Exhibit explores rise of barbecue

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In North Carolina, we love our tasty, regional, home-grown barbecue, whether we can agree on it or not.

From the earliest history of cooking meats over flames and coals to modern methods, North Carolina has a proud barbecue tradition, featured at family and community gatherings across the state. Whether at a backyard grill, a community event or a traditional wood fire pit at a local restaurant, delicious barbecue can be found in every North Carolina county and in every corner of our history.

“The Story of BBQ in North Carolina” exhibit at the N.C. Transportation Museum in Spencer explores the emergence of hog cultivation and food made from them as a centerpiece of many gatherings.

Barbecue restaurants from across North Carolina are represented, with eastern, western and piedmont styles featured. Sauces, shirts and the tools of barbecue cooking are displayed. Local favorites are highlighted, including Lexington Barbecue from the piedmont’s barbecue capital, College Barbecue and Marlowe’s BAR-B-Q and Seafood of Salisbury and Hendrix Barbecue of Spencer.

The exhibit also fuels the debate about sauces and condiments, even as it seeks to explain that the eastern vinegar base and the western tomato ketchup enhanced versions really aren’t that different.

The exhibit is available with regular museum admission, $6 for adults, $5 for seniors/military, $4 for children 3-12, and free for ages 2 and under. Admission plus the museum’s on-site train ride is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors/military, and $8 for ages 3-12.

This exhibit is on loan from the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.