Wednesday, October 31

We Saved You a Plate (Well, ESPN Did)

Photo by Marion Post (Wolcott), 1940. Courtesy of the Library of Congress

"We Saved You a Plate" is a weekly series showcasing an article from Gravy or Cornbread Nation, or a past symposium presentation, or a film. We serve it up, you gulp it down.

Okay, we're cheating a little bit, but this post totally falls into the category of "catch it now if you missed it the first time."

We're big fans of the work of Oxford-based sportswriter Wright Thompson. He's covered everything from SEC football to South Asian cricket for ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine, and he's got a knack for finding the universally human, "this-is-more-than-just-an-[insert name of sporting event]" threads that underlie simple wins and losses. And yes, he recently guest edited an awesome sports-themed issue of our Gravy foodletter.



Last night, Wright made his film debut as the screenwriter and narrator of Ghosts of Ole Miss, directed by Fritz Mitchell and part of ESPN's acclaimed "30 for 30" movie series.

Ghosts of Ole Miss is a story about football and civil rights—not necessarily in that order. In the fall of 1962, the Ole Miss football team had its most successful season in history. The Rebels went undefeated and finished 3rd in the nation just as the University erupted into riots over the enrollment of James Meredith.



Whether or not you know the story of the University of Mississippi's integration, whether or not you have any interest in football, whether or not you've even been to Mississippi—watch this film. It comes on again tonight at 9 pm EST on ESPN2, and will be shown several more times next month. 

Pride & Joy Shot List


Joe York's film Pride & Joy premiered to a rapt audience at the 2012 Southern Foodways Symposium in Oxford on October 17. Look for it in Atlanta and Brooklyn in December, and stay tuned for info about additional screenings and film festival appearances.

For now, here’s a shot list of all the characters you’ll meet in the film. (Click the links for oral histories or previous SFA short films about these subjects.)
  • Dori Sanders — peaches — Filbert, SC (SFA founding member; winner of the 2011 SFA Craig Claiborne Lifetime Achievement Award)
  • Rodney Scott — barbecue — Hemingway, SC
  • Lee Ross — caviar — Mississippi River, AR
  • Hardy Brothers — boiled peanuts — Hawkinsville, GA
  • Kendall Shellis — oysters — Apalachicola, FL
  • Thomas Stewart — oyster shucker — New Orleans, LA
  • Will Harris — grass-fed beef — Bluffton, GA
  • Julian Van Winkle — bourbon — Frankfort, KY
  • Ben Lanier — honey — Wewahitchka, FL
  • Allan Benton — country ham — Madisonville, TN
  • Geno Lee — pig ear sandwich — Jackson, MS (winner of the 2009 SFA/Ruth Fertel Keeper of the Flame Award)
  • Rhoda Adams — pies (and little things for the church) — Lake Village, AR
  • Leah Chase — gumbo z’herbes — New Orleans, LA (SFA founding member; winner of the 2000 SFA Lifetime Achievement Award)
  • Cherokee Baptist Church — church supper — Cherokee, NC
  • Martha Hawkins — fried chicken — Montgomery, AL (winner of the 2004 SFA/Ruth Fertel Keeper of the Flame Award)
  • Ida Mamusa – Southern lunch buffet (with a West African influence) — Richmond, VA
  • Slovachek’s Market — kolaches — Snook, TX
  • Earl Cruze — buttermilk — Strawberry Plains, TN (winner of the 2008 SFA/Ruth Fertel Keeper of the Flame Award)
  • Helen Turner — barbecue — Brownsville, TN
  • Bernard Colleton Family — squirrel gravy — Awendaw, SC
  • Red Coleman Family — stew — Coffeeville, MS
  • Sam and Bruce Jones — barbecue — Ayden, NC
  • Gerald Lemoyne — cochon de lait — Avoyelles Parish, LA
  • Bill Best —bean and tomato farmer; seed saver — Berea, KY 

Tuesday, October 30

The Decline and Rebirth of American Barbecue


One last post from our guest blogger Robert Moss. 

