Southern Barbeque and the "Secret Sauces" have been a tradition in our family since the 1800's. And I suppose it is quite safe to say that Pig Pickin' in general, has been going on for as long as anyone can remember... good old fashioned BBQ.
Going "whole hog" is what we call it where we come from, barbeque that is. And "Barbeque" means "pork", on either side of the state. Around here it means a "whole pig" served with all the fixin's. I do have to say though that a chicken or two might get thrown in just for the city folks at a pickin'. I will share a way to fix that chicken good as any you ever had. (And yep, it involves the "Secret Sauce"...) There is just nothin' better than a good ol' Pig n Chickin Pickin'.
It is said that there used to be pigs scattered in the woods everywhere in the South after the war between the states. Surely wild pigs were around even before that, so I think it is safe to say there has always been lots of sittin' around a fire and cookin' in Eastern North Carolina. But in the days after that terrible war I reckon when you caught one of those pigs it was a time for a celebration. And I figure that celebration was when Southern Pig Pickin' must have been born. Hog killin' time would come when the weather got cool and the flies were all gone... that in itself was something to celebrate! The men folk would be doing the pig killin' (some pig stealin'?) and then cooking and drinking while the women folk were doing the fixin's... the more things change the more they stay the same. That is just the way it has always been.
| Over time, in the South, Pig Pickin' also came to mean politics. Many a politician has sponsored (or has surely taken over) a Pig Pickin' in the last 140 years. Many a church event or fire department fundraiser has been built around a pig pickin'. They are a pretty big deal; a community event that cuts across racial lines, class, and all ages. |
When that pig is cooked, there are of course things that have "got" to be done and done right... You sure could "burn a lot of powder" arguing over the best way to cook a pig... and by popular request we are going to work on a “how to” feature of cooking that pig.
Here is my Great Grandfather, Edward Hoell Foley, (front 4th from the left) and his crew in Greenville, NC in 1916. They are flanked by officers E. Roundtree and D.B Overton... surely all barbeque lovers!
I hear people had been shot in such arguments over how to cook a pig. But in general, I've seen only a few punches thrown. Mostly, if you have someone in charge... maybe someone with a good right cross... and you fix the pig up right, and you control that heat just right, the cookin' ends up being a lot a watchin', storytelling, lies and drinking... but I wouldn't know much about that. The pig won't cook itself but this is the kind of cookin' most guys seem to like. What I do know is there is always a lot more help with the "watching" and drinking than there ever is for the cleaning up!!
But now there is of course that "Secret Sauce". That's what we've got here. It has started fights, though thankfully I truly don't recall anyone ever being killed. Oh, there have been spies, and marriage proposals, offers of luxury items and favors, but I am proud to say they all have come to no avail. A "secret" is a secret after all... The sauce was generally just called "the sauce". But over time there has been pressure to name it. I imagine some of those names might even have helped start some of those fights, but a real name had never been put to it. That is until I figured out where it was born and found an old song that said it all... I've learned over the years you can leave North Carolina but you'll always be trying to get back. “Makes no difference where I wander, any place I chance to roam. When the golden sun sinks in the West, then I think of home.”
As for that "Secret Sauce", it has to be called Carolina Sunshine Bar B Q Sauce. It's still a secret; and a GOOD ONE! Probably "the best sauce you've never had."™