More than 350 years ago, Europeans watched as Native Americans built frameworks of green saplings so they could smoke meat over pits of glowing wood coals. And so began the long tradition of authentic barbecue as part of North Carolina’s rich culinary history. In fact, the first written use of the word “barbecue” in English appeared in 1697. In North Carolina, barbecue has always been about fire-roasted pork. One reason was affordability - most settlers could turn the animals loose to root for food.