Moon Staff Blog
About this blog
The Moon Water Cooler is a place for Moon staffers to share what's new in their world. Check back often to hear about author events, book releases, travel trends, and maybe even some staff recommendations for what part of the world to explore next.
- Two Reasons This Week is Awesome: Earth Day and National Park Week
- The Glory, the Groundwork, and the Grind of Travel Writing
- Finding Pizza Nirvana in Nashville
- Guest Interview: Exploring Offbeat Mexico with Churpa Rogers
- Guest Interview: The People's Guide to Mexico Authors Carl Franz and Lorena Havens
- Guest Post: Top 10 Gifts for Road Trippers
- Hawaii Giveaway Winner Announced
- Win a Round-Trip Ticket to Hawaii from Moon and Hawaiian Airlines!
- Why Moving to Belize Isn’t as Hard as You’d Think
- From Dosas to Dumplings: My Eight Favorite Toronto Restaurants
- Guest Post: At Least We Have Pizza – The Cost of Living in Mexico vs. New York City
- Hawai'i: A Foodie Paradise — Part Two
- Hawai'i: A Foodie Paradise — Part One
- Exploring California via Road Trip with Moon California Road Trip
- Enjoying the Outdoors in the Black Hills of South Dakota
There was a real dilemma on my computer screen.
Maybe it was pre-lunch, hunger-induced confusion, but there I was, poring over barbecue photos online. My assignment: find a tasty photo to accompany an article about South Carolina-style barbecue on Moon.com. The problem? I’m a West Coast born-and-raised type who wouldn’t know a plate of hash if it walked across my desk waving a palmetto flag. And I knew it.
If that seems a bit dramatic, consider this: I know enough about barbecue to identify a few famous regions and to be aware that there are specific, identifiable, controversial differences between them. Which is where I got fuzzy. Memphis has the sauce on the side. Wait, is it the Carolinas that have the sauce on the side? And where exactly should I put that coleslaw?
In short, I was in over my head.
In my central-coast Californian childhood, “good barbecue” meant Santa Maria-style tri-tip, cooked for hours over oak, garnished with fresh salsa and preferably consumed directly next to the grill it’d been cooked on. After good barbecue came anything with the squeeze-bottled brown liquid labeled “barbecue sauce”. That’s the extent of my expertise—but as far as Santa Maria barbecue is concerned, I’d know it anywhere, and more importantly, I’d know what it isn’t. And my dilemma counted on you to do the same.
After some mouthwatering research (Memphis, molasses sauce; Carolina style has a vinegar base, never a coleslaw topping; and yes, I now know Texas loves its smoked meats purely sauceless), I’d learned a little about barbecue styles and a lot about food culture. Because while it may be hard to agree on which rub, sauce, chop, or smoke is best, here’s something meat-loving foodies everywhere will confirm: it is good to think about barbecue. To quote our author Jim Morekis, barbecue is “one of life’s greatest luxuries, but one without which a person cannot be said to be truly living.”
So if you’ve got a recipe to share for South Carolina mustard sauce, I’m all ears. And for the record, I ran my final photo pick (above) by a Southern barbecue connoisseur, who confirmed its appropriateness. Phew.
Marketing Services Manager