Alex Massie

Belgian BBQ in Memphis

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American breakfasts are pretty good, or at least as fine as can be expected from a meal that doesn't include black pudding. But there's no doubting that the United States' greatest culinary marvel is proper BBQ. It's the finest American food there is. Porcine perfection.

And BBQ is going international, according to this lovely piece in the Washington Post:

It's difficult enough for any new team to compete in the Super Bowl of Swine, which sends smoke wafting over downtown Memphis for three days every year. There are rules (written and unwritten) and traditions aplenty in this 30-year-old contest, which drew 125,000 spectators to one of the cradles of American barbecue culture. But it takes sheer guts to fly over from a part of the world where this way of cooking is fledgling at best and to try to speak the complicated language of barbecue with a French, Estonian or Norwegian accent...

The more, the merrier, says Jim Boland of Memphis, who was helping the Norwegian team. Boland has competed in Ireland and says true barbecue (rather than high-heat grilling) is "embryonic" in Europe, but the spirit is strong. "These guys are the pioneers," Boland said, referring to the foreigners in Memphis. "It's like the Oklahoma land rush."

Indeed it must be. If there's any sunshine this summer, it will soon be time for ribs and brisket and pulled pork here too.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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