Our Best Juneteenth Independence Day Barbecue Recipes

"All persons held as slaves within any State...shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free..."Abraham Lincoln in the Emancipation Proclamation

Celebrate With The Holy Trinity Of Texas BBQ

Juneteenth, the longest running African-American holiday, is celebrated throughout the United States, and barbecue is central to the festivities. This holiday commemorates the date of June 19, 1865, when Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, not only to inform enslaved peoples of their freedom but to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Abraham Lincoln two years earlier. As culinary historian Robert Moss explains in this article and in his book Barbecue: The History of an American Institution, Emancipation Day barbecues had been held at other times and in other parts of the country since abolition went into effect, but the Texas celebration date of June 19 has become the one that endured. While it's not yet a national holiday, 47 of the 50 United States recognize Juneteenth as a state or ceremonial holiday, and Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) has recently introduced a resolution in Congress to officially recognize "Juneteenth Independence Day" as a national holiday.

With or without national recognition, the holiday will be celebrated nationwide, and there will be barbecue, not least because barbecue is central to African American heritage. "Barbecue is as African as it is Native American and European," explains culinary historian Michael Twitty in this article and in his award-winning book The Cooking Gene. More and more black BBQ pitmasters are finally getting the recognition they deserve for their excellent barbecue, including one of this year's BBQ Hall of Fame inductees, Desiree Robinson, co-founder of Cozy Corner Restaurant, a barbecue mainstay in Memphis, Tennessee.

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A Juneteenth barbecue menu could—and should—include whatever foods are most meaningful (and delicious!) to you. But since Juneteenth is historically rooted in the Lone Star State, we offer up a classic Texan BBQ menu, including the Holy Trinity of Texas BBQ: brisket, ribs, and sausage. To round out the plate, check out our recipes for Cowboy Candy (candied jalapenos), lean and vinegary cole slaw, pinto beans, potato salad, and mac and cheese.

However you choose to celebrate Juneteenth this year, we hope that the food, friends, and family at this cookout all come together to reaffirm the importance of this historic day in American history.

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Behold the best smoked BBQ beef brisket recipe ever! Brisket is more than a recipe, it is a concept and a goal. It all begins by selecting the right meat, trimming it, seasoning it, smoking it, slicing it, and more. Follow this easy BBQ brisket guide for mouthwatering results! read more
Texas Hot Guts
In Texas, smoked sausage is as central to barbecue as brisket. There is no standard recipe, but natural casings always hold the ground meat mixture. My favorite blend leans more on pork than beef and includes lots of black pepper. If you like smoked sausage, you'll love this Texas Hot Guts recipe. read more
sweet sour slaw
Looking to step up your coleslaw game? Here is a simple recipe that is sure to impress your guests. In the South there are two kinds of slaw: Sweet-sour and creamy. Sweet-sour is vinegar and sugar based. Creamy is mayo or sour cream or buttermilk based (or a blend of them). This sweet-sour recipe is super easy to make. read more
cowboy candy
Add some sweet heat to sandwiches, favorite side dishes, cornbread, and much more for this recipe for Cowboy Candy, a.k.a. candied jalapenos. This recipe is a refrigerator pickle, so all jars must be stored in the fridge. When you are done, save the syrup for us in DC Mumbo sauce, barbecue sauce, cocktails, and more. read more
texas beans
Texas pinto beans are served at almost every barbecue joint in Texas. Here's the recipe for this classic Texas comfort food. You can use just about any bean, but butter beans, pintos, or black-eyed beans (a.k.a. black-eyed peas) are the most common in Texas. read more
texas bbq sauce
In Texas the traditional barbecue sauce recipe is usually more like a tomato soup, thin and spicy, it penetrates the meat. read more
Moms Potato Salad
Make mom proud with this recipe for the perfect potato salad. No backyard BBQ is complete without potato salad but often times it can be lacking in flavor. The secret to this delicious potato salad recipe is the dressing, a simple blend of mayonnaise and sour cream that perfectly complements the other ingredients. read more
Macaroni and Cheese
The secret to this great mac and cheese recipe is its big rich gutsy cheesy flavor. With each cheese you use, you add a layer of complexity. The concept of the dish is elegantly simple and brilliant: Chewy tubes of firm pasta filled with rich creamy cheese that sizzles when it comes out of the oven. read more

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Meathead Goldwyn

Meathead is the founder and publisher of AmazingRibs.com, and is also known as the site's Hedonism Evangelist and BBQ Whisperer. He is also the author of "Meathead, The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling", a New York Times Best Seller and named one of the "100 Best Cookbooks of All Time" by Southern Living.

Dave Joachim

AmazingRibs.com Editor David Joachim has authored, edited, or collaborated on more than 45 cookbooks including four on barbecue and grilling, making him a perfect match for a website dedicated to the “Science of Barbecue and Grilling.” His Food Science column has appeared in "Fine Cooking" magazine since 2011. 

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