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Our Best Juneteenth Barbecue Recipes (8 Recipes)

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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 2 1/2 years earlier and 2 months after General Lee surrendered at Appomattox.

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. After consistent campaigning from Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) to recognize “Juneteenth Independence Day” as a national holiday, the day became an official federal holiday on June 17, 2021.

Juneteenth, or Jubilee as it’s also called, is 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

Originally Barbecue and Baseball was a theme, but baseball sort of fell away leaving the barbecue pit at the center of the event, according to According to culinary historian Adrian Miller, author of Black Smoke, the traditional trinity of the meal was red, including a red drink (sometimes a Big Red Soda from Waco), pork ribs with red BBQ sauce, and watermelon. Some folks throw in some red velvet cake too. But it is a feast, so don’t forget the fried okra, fried chicken, fried catfish, hushpuppies, cornbread, chitterlings, collards, and sweet potatoes. Maybe some goat. With plenty of hot sauce.

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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. And don’t forget to include something red.

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 significance of this historic day in American history.

brisket on a grill

Authentic Texas Style Smoked Brisket Recipe


Meathead, Founder And BBQ Hall of Famer

Behold the best smoked brisket recipe ever! Texas style 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!
Texas hot guts links

Texas Hot Links (aka Texas Hot Guts): Bigger, Better Smoked Sausage


Meathead, Founder And BBQ Hall of Famer

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.
sweet and sour cole slaw

Sweet And Sour Coleslaw, The Perfect BBQ Side


Meathead, Founder And BBQ Hall of Famer

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.
pickled jalapeno on a cracker

Candied Pickled Jalapeños: Champion’s Cowboy Candy Recipe


Meathead, Founder And BBQ Hall of Famer

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.
texas beans

Texas Butter Beans And Pinto Beans Just Like Granny Made


Meathead, Founder And BBQ Hall of Famer

Texas butter bean 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, pinto beans, or black-eyed peas are the most common in Texas.
prime rib in texas smoker

The Perfect Mop Sauce For True Texas Beef Barbecue


Meathead, Founder And BBQ Hall of Famer

In Texas the traditional barbecue sauce recipe is usually more like a tomato soup, thin and spicy, it penetrates the meat.
potato salad

Mom’s Old Fashioned Potato Salad Wows ‘Em Every Time


Meathead, Founder And BBQ Hall of Famer

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 old fashioned potato salad is the dressing, a simple blend of mayonnaise and sour cream that perfectly complements the other ingredients.
mac and cheese

Make This Killer Mac And Cheese Recipe Your Own With A Signature Variation


Meathead, Founder And BBQ Hall of Famer

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 macaroni filled with rich creamy cheese that sizzles when it comes out of the oven.

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Published On: 6/17/2020 Last Modified: 11/19/2022


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