Thank you, Robert, for enlightening us about barbecue history here on the blog all summer and fall. 

You can follow Robert on Twitter at @mossr, and be sure to check out his book, Barbecue: The History of an American Institution (University of Alabama Press, 2010).

The theme of last weekend’s Southern Foodways Alliance Symposium was “Barbecue: An Exploration of Pitmaster, Places, Smoke, and Sauce,” and it underscored the fact that the barbecue tradition is alive and thriving in the early years of the 21st century. And that makes it all the more surprising that at a particularly low point in the 1970s, it looked like this three-century American tradition might actually die out.

Once the king of the American restaurant industry, barbecue had been eclipsed by hamburgers with the rise of national fast-food chains in the 1960s. It was a food that didn’t lend itself to speed, standardization, and low labor costs. Hardwood was becoming scarce, too, driving up costs for barbecue restaurateurs and forcing pitmasters to get creative and seek out sawmills and furniture factories for leftover scraps. Keith Stamey of Stamey’s Barbecue in Greensboro noted that it “used to be that we wouldn’t give out our recipes, but we’re now more secretive about our wood than our recipes.”

Across the country, health departments began tightening regulations on open pits, making it all but impossible in many parts of the country to start a new wood-burning operation. Often, when a barbecue restaurant was sold, the new owner would convert to gas or electric cookers because it was just too onerous to get a permit to operate the old wood pits.

In 1977, Alton Beck of Beck’s Barbecue in Lexington, North Carolina, predicted that good barbecue was on its way to extinction. “The state will stop it,” he told the Charlotte Observer. “You can’t build a new pit in Lexington. The one here are now operating under the grandfather clause.”

For many Americans, “barbecue” had come to mean not meat slow cooked over wood but rather something defined by the sauce it was served in. In the backyard, wood gave way first to charcoal and then to gas grills. The cookbooks of the 1960s and 1970s were filled with recipes for “barbecued chicken” that involved no fire at all, just a pan of chicken parts baked in barbecue sauce. Barbecue had strayed a long way from the pit.

Rodney Scott of Hemingway, SC, is one of the pitmasters keeping the whole hog tradition alive. Photo by Brandall Atkinson

But, starting in the 1980s, barbecue staged a comeback. Journalists like Max Brantley, Jerry Bledsoe, and Calvin Trillin started celebrating American’s historic barbecue joints. Vince Staten and Greg Johnson published Real Barbecue in 1988, a guidebook to the top 100 barbecue restaurants in the country. It marked for the first time a recognition that barbecue was a classic American food.

In 1996, when Lolis Eric Elie set off with photographer Frank Stewart on the culinary tour chronicled in Smokestack Lightning, he hypothesized that “this art, so vital to our national identity, was dying or at least endangered.” Just a decade later, when he revisited the subject in the preface to the book’s second edition, he admitted being amazed by barbecue’s resurgence, which he attributed to “a longing for the old ways. A longing so strong it has brought real barbecue to relative prominence in places where it was previously little more than a novelty.”

That longing has just continued to strengthen. Barbecue is now available in more parts of the country and in a wider variety than ever before. Chefs are trading in their toques for overalls and learning to pit cook whole hogs. Enough barbecue cookbooks are published each year to fill an entire bookcase, and famous pitmasters duke it out on reality TV shows. You can even buy a decent pulled pork sandwich in New York City.

It’s been a delight to share glimpses of barbecue history with the readers of the SFA blog this summer, and if the enthusiasm demonstrated at the Symposium is any indication, barbecue seems destined to remain an essential part of Southern foodways for many decades to come.


Lone Star Dispatch: More Barbecue, More Better


One last dispatch from guest blogger Daniel Vaughn, in which he relives his favorite meal of our recent symposium. 

Thanks for representing the Lone Star State in our Summer/Fall of BBQ blog, Daniel! 
You can follow Daniel Vaughn on Twitter at @bbqsnob. Look for his book, The Prophets of Smoked Meat (Ecco/Anthony Bourdain Books), with photos by Nicholas McWhirter, to hit shelves in 2013.



