Moss, is humor writer from Tennessee. She writes a
weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny
things that happen to everyone.
She has written for the Daily News of Kingsport, Griffin Journal,
Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton
Advocate, and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News
Journal. She has been
published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks
at Guidepost Books. Her articles have appeared in
numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.
She is a
former board member and past Editor of the Columnists.com, website of the National Society of Newspaper
oldest and largest professional organization
for columnists. She is the Web Editor of
Humorists.com and a founder of the Southern Humorists writers'
organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of HumorColumnist.com.
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Online Since 1999
barbecue, or "pulled pork," as we call it, is a
southern delicacy. Recipes are closely guarded secrets. You
might as well ask for a Texas chili cook-off recipe, the
ingredients of a gourmet coffee blend in Seattle, or how to make
that green stuff that your mother-in-law brings to family
It is the way the pork is barbecued that gives it the delicious
taste. You can slow cook a pork loin roast in a crock-pot until
it so tender that it falls apart when pulled with a fork, but it
won't fool anyone except the family dog. To make real pulled
pork, it is necessary to slow roast pork over an open pit using
wood so that the hickory, wood-smoked taste is cooked through
In spite of "Eat More Pork" advertising campaigns, you
usually don't find pulled-pork except in the South. When I lived
in St. Louis, barbecue always had a heavy, sweet tomato-based
sauce, probably due to the proximity of Kansas City and the beef
market. Beef seems to demand a heavy sauce. Southern barbecue,
on the other hand, is usually cooked without any sauce, and a
light sauce is added just before eating it on cornbread. Most
places have hot or mild sauce, just like they have sweet or
Around these parts, barbecue is often Memphis style, cooked
using a dry rub. Other types of recipes center around other
regions of the South, such as a famous vinegar-based sauce in
the Carolinas, good only if you like vinegar any place other
than in coleslaw. Some restaurants make their own secret sauce,
and may even sell it. Actually, there are a million different
sauces on the market and you will probably never find the
perfect sauce -- unless you are a celebrity with a marketing
There are a now a lot of slick barbecue restaurants that are
franchised chains and some of them are actually trying to do it
right. Often, however, the small independent places are better
than large chains. You can easily spot a good barbecue place
because the worse the restaurant looks, the better the barbecue.
Pork is a traditional food in the south as pigs are easy to
raise and also because southerners like everything greasy, even
vegetables. In some places, such as Texas, beef is used instead
of pork due to the abundance of cattle. Most southerners do not
consider beef "real" barbecue, though, regardless of
how much Texans brag.
If you really want to try a home recipe and have a smoker grill,
you may be able to come fairly close to the real thing. Buy a
high quality pork roast. Order a sauce off the net that sounds
like what you want, or do the best you can at the grocery store.
Keep changing methods until you get the taste you want -- or
want the taste you get - depending on what your patience will
As for me, I don't even try to barbecue when so many others do
it so well. I just run down to the drive-thru and order up a
pint to go, much to the relief of the local fire department, who
voted my home most likely to burn down from a cookout disaster.
Not everyone agrees on a definition for barbecue, even in the
South, and there are numerous variations. It is generally agreed
that barbecue is slow-cooked, while the rapid cooking of meat
over open flame or charcoal is considered grilling. That is, unless the slow cooking method is
called "smoking" and grilling is called
"barbecuing," just to keep things as confusing as
possible. The really strange thing about cooking pulled pork is
that nobody at all calls it frying, in spite of the fact that
the pork is saturated in its own lard.
There is not only no agreement on the definition of barbecue,
there is not even any agreement on the spelling. Some call it
barbecue. Some call it barbeque. Sometimes it's Bar-B-Q, or even
BBQ if they don't have enough letters to spell the entire word.
Regardless, the one thing everyone agrees on is that it's not
the spelling that's important anyhow, it's the cooking and the
Copyright 2006 Sheila Moss
Nashville, TN 37219
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