This website tells the story of Georgia’s history and culture through the unique lens of BBQ. We will provide our followers with stories about the history, people, places, events, and traditions of Georgia using BBQ as a theme. Our followers will savor the diverse and dynamic flavor of the state’s culture and history as well as the southern tradition of BBQ. This is an educational website and we will not conduct any reviews or pass judgement on any BBQ places. Consider this website a manual or field guide to be used by people who love BBQ and want to plan their own journey along the BBQ trails of Georgia.
The founders of Georgia BBQ Trails are Craig S. Pascoe and James “Trae” Welborn, professors of Southern history at Georgia College & State University. Both are self-proclaimed BBQ devotees who believe that BBQ can be used to help tell the story of Georgia—its past, present, and future.
Dr. Craig S. Pascoe is Professor of History at Georgia College in Milledgeville, Georgia. His areas of research are the modern American South, United States modern cultural history, and foodways-the study of history and culture through the lens of food. He teaches a course on Southern Foodways and Traditions and is the Program Director for Understanding Mediterranean History and Culture through Foodways, an annual Summer Study Abroad Program to Italy and Greece. He was the Conceptual Design Creator for the Barbecue Nation exhibit at the Atlanta History Center (May 2018-October 2019). He has consulted for television series like Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s American Roadtrip and Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Foods. He is a certified BBQ judge for Memphis Barbecue Network and Kansas City Barbecue Society. In his previous career he worked in the restaurant business for 14 years in places like New Orleans, Kona, Hawaii, Hilton Head Island, and at a resort in the North Carolina mountains. He served in different rolls like wine steward, maître’ d, owner, chef, and Food and Beverage manager. Combining his academic interests with his love for food he has created the perfect job for himself.
Dr. James “Trae” Welborn is Assistant Professor of History at Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville, Georgia. Born in Charleston, South Carolina, reared in Fernandina Beach, Florida, and educated at Clemson University (BA 2005, MA 2007) and the University of Georgia (PhD 2014), Dr. Welborn specializes in American cultural history, with an emphasis on the emotional dimensions of evolving conceptions of virtue, vice, and the role of violence in shaping these cultural values during the American Civil War Era. His initial foray into the history of southern foodways centered on the contentious role of alcohol within the region’s cultural values and social conventions, especially those associated with issues of race, class, gender, and religion. Such explorations led to further investigation of the profound role of foodways in shaping individual and collective identities in the region and augmented a longstanding personal interest in and appreciation for his native South’s barbecue culture. This interest in the diverse and dynamic cultural history of barbecue in the South sparked the professional collaboration with Dr. Craig Pascoe on www.georgiabbqtrails.com.
Ryan Cooper is a contributor to the Georgia BBQ Trails website. He provided the technical know-how in creating our Georgia BBQ Trails map. Ryan is also the creator of BBQ Tourist, a site dedicated to celebrating the best barbecue in America.
Ryan is a cultural geographer and barbecue enthusiast traveling around the United States, experiencing great BBQ and learning about the many forms of barbecue. Originally from Kansas City area, Ryan grew up where barbecue is the signature cuisine and an important part of local culture. It was later in life that he realized barbecue is not the same everywhere you go. But he realized that barbecue is the same in the way it represents the traditions, culture, history, and ethnicity of America.
With an idea to combine his love of barbecue with his passion for geography and maps, BBQ Tourist was born. His website allows you to find some of the best barbecue restaurants in America and view interactive maps of barbecue in regions across the nation. Join Ryan and his friends as they explore the best “pit” stops in America.
Ryan also produces The Smoke Sheet, a weekly email that curates the latest national barbecue news, upcoming events, top recipes, and more. The newsletter is a co-production of Sean Ludwig (NYC BBQ) and Ryan Cooper (BBQ Tourist). Both Sean and Ryan have been traveling across the country trying the best BBQ for years. Sean is based in Brooklyn, New York and Ryan is based in Omaha, Nebraska. Both grew up in Kansas City, Missouri and they regularly go home to eat great KC BBQ. You can also find them at national BBQ events around the country. https://www.bbqnewsletter.com/