Wednesday, July 18

Get on the Southern BBQ Trail!

In this, our year of all things barbecue, we invite you to hit the Southern BBQ Trail.

Since 2005, we’ve collected more than 100 oral history interviews from 9 states that are all about the culture of ’cue. We’ve visited with pitmasters and restaurant owners, wood purveyors and hog processors, and more. This summer, we're adding loads of new oral history interviews from across the South: Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

Over the course of the next few weeks, we'd like to highlight some of those interviews here. We'll travel state by state, introducing--or re-introducing--you to some of the people who have shared their stories with us. 

First up: ALABAMA.

We trace the history of Alabama’s unique white sauce. We have stories from Golden Rule Bar-B-Q, Alabama’s oldest restaurant continually in operation, open since 1891. But you won’t want to miss our interview with Dale Pettit of Top Hat Barbecue in Blount Springs. Opened in 1952, Dale’s father, Wilbur, a bread deliveryman, bought the place in 1967. The sauce recipe cost him extra. Dale took the reins from his father in 1971 and has been the pitmaster ever since. He prefers to do things the old-fashioned way: “When people like me stop barbecuing the old way, it will die. And people that don’t try it while they have the opportunity will be sorry because one day it won't be here anymore." 

Meet Dale Pettit of Top Hat Barbecue:

Visit the Southern BBQ Trail for more.

Grab a napkin and go!