Tim Byres works beef-rib magic. Photo by Daniel Vaughn
Even with a bovine-free logo that prominently features the pig, the SFA had the wisdom to invite Tim Byres to cook at the annual Symposium. He brought a taste of Texas in the form of smoked beef ribs. These behemoth hunks of meat layered with generous melting fat are attached to bones the size of my forearm. This proved a counterpoint to the finely chopped whole hog at the next table over that—while luscious—seemed dainty by comparison.
Photo by Daniel Vaughn
 I consumed that hog in just a few bites but relished each nugget of meat, fat and black-pepper-infused crust that clung to the beef rib bone until I eventually gnawed its surface down to a clean white color.

"More barbecue, more better." Photo by Brandall Atkinson
These ribs symbolized what had become the theme of the evening after a costumed Brett Martin had argued the simple point of “More barbecue, more better” in a surreal Lincoln-Douglas style debate. Diners around me were equally enraptured by this salty hunk of beef, many of them stating that they’d never been impressed by beef ribs.

Really?
Photo courtesy of Andrew Knowlton
I guess it’s not that hard to fathom why a good beef rib is hard to come by. Many racks of beef ribs stacked impressively on a plate get all of their heft from bone. These are beef back ribs that are cut away from the rib roast leaving almost no meat on the bone. All that can be gnawed away is meat between the bones, and it can be very tough and sinewy.
Know your ribs: back ribs (L) and short ribs (R). Photo by Daniel Vaughn
If you’re lucky enough to visit a barbecue joint that serves beef short ribs (from the front end of the rib rack near the brisket) then you won’t be wanting for meat. There can be upwards of two pounds on a single bone, but it is loaded with collagen – more than most any other cut. This collagen provides a luscious texture if it’s adequately broken down, but chewing through an underdone short rib is seriously unrewarding.

What Tim Byres provided on this evening were beautifully rendered hunks of smoked meat and salty fat proving to Yankees and Carolinians alike that more barbecue is more better, even if it’s Texas beef.

Friday, October 26

Southern Six-Pack



What's better than a bucket full of Skittles and a cord of Twizzlers?  A bucket full of Skittles, a cord of Twizzlers, and a six-pack!  Happy Halloween! (Click and you'll find the perfect soundtrack for this Six-Pack)

1.  Wine and Halloween candy pairings can be tricky.  Too much sugar and too many artificial flavors.  What to do?  Put down that corkscrew and twist the top off a bottle of brown whiskey, the perfect pairing for Halloween chocolates.

2.  It's decorative gourd season.  Which means it's also pumpkin-as-an-ingredient season.  Ladies and Gentlemen, start your ovens. 

3.  Searching for a spooky wine or beer to tote to your Halloween party?  Ray Isle to the rescue!

4.  Before you put on your Zombie costume, watch this.  Let's see if you really have what it takes to make it as the living dead.  Brains! Brains! Brains! Indeed.

5.  Scare the life out of your Halloween Party hostess by showing up with one of these! 

6.  Still looking for a costume?  Look no further than TV for inspiration. Oh, and don't forget the kids.  Or the dog.







Feed the Piggy Bank in Virginia Beach, Nov. 8

Feed yourself, feed the piggy bank. Everybody wins! On Thursday, November 8, join host chef Rodney Einhorn of Terrapin Restaurant in Virginia Beach, VA, for a Piggy Bank Dinner. The event will feature Emile de Felice of Caw Caw Creek Pastured Pork in South Carolina and Doug Banks of Cultivate Wines. Pastured pork and great wines will share the spotlight, with de Felice and Banks on hand to talk about their ingredients and production methods. 

This event is a joint fundraiser for the SFA and the Chesapeake Bay Wine Classic Foundation. Enjoy a five-course supper with wine pairings and support two great causes.

Tickets are $250; click here to purchase via TicketLeap.

Click here to watch Ride That Pig to Glory, a film about Emile de Felice made by Joe York for the SFA.

