Barbecue History Part 6
The key to good barbecue is a constant basting of the meat while it slow-cooks. No southern barbecue could be considered done unless the meat was “saturated with blistering sauces.” Cooks repeatedly basted the barbecuing meat until it was an “aromatic brown.” Basting sauces differ across the South. A basting recipe the former slaves Louis Hughes recalls from the 1830s contains “butter, pepper, salt, and vinegar.” The butter prevents the baste from rolling completely off the barbecuing meat when it is mopped on. The pit masters who ran the barbecue operation for his master in Virginia “basted the carcasses with” the sauce “until the meat were ready to serve,” says Hughes.