The south has given us seersucker, sweet tea and a very, very passive aggressive way to address our adversaries. Bless your heart.
But even with that said, the sauciest thing to come out of the South is barbecue.
Barbecue is a big deal in the south. If you hail from Texas, North Carolina, Kentucky or anywhere in between, you have a more refined appreciation for the flavors of your favorite cuts of ‘cue than do your northern neighbors. You were raised with it, and you probably know between 10 to 20 local pit masters you can call by their first name.
But now these southern secrets are being shared.
According to Southern Living, two faculty members at Wofford College—a small liberal arts school located in Spartanburg, in upstate South Carolina—developed a course that teaches students this fine southern art. The month-long course was part of the college’s Interim program, that offers students a full course in the month of January. Undergraduates spent three hours a day, five days a week, studying and practicing every detail of barbecue.
Dr. David Alvis and Coach Eric Nash designed the course with two distinct sections.
“We wanted to teach the history first so that students would learn that food isn’t just an abstract thing. It’s part of a culture, part of a community,” Alvis told Southern Living.
The second part involved hands-on cooking techniques. Each student was required to prepare, cook and present one cut of meat per week to be ranked on a 10-point scale for execution and creativity.
The lessons of the course changed over time as the faculty realized there were obstacles in turning a group of students into pit masters in a month.
“I started out wanting to make students professional barbecue chefs by the end of the month, but I realized that was insane,” said Alvis. “There were some disasters. They almost burnt my grill. so my goal became more to help students appreciate food not just for its taste, but for its cultural context.”
The end of the course included guest speakers and a barbecue competition held at local brewery RJ Rockers with a community-wide taste test.
Alvis and Nash plan to offer the course every other year.
But for those who can’t spend a month in early 2019 in the hills of South Carolina cooking barbecue and consuming calories, you can still be let in on the instructors’ biggest lesson: The best barbecue in the world is that which is shared.
(h/t Southern Living)