Kitchen to Classroom: Let's Hear it for the Hog!

Photo by Alfred T. Palmer, 1943, courtesy of the Library of Congress.
A weekly dispatch from our postdoctoral fellow, Angela Jill Cooley.


After last week's symposium, I couldn't resist one more nod to barbecue scholarship.

In “‘How ‘bout a Hand for the Hog’: The Enduring Nature of the Swine as a Cultural Symbol,” historian S. Jonathan Bass of Samford University traces the importance of the pig from the antebellum South through the current day. Although popular culture often depicts the hog as a static symbol, Bass explains how this culinary staple remained important in the region because it adapted well to changing economic and social conditions.

Before the Civil War, according to Bass, Southerners raised hogs because the animal remained fairly self-sufficient, foraging for nuts and grains in the Southern landscape. The low maintenance cost and comparatively high yield of cultivating pork allowed the region’s yeoman farmers to depend upon the hog for their subsistence.

The Civil War, Bass explains, served as a turning point in the region’s pork history. Not only did the hog population decline during the war (dropping by more than 800,000 hogs in South Carolina, according to Bass), but also the “closing of the Southern range” in the decades that followed the war changed the way Southerners raised hogs as well as the composition of the hog itself. Bass explains that “pen-fed hog meat” contains a higher concentration of fat than its free-range predecessors.

According to Bass, Southerners and their pigs adapted well to modern culture. The nation’s first self-service grocery store, founded in Memphis, paid homage to the iconic fare with the name Piggly Wiggly. Southerners who had once socialized over annual hog killings now gathered at local barbecue joints—Dreamland in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, for ribs, or down the road in Bessemer at Bob Sykes for chopped pork shoulder. Regardless, Bass concludes, “the hog as a symbol of Southern culture persists…in the region’s continued obsession with pork consumption.”

Citation: S. Jonathan Bass, “‘How ‘bout a Hand for the Hog: The Enduring Nature of the Swine as a Cultural Symbol in the South,” 1, no. 3 Southern Cultures (Spring 1995): 301-320.

Thursday, October 25

Lone Star Dispatch: Questioning "Low & Slow"


From the keyboard of guest blogger Daniel Vaughn, aka @bbqsnob.

The mantra of the backyard pitboss or the competition guru may be "Low & Slow" when it comes to barbecue, but that isn't always the rule in Texas. Of course, many Lone Star barbecue joints hew to tradition. Franklin Barbecue gets plenty of accolades with its eighteen-hour brisket, and in the extreme case of Clark's in Tioga, it takes upwards of three days in the smoker to transform tough red meat into tender beef and hard white fat into a buttery chaser. This is low & slow, but it ain't all done this way.


Kreuz Market. Photos by Nicholas McWhirter
Cooper's Old Time Pit Bar-B-Q is a Hill Country destination for hunters, tourists, and even politicians. It gained national prominence when President George W. Bush called it his favorite barbecue, but patience is not a virtue with their meat. In an oral history interview with the SFA, owner Terry Wootan notes that the cooking time for "brisket is anywhere from three-and-a-half to five hours. Most of the time about four-and-a-half hours. Pork chops [their most famous cut]...we could cook those in probably thirty to forty minutes." Take it from me that the meat does not suffer from the hasty treatment, and they're able to do it so quickly because their meat is cooked directly over wood coals—not much different than grilling steaks on your charcoal grill at home.

Brisket and a pork chop from Cooper's.
The offerings at Cooper's.
Sacrilege, you say? Remember that the cooking apparatus which is still called a 'pit' is a lexicographic remnant from the days when holes were dug in the ground and meat was cooked on metal grates directly over the coals. This was the preferred method of another politician, LBJ, who favored the open pit style of his pitmaster-in-chief Walter Jetton. It was good enough for the Chancellor of West Germany at an event on LBJ's ranch which came to be known as the 'Barbecue Summit."

