A college in South Carolina has added a barbecue class to the curriculum, and you'd be surprised how much there is to learn about barbecue!
According to BBQ Hub, the college is Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and they offer one-month mini-semester classes that teach students about subjects outside of their regular curriculum. The students in the barbecue class study the history of barbecue, visit different barbecue restaurants, cook barbecue of their own and even have an end-of-semester cook-off.
The class is taught by David Alvis, an associate professor of political science, and Eric Nash, the school's offensive line coach for the football team. Southern Living reports that the class starts off with a history lesson on barbecue. “We read about 60 pages a night,” said Alvis. “We wanted to teach the history first so that students would learn that food isn’t just an abstract thing. It’s part of a culture, part of a community.”
The class gets to read such works as: "Barbecue: The History of an American Institution" and "Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue." With barbecue being such a big part of southern culture, it only makes sense that there's a rich history tied to it.
Next, the class learns hands-on barbecue cooking techniques. Students work with Coach Nash to prepare, cook and present a cut of meat each week. The grade is based on a 10-point scale for execution and creativity.
“I started out wanting to make students professional barbecue chefs by the end of the month, but I realized that was insane. There were some disasters. They almost burnt my grill,” said Alvis. “So my goal became more to help students appreciate food not just for its taste, but for its cultural context.”
That sounds even better. Finally, the cook-off takes place, and the students present their recipes using the techniques learned in class, using beer brines and the like. They even had the cook-off in a brewery, whose CEO claimed that this was only natural, since beer and barbecue are meant to be together.