexico for barbacoa de cabeza, and Spain for a taste of bull roast, Barbecue looks at the incredible variety of the food around the world. Deutsch and Elias also discuss barbecue’s status as a masculine activity, the evolution of cooking techniques and barbecuing equipment technology, and the growth of competitive barbecuing in the United States. Rounding out the book are mouthwatering recipes, including an 1877 Minneapolis recipe for a whole roast sheep, a 1942 pork spare ribs recipe from the Ozarks, and instructions for tandoori lamb chops and Chinese roast duck. A celebration of all things smoky, meaty, and delicious, Barbecue makes the perfect gift for backyard grillers and professional roasters.
Jonathan Deutsch is professor and founding director of the Center for Hospitality and Sport Management at Drexel University in Philadelphia. He is the author of many books on food culture and history, including They Eat That? A Cultural Encyclopedia of “Weird” Foods from Around the World.
Megan J. Elias is assistant professor of history at Queensborough Community College, City University of New York, and the author of Stir It Up: Home Economics in American Culture and Food in the United States, 1890–1945.
University of Chicago Press, 2014