Goldsboro, a city of a little under 40,000 people in eastern North Carolina, has some of the state’s richest barbecue history. Thus, I was particularly pleased to receive the below email, written by Johnnie and Peggy Hood, and forward to me by Dave Schiller, all of whom recently attended their 50th Goldsboro High School anniversary. Better yet, the email included an attached history of Goldsboro barbecue written by Carl Eugene McBride, Jr., whom I am currently trying to track down to be sure he is okay with me including his writing on this site… I sure hope he is because it is excellent and deserves an audience.
“(Goldsboro, NC 10/01/11) — What started out as a few friends going to Wilber’s Barbecue for lunch morphed into a GHS class of 1961 reunion family style luncheon at Wilberdean Shirley’s Barbecue Emporium. Classmates feasted on barbecue pork (of course), barbecue chicken, fried chicken, slaw, potato salad, Brunswick stew, hushpuppies, and biscuits (sopping biscuits like granny used to make). For dessert we enjoyed banana pudding that, we were told, Wilber himself stayed up all night cooking.
Conversation topics ranged from “whatever happened to ole so and so?” to stories from those no longer living in eastern North Carolina about the putrid and disgusting things some people put in their barbecue sauce. Some were shocked to learn that some well-meaning cooks put catsup, or mustard, or molasses, or brown sugar, just to name a few things, in the sauce and then serve it to unsuspecting guests.
It was agreed that the reason that we GHS graduates are so good looking, so intelligent, and so healthy is probably the Goldsboro barbecue we consumed as children. Harriet Taylor Ross removed any doubt by providing a PDF file history of the holy grub from Goldsboro [Editor’s note: This link opens a fascinating, 19-page history of Goldsboro barbecue]… It should be required reading in all Goldsboro Public Schools along with other important stuff that’s no longer taught.
The fiftieth reunion is a once in a lifetime event. We enjoyed ours.”