Jim Auchmutey-Smokelore: A Short History of Barbecue in America

Jim Auchmutey


Jim Auchmutey is an author and veteran journalist in Atlanta. He worked as a reporter and editor at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for 30 years, specializing in stories about the South and its culture. He was twice named writer of the year by the Cox newspapers chain and was honored by the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards. His food stories have won awards from the Association of Food Journalists, the Sigma Delta Chi journalism society and the James Beard Foundation. He was a co-founder of the Southern Foodways Alliance at the University of Mississippi and a consulting curator for the Barbecue Nation exhibition at the Atlanta History Center, which inspired his latest book. He appeared at the 2015 Decatur Book Festival to speak about his previous book, The Class of ’65: A Student, a Divided Town, and the Long Road to Forgiveness.


Smokelore: A Short History of Barbeque in America, Sponsored by Savi Provisions

Barbecue: It’s America in a mouthful. Jim Auchmutey follows the delicious and contentious history of barbecue in America from the ox roast that celebrated the groundbreaking for the U.S. Capitol building to the first barbecue launched into space almost two hundred years later. Along the way, he considers the mystique of barbecue sauces, the spectacle of barbecue contests, the global influences on American barbecue, the roles of race and gender in barbecue culture, and the many ways barbecue has been portrayed in our art and literature. It’s a spicy story that involves noted Americans from George Washington and Abraham Lincoln to Louis Armstrong, Elvis Presley, Martin Luther King Jr., and Barack Obama.

Interviewer: Susan Puckett

Susan Puckett is a Decatur-based food writer and former AJC food editor. She co-wrote Turnip Greens & Tortillas: A Mexican Chef Spices Up the Southern Kitchen with chef Eddie Hernandez, and collaborated with Miller Union chef Steven Satterfield on Root to Leaf, Daron “Farmer D” Joffe on Citizen Farmers, and most recently The Deep End of Flavor: Recipes and Stories from New Orleans’ Premier Seafood Chef, with Stone Mountain native Tenney Flynn. Her culinary travelogue, Eat Drink Delta: A Hungry Traveler’s Journey Through the Soul of the South, was named one of 10 Books All Georgians Should Read by the Georgia Center for the Book in 2014.

  • Culinary Stage presented by Springer Mountain Farms
  • Sat 12:30-1:15p Cooking

Smokelore: A Short History of Barbecue in America

No other food captures the essence of America like barbecue. The story of barbecue touches on almost every aspect of our history, from indigenous culture and slavery to the Civil War and the settling of the West, from the coming of immigrants and the Great Migration to the rise of the automobile and the growth of suburbia. Gender, race, commercialism, craft – barbecue has a curious, delicious, and contested back story. Smokelore tells it in a popular history augmented with 26 recipes and 205 images, many of them rarely seen before.

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