Memphis is a barbecue town, but what we don't get to see (and taste) much here is whole-hog.
Louisiana native Rien Fertel was baptized in barbecue while documenting it in Memphis for the Southern Foodways Alliance. But it was his first taste of whole-hog barbecue, and exposure to the smoky, fiery world of the men who wrestle 200 pound hogs over wood fires that fascinated him.
In "The One True Barbecue: Fire, Smoke, and the Pitmasters Who Cook the Whole Hog" he seeks out some of the last practitioners of this ancient method of cooking, and well as some surprising new developments.
In this interview, airing on the first day of the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, Rien talks about how he got hooked on whole-hog, some of the pitmasters he got to meet, and where this food is going from here.