Monday, June 11, 2012

On the Road Again: The South Carolina BBQ Trail.

Bum's Restaurant, Ayden, NC. Photo by Denny Culbert.


On Sunday, The Barbecue Bus (Denny Culbert and Rien Fertel) hit the road again to gather oral histories and photos for the Southern Foodways Alliance (SFA) and the University of Mississippi’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture. This trip: We document the pitmasters and barbecue institutions that are historically and socially significant to South Carolina’s culinary culture.

Our BBQ Trail itinerary will carry us through Upstate, the Lowlands, and Midlands of South Carolina. We’ll cover barbecue houses in all four of South Carolina’s sauce-varietal regions, from the mustard belt that extends through the State’s center toward Charleston, to the peppery vinegar country of the north-east coast, to the western tomato-based hinterlands. Additionally, we’ll explore the State’s diverse barbecue accoutrements, including hash, chicken stew, vegetable side-dishes, and desserts.

We’ll post interviews, photographs, and profiles here on The Barbecue Bus blog. More frequent updates from the road can be found @TheBarbecueBus. At the culmination of the trip, the oral histories will be added to the SFA’s online Southern BBQ Trail. The SFA’s oral history program, led by Amy Evans, has collected more than 600 oral histories across the South.

Since The Barbecue Bus completed the North Carolina BBQ Trail in November and December of last year, we’ve been very busy. Denny recently worked as the Official Photographer for Lafayette, Louisiana’s twenty-sixth annual Festival International de Louisiane. Rien began writing a column, Past & Repast, for the Oxford American online. Denny and Rien recently collaborated on two articles for The Local Palate magazine, one featuring the Zydeco musician Cedric Watson. And, on March 17th, Denny married his sweetheart Katie Frayard in a surprise garden ceremony, with Rien officiating.

Next week, The Barbecue Bus will assist in guiding the SFA’s (sold out!) High on the Hog Carolina Field Trip through eastern North Carolina. They’ll revisit some of their favorite personalities and pits from the area, including: James Henry Howell, pitmaster, and Samuel Jones, manager, of the Skylight Inn in Ayden; Bum and Larry Dennis of Bum’s Restaurant, also in Ayden; and the “Highly Seasoned Food” from Stephen and Gerri Grady of Grady’s Barbecue in Dudley.

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