I’m not a huge fan of Oklahoma. I’m not even sure if I really enjoy traveling for traveling’s sake, or if I’m just glad to be out of the ice- or heat-oppressed plans. But if you were to ask me what one of my favorite things about this land is, I would say one word to you, but I would say it using three capital letters: BBQ.
Here’s what’s great about barbecue: it’s a specialty of the South and midwest. I once ate barbecue in Times Square, New York, and I consider it one of the saddest days of my life. A) It wasn’t my decision, and B) I was only in New York for about 4 days, and I was eating the pride of Oklahoma cuisine. Whatever. Let’s not go there.
Since barbecue (heretofore referred to as ‘BBQ,’ to borrow some lawyer language*) is a specialty of certain American regions, I can make the bold statement of “It is America,” and not feel bad about leaving anyone out. Even people in Maryland would agree.
The great thing about barbecue is that, in general, a barbeque restaurant is referred to as a ‘joint’ – a ‘barbecue joint.’ When you get into specifics, things start to get even more awesome. An example, you say? Well, some of my favorite barbecue restaurant names (Edit: NAMES, not actual places to eat [cough cough Dickey’s sucks cough]) are Van’s Pig Stand in Norman, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit in Norman, Elmer’s BBQ (It Be Bad!) in Tulsa, and Black Jaxx in my hometown of Oologah, Oklahoma.
There’s a culture that exists in barbecue. “You want okra with that, honey?” “Yes, please, and some pah-taytuh salad.” The people serving it are happy to be serving it – proud to death of their little barbeque joint. And even if you’re not at a restaurant, the man on the grill or the smoker monitors that slow cooker like it’s his baby taking its first steps. It’s a beautiful thing, this barbecue.
It means summertime, freedom, sunshine and country music. Even if you don’t like country music, you know you can’t listen to Ke$ha or Coolio (am I right, my friends?) and feel alright with yourself near the smoker. You also know the old saying:
He who smokes the meat chooses the beat. –Lauren Burns
I was inspired to tell the world about barbecue today when I picked it up with my Okie friend Megan. On our to-go cups (Which were filled with sweet tea, duh, and are reusable – score!), is stated:
THE ONLY CUP
BiG ENOUGH FOR
Then it lists franchise information. But that’s irrelevent.*
Happy barbecue-in’, summertime friends.
* Obviously I got sick of typing ‘BBQ.’
* Unless, of course, you want to start your own Dickeys, in which case you call 866.340.6188 or go to dickeys.com. Best of luck to you.