Even among cooks who use the new-fangled contraptions called indirect smokers, there are those who prefer hot & fast. Roy Perez of the famous Kreuz Market boasts smoker temps that reach 600 degrees routinely, while third generation pitmaster John Mueller cranks it up to 450 when cooking some of the best beef in Texas. All of these are just examples about how difficult and fruitless it is to impose rules and restrictions on what is and what is not barbecue. Meat and smoke can come together in many beautiful ways.

Meet Michael Twitty

Michael Twitty talks Southern Food with Dr. Henry Louis Gates.
Michael Twitty is a teacher, culinary historian, and historical interpreter based in the Washington, D.C. area. We caught up with him about his recent work, including the Cooking Gene Project, the Southern Discomfort Tour, and his quest to study and promote the foodways of the African diaspora in the American South.

SFA: Your Twitter handle, @koshersoul, suggests a blended heritage that we don't hear about every day. Could you tell us a little more about your background and how it has influenced your interest in culinary history?

Michael Twitty: “Koshersoul,” is my way of articulating one aspect of my food voice. The Jewish and African Diasporas have a global presence—and sometimes those presences have culturally and socially merged, especially in the South. I’m an African American convert to Judaism with Jewish ancestry, and I’ve learned to blend my heritages by looking at the emotional tone and historical contours of the food.

Fifteen years ago when I started reading Jewish cookbooks and culinary histories like John Cooper’s Eat and Be Satisfied, it made me hungry for the kind of parallel culinary history on the African American side that would expose people to a more complex account of the development, arrival and dynamism that was/is West and Central African cuisine in North America.

SFA: Tell us about this past summer's Southern Discomfort Tour. What were your goals, and what did you learn along the way?

MT: The Southern Discomfort Tour is just one part of the Cooking Gene Project, which uses food as a way to talk about and mitigate the scars of Southern history. Mainly, I'm looking at American slavery and its long-term effects, including issues of social justice and food culture; the debt to African civilizations for their influence on American cuisine; and how we can own our scars and still come to a place of healing and reconciliation. 

My definition of "South" includes the so-called border states—including Maryland, where I live—as well as the historic Confederacy, where my enslaved ancestors lived—in Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama. My colleagues and I have met and talked to amazing people—from the great-granddaughter of the last black man brought to this country on a slave ship; to a tenth-generation Creole chef from Mobile; to the grande dame of kosher Southern/Creole/Cajun cuisine in New Orleans; to an organic, Afrocentric food movement in Atlanta that is creating its own food system for the inner city; to Southern vegetarian, Venezuelan, and Kenyan chefs.

We re-created an 18th century enslaved community barbecue at Colonial Williamsburg, and there was something very spiritual about that.

I enjoyed tasting sweet potato cupcakes, white chocolate bread pudding, raw soul food wraps, and collard green ice cream in Atlanta; duck gumbo in Lafayette; and the pepper sauce I bought in Montgomery, packed into Snapple bottles. The South is more than its iconic dishes and its meat-and-threes—and that’s an exciting example of how this heritage is coming into the 21st century.

For the time being, as my colleagues and I conduct further expeditions and sort through the vast notes and 40,000 images we have so far, this project will continue to be the centerpiece of my work. I now feel I have ownership in this story because I am closer to the foodways of my ancestors.

SFA: You've cooked and/or eaten a lot of foods that are rarely seen or prepared in this century. What's your favorite "extinct" dish? What methods or ingredients would you advocate for bringing back to the table?

MT: First you have to start with the tools. I’m all about bringing back the standing mortar and pestle for making pottages from tubers, the porridge paddle for grains, and the mano and metate—better known to African communities as a grinding stone for herbs and spices. These were parts of a food system with a distinct food knowledge brought out of West and Central Africa.

I’ve always been obsessed with recreating those homegrown heirloom tastes because I think our foreparents took pride in being incredibly self-sufficient and sustaining. Take a dish like kush, for example…it’s a scramble of white cornbread baked golden, and you crush it and fry it with wild onion and hot pepper and grease of your choice, and you throw wild and cultivated herbs in there and these flavors jump out. It’s a dish that comes from Senegambia, (think: kush/kusha/coush-coush/couscous), and it was the delight of enslaved children. 

