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While barbecue is considered comfort food for the masses, a few of the world’s most highbrow publications – from Time Magazine to Smithsonian Magazine – have done their homework with regard to where barbecue got its origins. Woody’s BBQ will help you navigate that history before sharing a little of our own. We believe its important to know where you came from in order to get where you’re going…

As early as the 15th Century: Led by Christopher Columbus, Spaniards landed in the Caribbean and coined the term “barbacoa” to refer to the method the natives used of slow-cooking meat over a wooden platform.1

By the 16th Century: Spanish explorers carry this cooking technique to North America and it quickly spreads to the colonies.2

By the 19th Century: Barbecue becomes a suppertime staple in the Deep South. Because pigs were prevalent throughout the region, pork became a popular feature at Southern barbecues.1  During leaner times, pigs were sent out into the forest to forage for their own food, making them leaner – making the need for a “low and slow” method of cooking all the more necessary for more tender meat.2

By the Early 20th Century: As barbecue spread from one region to the next, four main styles emerged – named after their place of origin. Memphis barbecue is mostly pulled pork from the shoulder of the pig, drenched in a sweet tomato-based sauce. Carolina barbecue features pork from the whole hog – smoked for hours on end, served chopped or pulled, and doused in a vinegar-based sauce. Kansas City barbecue refers mainly to dry rubbed ribs served with a heaping helping of a thick tomato-and molasses-based sauce. And Texas Barbecue – particularly West Texas – is all about the brisket. They serve up slow-smoked, mesquite-grilled beef brisket with a sweet tomato-based sauce.1 While it’s not listed among the four most popular barbecue styles, Kentucky barbecue is mostly mutton-based.2

1980: Woody Mills and Yolanda Mills-Mawman took a dog-eared collection of recipes that Woody’s mom had lovingly penned herself and opened the first Woody’s BBQ location on University Boulevard in Jacksonville, Florida.

1989: Woody’s BBQ sells it first franchise… and we’ve been making history – and mouths water – ever since!

To learn more about Woody’s BBQ, peruse our menu, discover how to open your own Woody’s BBQ or find the location near you, visit us at

1 “A Brief History of Barbecue” by Clare Suddath (2009) Time Magazine

2 “The Evolution of American Barbecue” by Natasha Geiling (2013) Smithsonian Magazine

KB 9/17/18