New exhibit at North Carolina Transportation Museum celebrates the history of barbecue

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SPENCER, N.C. — The North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer, typically known for trains, is now showcasing the history of barbecue.

“We’re hosting this traveling exhibit that is all about food. This is literally, when you’re talking about pit-cooked barbecue, this is the way it was done,” said Mark Brown, who works at the museum.

It’s a topic that hits close to home for Brown. His great-grandfather was one of the first three people to get inducted into the Lexington BBQ Hall of Fame.

“It is really neat and it makes me proud to be a part of something that grew into such a legacy,” Brown said.

From regional rivalries about recipes to homemade barbecue smokers, Brown said the exhibit celebrates the history of the state’s famous barbecue.

“You can even smell what’s in each of those bottles and get a little idea of what the ingredients are that go into making each barbecue sauce,” Brown said.

“You learn about barbecue but in learning about barbecue you learn about the people of North Carolina and what they’ve eaten, how they spent their free time, how they’ve had their social gatherings throughout history,” said Tyler Trahan, who serves as a historic interpreter.

No matter what style is your favorite, there’s a map that breaks it all down. It shows every place you can get barbecue in the state.

“At the end of the day, you’re eating well,” Brown said.

Admission to the museum is $6 and the traveling exhibit is included. It will be around until September.

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