For me, guinea fowl roasted in cabbage leaves, persimmon beer, cushaw or sweet potato pumpkin, choupique/longnose gar, palmetto wine, tomato, soy, spicebush tea, black nightshade pie, and cala au congri—a type of black-eyed pea fritter eaten in Louisiana—are the kinds of foods we should consider resurrecting just because they illustrate the diverse food palette of a far more resourceful era.

#SFABBQ Podcasts: A Feast for your Ears

We're not necessarily saying that Michael Phelps was listening to SFA podcasts when he won all of those gold medals...but we're not not saying that, either.

Our 2012 symposium talks are now available as podcasts on iTunes and SoundCloud.

Visit our iTunes page and become a subscriber so that you don't miss any future podcasts!

On SoundCloud, you can listen to any of our symposium podcasts with one click. Follow us on SoundCloud to get all of our podcasts, and listen to them on your phone with the SoundCloud app.

Remember, symposium podcasts aren't our only audio offerings. Stay tuned throughout the year for Okracasts, oral history audio clips, and recordings of lectures and special events. Thanks for listening!

PS: Some of the podcast audio is on the quiet side, so we suggest taking a tip from Mr. Phelps and using headphones.

Wednesday, October 24

Should You Bottle Your Enthusiasm for Barbecue Sauce?

From the sauce-stained keyboard of guest blogger Adrian Miller.
How much would you pay for a bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce…if it were the last one on Earth? Well, earlier this week, someone shelled out nearly $10,000 in an eBay auction of a "circa-1992 plastic jug of McJordan BBQ sauce." Along with the sauce, the limited-run McJordan burger had a hamburger patty, mustard, cheese, onions, and bacon. This was yet another dab of evidence to me that when it comes to current barbecue culture, barbecue sauce is definitely "on top."  

Barbecue restaurants have long offered a variety of sauces, but they tended to be the same sauce with different amounts of chile powder added or hot sauce mixed in to create mild, medium and hot versions. Nowadays, a typical barbecue restaurant offers a trio or quartet of barbecue sauces that promise to transport your taste buds to a barbecue region of your choice…regardless of what the sauce covers.  In an instant, the distinctive elements that create a traditional regional style—the cuts of meat used, the flavor created from smoking that meat with a specific type of wood, and pairing the smoked meat with a certain sauce—get washed away. You want a "Carolina-style" beef brisket or "Carolina BBQ" Whopper sandwich? No problem! Just pour on this mustard-based sauce over it.
 The "Sample Sauce Plate" at Nordy's Bar-B-Que, Loveland, CO. C=Carolina-style, K=Kansas City style, T=Texas-style, and J=Jalapeno. Photo by Adrian Miller.
On a recent visit to Nordy's Bar-B-Que in Loveland, Colorado, I asked to sample their sauces. To my surprise, my server actually "painted out" the sauces on a plate—explaining each sauce's characteristics as he created this edible art. Putting aside questions of authenticity (e.g. Carolina sauces go beyond mustard, and not all Kansas City sauces are sweet), I was impressed. The sauces were good, but the ribs and brisket were tastier. I wish the server had carved a sampler plate of that before my very eyes! Look, there's nothing wrong with showing barbecue sauce some love, but let's not forget that it's the meat that should really matter.

You can follow Adrian Miller on Twitter at @soulfoodscholar.

Tuesday, October 23

Podcasts Are Up!

Visit our SoundCloud page for podcasts of the 2012 SFA symposium presentations. If the talk you want to listen to isn't posted yet, chances are it will be up this afternoon or tomorrow. These podcasts are great for the classroom, the commute—or for burning off excess barbecue at the gym.

Thanks for listening, and thanks again to our wonderful speakers!

Questions about the podcasts? E-mail Sara Camp Arnold at gravy.sfa@gmail.com.

