The Story of Barbecue in N.C.

  • Dates: July 5, 2019 - September 29, 2019
  • Recurrence: Recurring daily
  • Presenting Organization: City of Raleigh Museum
  • Venue: City of Raleigh Museum (COR Museum)
  • Location: Downtown Raleigh
  • Address: 220 Fayetteville St., Ste. 100, Raleigh, NC 27601
  • Phone: 919.996.2220
  • Times: Tues.-Sat., 9am-4pm; Sun., 1-4pm
  • Admission: Free


The City of Raleigh Museum is hosting a traveling exhibition “The Story of Barbecue in N.C.” at the downtown museum beginning Friday, July 5. The installation is sure to be a fan favorite as it examines the history of barbecue and its continuing place in North Carolina culture. The installation was created by The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, with financial support from the N.C. Pork Council. The exhibit will run through September.

From its early history in the Caribbean to modern day “East versus West” style discussions, barbecue is alive and well in our state, and the exhibit will chronicle its evolution. Pirates on Hispaniola barbecued pigs and cattle left behind by the Spanish in the 1500s. Explorer John Lawson was served “barbakued” venison, fish and peaches by the Santee Indians. Enslaved men working in pits produced barbecue in the South. North Carolina has a strong barbecue tradition, featured at family and community gatherings across the state. Barbecue can be found in every North Carolina county and in every corner of our history. Raleigh has its own traditional spots for barbecue, starting with Clyde Cooper’s Restaurant that opened in 1938 and is still serving today, alongside newcomers like The Pit.

Visitors can enjoy ten illustrated fabric panels that highlight the social importance, cultural adaptations, methods of preparation, and the science behind barbecue. In addition, the exhibit includes display materials, t-shirts and sauces from various pits across the state (including local venue tie-ins).