A History of Barbecue as related by "Big Jim".


A History of Barbecue as told to me by my Great-Grandfather This is a history of the cooking of meats, called Barbecue as told to me many years ago by my Great-Grandfather Charles Roy May (Uncle Charlie) of Penile, Florida which is near Palatka, just north of the Ocala National Forest near what is called The Scrub.

Here in Uncle Charlie's own words, as best as I can remember after 50 years, is the account of this historic event.

"Barbecue has been around , in one form or another, for a long time. In fact some of my ancestors, living near, what is now Micanopy, Florida, about12,000 or so years ago discovered "Q" one day when lighting struck a Blackjack Oak tree under which they were eating some raw meat, when the lighting struck the tree it scared them so bad that they ran away, leaving the raw meat lying under the tree. As the tree burned some of the limbs fell onto and around the meat. After a while when their wits returned, they snuck back to the tree and discovered the meat had been transformed into black chunks. Since they were still hungry, and would eat any thing that wouldn't eat them first, they started to eat the meat. Man O Man was it good. Afterward every time they found a fire and had some meat they put it in the fire. After a while they found that if they stuck a sharp stick in the ground and stuck a chunk of meat on the end of it , it didn't waste so much of the meat by burning it and there was more to eat.

By the time that Columbus reached the Americas he found that the natives as far away as the West Indes were cooking meat on racks over coals. They called it BARBACOA.

Columbus or one of them guys from Spain brought hogs with him to Florida and since they breed like rabbits they soon spread as far as North Carolina. Where years later, Dave Linebacks kinfolks, learned how to cook pig shoulders in closed pits over hot coals using a mixture of oak and hickory Some Itialian neighbors of theirs had some wine go bad (turned to vinegar) so they gave it to Linebacks kin and they mixed it with some red pepper flakes they had and found that it was good on the pig shoulders after they were "Q'ed". These people were real poor and hungry and didn't want to wait for the meat to be sliced so they just grabbed peices and pulled it off the bone and ate it. This is how the term "pulled pork" originated.

You might hear one of them say "Woman pull me some more of thet thar pork ofen thet thar bone"

Meanwhile some more of Columbus countrymen came to Florida in bigger boats. They brought cattle with them. Some of them got loose and wandered off to Texas. When they got out near Glen Rose, there was a hungry bunch of folks name of Maynard that found one and put it on a spit. They had one of the little kids turn the spit . Well the little kid got bored and started to play with the meat. A couple large pieces fell off the carcass into the fire. Little Belly didn't want a whipping so he just covered the meat up with dirt and ashes and coals and the rest is BBQ history. He had discovered Beef Brisket. They did not have BlackJack for the cooking so they used Mesquite." One weird thing they started doing to briskets was to pour Dr. Pepper on it.

So you can see there is a lot more to the history of our Great Nation's Barbecue than is given credit for in the history books. As we can see all BBQ started in what is now North Central Florida and spread to other areas where they have tried to take credit for this most wonderful of discoveries.

To the best my knowledge this is a true and accurate account of the development of the cooking process called Barbecue.

I was only 6 years old then and that is the way I remember it.



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Created on ... March 2, 2001