Monday, October 22

Our 25-ish Favorite Tweets from #SFABBQ

The Twit-o-sphere was on fire (or make that up in smoke) this weekend with 140-character dispatches from our barbecue symposium. Here, a few of our favorites, in roughly chronological order. (Click images to enlarge)





If You Didn't Make It to Oxford (or if you made it and the details are fuzzy)

Thank you, thank you, and thank you to everyone who cooked, presented, listened, ate, drank, volunteered, or otherwise participated in our 15th Southern Foodways Symposium.

As we transition back into regularly scheduled blog programming, we'll also offer a series of recaps and highlights from the weekend.

If you're wondering about presentation podcasts, those are in the works as well! Check back on the blog tomorrow or look for announcements on Facebook and Twitter.

From left: Nicholas Pihakis, Samuel Jones, and Rodney Scott pull the whole hog on Saturday night.
In the meantime, you can revisit the weekend through our blog coverage of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday's events.

Read about our:
Thursday night photo and fashion exhibit
Thacker Mountain Radio and the World Premiere of Joe York's Pride and Joy
Friday morning taco breakfast, presentations, and "Cozy Andrew Michael Corner" lunch
Friday afternoon history lessons and love letters
Friday night awards and exploits
Saturday morning programming, from pastrami to poetry
Veggies for lunch and an afternoon with Alton Brown
Bathtub cocktails to big ol' beef ribs on Saturday night

Sunday, October 21

Why We're Blissful and Bleary-Eyed This Morning at the SFA Symposium

Saturday night at the SFA symposium, in words and pictures. 

Cocktails: Copper and Cane punch
Collier and McKeel Tennessee Whiskey, Champagne, Benedictine, Sorghum Syrup, and a touch of Greg Best magic, served up in the signature SFA cocktail bathtub

Longtime SFA member and volunteer Katie Rawson pours Copper and Cane punch. Katie is a PhD student in Liberal Studies at Emory University. 
University of Mississippi Southern Studies grad students Kate Hudson and Chelsea Wright tend the bars

Bites: Cornbread toasts with smoked shrimp sausage and pickled onions
Drew Robinson of Jim N Nick's Bar-B-Q smoked the shrimp sausage on a rack directly underneath Natalie Chanin's Alabama Chanin dresses. We think they gave each other a little something extra. 


A Lincoln-Douglas (literally) debate by Brett Martin and Wright Thompson
Resolved, that competition barbecue is an abomination and should be eliminated. Mr. Douglas (Thompson) on the affirmative, Mr. Lincoln (Martin) on the negative. Moderator Brett Anderson declared the debate a draw. In the world of barbecue, some arguments will never be resolved.   


SFA Craig Claiborne Lifetime Achievement Award: Ben and Karen Barker
Frank and Pardis Stitt presented the lifetime achievement award, a painting by Oxford artist Blair Hobbs, to their longtime friends Ben and Karen Barker of Durham, North Carolina. Citing a desire to spend more time with their children and grandchildren, the Barkers shuttered their legendary Magnolia Grill in May after twenty-five years in business. More than thirty years after meeting on the first day of culinary school, Ben said that Karen is still his muse. "No matter how good the dinner was, you really came to Magnolia Grill for a piece of Karen's pie."


Lodge Cast Iron Pit Feast, Woodson Ridge Farms
Featuring a laundry list of eats, drinks, tunes, and SFA touches
Tobacco Barn Brunswick Stew by Ed Mitchell of North Carolina
Hickory-smoked chicken with white sauce by Pat Martin of Tennessee
Post oak-smoked beef ribs by Tim Byres of Texas
1830 recipe whole hog barbecue by Samuel Jones of North Carolina 
Spoonbread, potato salad, coleslaw, collards, and cranberry bean gratin by Drew Robinson of Alabama
Beer from Fullsteam Brewery in North Carolina
Hogwash rose from Tuck Beckstoffer wines, California by way of South Carolina 
Fife and Drum grooves, clapping, dancing, and singing by Sharde Thomas and the Rising Star Fife and Drum Band of Mississippi
Impromptu fireworks by host chef John Currence
Washing machine campfires and haybale settees by SFA events maven Melissa Hall