Barbecue from the Master

Dad at the pit.

Margie made some Brunswick stew a week or so ago and brought me a quart of it. We got to talking about my dad and how he was one of the great barbecue kings I ever knew.

Then, the unusual happened. Out of nowhere yesterday a photo of Dad making barbecue in a pit for a group of physicians in Augusta, Ga., in about 1958 fell out of a pile of papers and onto my desk. I was taken aback by it. It’s one of only a very few photos of Dad that I have.

Dad cooked open pit barbecue, laying the fire and staying with the meat (usually a whole pig) overnight, spreading on the sauce and turning the pig at just the right time. I can still taste the sweetness of it.

But that wasn’t all. Dad generally made Brunswick stew as a side dish and its taste lingers, as well. I have never in my life tasted its equal (sorry, Margie; yours was very good, but Dad’s was … well Dad’s). And, unfortunately, try as I might, I’ve never been able to equal its taste nor its wonderful consistency.

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Dan Smith is an award-winning journalist in Roanoke, Va., and a member of the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame. He is an author, photographer, essayist, father and grandfather. Co-founder of Valley Business FRONT magazine and founder of the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference. On Advisory Board of New River Voice.

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