It's that time of year down here in Florida when we fire up the grill as often as possible. Georgia made Barbecues popular and the excerpt below comes from The Strand Magazine ©1898 at the end of the 19th century when Barbecues had traveled the country and large groups gathered to enjoy the feasts. After the pictures is an excerpt from Current Opinion ©1895 that gives a great description of a Georgian Barbecue.
By John R. Watkins.
O one who has had the good fortune to attend a barbecue will ever forget it. The smell of it all, the meat slowly roasting to a delicious brown over smoking fires, the hungry and happy crowds waiting in patience until the spits are turned for the last time, and the clatter of thousands of dishes as they are set upon the long tables before the hungry multitude—all this lingers in the memory, and makes one long to see a '"cue" again.
For " "cue " is what they call it in Georgia, where it has been famous for many, many years. England has'its roast beef and plumpudding dinners, Rhode Island its clambakes, Boston its pork and beans, but Georgia has its barbecue which beats them all.
And the article continues Here
However there are some great pictures of these barbecues in the magazine which I'm posting below:
Just as the Creole Kitchen represents the living of the Southern coast country, so the Georgia Barbecue gives an insight into a true open-air Southern feast. Whoever first thought of a barbecue, and why it should be strictly Southern, is not on record. It is just as easy to make a pit, fill it with coals, and roast meat over it in New Hampshire as it is in this State, and yet barbecues are associated exclusively with the life of the South. Perhaps it was the art of Southern cooking that established their fame and made it noted as one of the royalest of feasts. The inner Georgia man longs for the barbecue. About the first of June you will hear the male folks around the dry-goods boxes in Southern towns expressing their longing for the barbecued meat, with the longing for gore of the giant in Hop o' My Thumb, and the result is that a feast of this kind is quickly planned to be held on the farm of one of the hungry parties. The barbecue is in the Exposition grounds, on the left side of the entrance, in a shady nook with a spring near by—for no barbecue is complete without this rock-incased living stream of water. Neither is it perfect without the long tables rudely made of boards beneath the trees. The Georgia Colonel who has charge of this feast is a famous cook; he is from Wilkes County, Ga., the place where barbecues first originated, and has inherited his talents from past generations. The process of barbecuing sounds barbarous, and it is one of the relics of barbarity that it will take a long time for Georgians to cultivate a dislike for.
The night before the roast, Col. Calloway had his men make a fire of pine bark in the pit. This fire is kept up all night, and in the morning the earth is red hot, through and through, for several feet. In another pit another fire is kept constantly burning, so as to replenish the roasting pit with hot coals. The carcasses are speared through by hickory limbs, and laid across the fire, to be turned from time to time until done. Some barbecue authorities baste the meat as it cooks, but Col. Calloway's method is to cook the meat without basting, and then lay it, when done and cut, into great dishes of gravy made of butter and highly seasoned with pepper, salt, and vinegar. The genuine barbecue begins at 12 o'clock, and, though you may not be hungry, you begin to be so when you sniff the savory odors from afar. There is something indescribably delicious about meat cooked in this way, and delicious, too, are the other things that go with it. There is a succulent stew made of corn, tomatoes, ochra, onions, carrots, green peppers, and meat boiled to shreds, which forms an important part in the barbecue menu; and another stew is made of the tongues, heads, and feet of pigs whose carcasses have been roasted. This is good, but very rich, and likely to make one see the dreams that little boys see the night after Christmas. The strangers gather in crowds to watch the roasting over the pit, and they seem to enjoy the life about it quite as much as the culinary part, for the genuine little negro of the Topsy type, the country cracker with his weary, forlorn wife, his swarm of children, and their yellow dog, can be found here in their natural state.