Book Review Archives

Barbecue: The History of an American Institution

By: Robert F. Moss
Reviewed by: Marianne Moates Weber
The University of Alabama Press, 2010
$26, Hardcover

Not many things tug at our primal urgings more than meat based in spicy sauce and roasted over an open fire. If I drive past a hole in the wall diner with smoke curling from its chimney, my mouth waters like Pavlov’s pup. The same goes for Robert F. Moss, barbecue aficionado, who spent a decade researching and writing Barbecue: The History of an American Institution.

While we Southerners like to lay claim to barbecue as our unique creation, the scrumptious concoction arrived on our shores several hundred years ago via the Caribbean islands to the plantations in Tidewater Virginia. The Europeans brought pigs that quickly multiplied and became easy targets for hungry settlers. Thus barbecue as a social event was born. As the settlers marched westward, they took barbecue with them. Barbecues became so p