Robert is a highly respected authority on food, drink, and travel with a Ph.D in English. Working from his home base in Charleston, South Carolina, he is the founder and publisher of The Southeastern Dispatch, the Contributing Barbecue Editor for Southern Living and a frequent contributor to publications including Serious Eats, Saveur, Early American Life, Garden & Gun, The Local Palate, and the Charleston City Paper.
Robert’s most recent book is the revised and expanded second edition of Barbecue: The History of an American Institution (2020), the authoritative history of barbecue in the United States. He is also the author of Southern Spirits: Four Hundred Years of Drinking in the American South, With Recipes (2016); Going Lardcore: Adventures in New Southern Dining (2012), a collection of essays about dining in the modern South; and, The Barbecue Lover’s Carolinas (2015), a guide to barbecue restaurants, recipes, and traditions in North and South Carolina. His new book, The Lost Southern Chefs: A History of Commercial Dining in the Nineteenth-Century South will be published in February 2022. He is also a co-founder of the annual Holy Smokes Lowcountry Barbecue Festival in Charleston.