Growing up in Canada, barbecue was an event, or an outside cooking appliance. In North Carolina barbecue is a food.
And for some, sort of a religion.
Barbecue is made by slow cooking pork (often a whole hog) in a smoker for hours until the meat is tender enough to be pulled off of the bones. The kind I like is tossed in a vinegar and pepper sauce (that’s Eastern North Carolina style) and served with a couple of vegetable sides.
Kind of like what led to almost 70 cases of salmonellosis last fall at a conference in Bessemer City, NC. According to the Gaston Gazette, the heath department’s investigation fingered the pork dish as the likely vehicle for the pathogen.
The investigation began after multiple people sought treatment for a stomach illness in early October.
The local health department collected information and found that many of the patients had attended a conference between Oct. 1 and 5 at Living Word Tabernacle Church in Bessemer City.
A report released this week found that Boston butts prepared by a church member were the likely culprits.
The pork was cooked overnight in a smoker a day before it was served. Then it was returned to the smoker the day of the meals.
Some of the pork hadn’t cooked all the way through in time for lunch so it was cooked longer then taken to the church for dinner.
The church member who cooked the meat said it was cooked at 350 degrees the first night, but no cooking temperature was given for when the pork was put back on the grill the next day.
Three people were hospitalized.
The purpose of the health department study isn’t to cast blame. It’s to educate, according to health officials.
The church was not required to have a permit to serve the food because the meals were free, but proper food preparation and storage should always be observed, said Samantha Dye with Gaston County Health and Human Services.