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Boshizzle 11-21-2012 03:55 PM

One Mile Long Barbecue Pit!
If you do a lot of reading about BBQ history, you have probably heard of the world's largest barbecue ever held. It was in honor of the January, 1923 inauguration of Oklahoma governor Jack Walton.

Walton put out a call for donations for the barbecue and received an overwhelming response. The Dallas Morning News reported that thousands of cows, hogs, sheep, and chickens plus 103 turkeys, 1,363 rabbits, 26 squirrels, 134 opossums, 113 geese, 34 ducks, 15 deer, 2 buffalo, and 2 reindeer were donated for hundreds of thousands of to people to consume that were expected to attend.

But, to me, the most impressive thing about the barbecue was the part that everyone seems to leave out of the story: the barbecue pit. It was a hole dug in the ground that spanned 1 mile!

Mile-Long Trench Prepared For Inauguration Barbecue;
Cowboy Chef Almost Ready

The Morning Tulsa Daily World - December 28, 1922


"We'll be ready to start cooking meat pretty soon," was the declaration today of I. R. McCann, nationally known cowboy chef, who is in charge of preparing meats for Oklahoma's big barbecue to be held here January 8 at the inauguration of Gov.-Elect J. C. Walton. "You know it takes about 30 hours to barbecue meat properly," McCann explained.

"A mile long trench over which the carcasses will roast was reported complete today and work on emergency houses and tents to house overflow visitors estimated to exceed two hundred thousand are under way," he said.

"It will be the biggest feat in the history of the world of its kind," continued McCann, "and it's going to go off like clock work. On the morning of January 7, there will be more than one thousand carcasses all nice and brown awaiting consumption by the hungry hordes. A trainload of wood is expected in soon and a carload of pepper has been ordered. I'll see the pepper is used with discrimination and there will be a feast of beef like your mother used to cook."

Thirty meat cutters, 1000 waiters, 52 fire handlers and 500 assistant chefs will prepare the feast.

Harbormaster 11-21-2012 03:58 PM

A freaking mile of BBQ. I would like to have seen that.

You find the coolest BBQ history Bo. Thanks for all of your research and reporting.

Pitmaster T 11-21-2012 05:01 PM

I've seen something like this before but it ended up either 6, 1000 foot pits or 12 500 foot pits, or 24, 250 foot pits.... something like that

bluetang 11-21-2012 06:12 PM

A mile of BBQ, dayum. The aroma must have been heavenly.

Mr. Bo 11-21-2012 07:02 PM

And they say down south that things are bigger in Texas...

That Oklahoma governor was trying to show 'em different.

Crazy Harry 11-21-2012 08:56 PM

you wouldn't be able to do that now, the permits fees paperwork inspections and all that chit would kill you

blue ox 11-21-2012 09:54 PM

Was there ever an update when it actually happened? I want to read more on it.

Boshizzle 11-22-2012 08:02 AM


Originally Posted by Crazy Harry (Post 2277931)
you wouldn't be able to do that now, the permits fees paperwork inspections and all that chit would kill you

Yep. That's one reason I love the pit at Smitty's. There is no way we could have a pit like this in a VA BBQ restaurant nowadays. You walk into the back door at Smitty's, walk around the corner and right at your feet is an oak fire. It's amazing!

Brian in Maine 11-22-2012 08:46 AM

That must have been one tired pitmaster at the end of the day!!

4ever3 11-22-2012 08:48 AM

Thanks for the lesson Joe, and to think it was held in my backyard!

It kills me that in 1922 Mr. McCann said " there will be a feast of beef like your mother use to cook." :grin:

Westexbbq 11-22-2012 10:53 AM

Amazing, absolutely amazing.

HogFan 11-22-2012 12:05 PM


Slacker 11-22-2012 12:12 PM

Wow. Would be cool to see some photos from that day.

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