Most teachers aren’t happy if their students are eating while class is in session, but in this case, it’s being encouraged.

It’s all part of a one-of-a-kind interim class, COM 495: Barbecue Communication, at the University of Alabama centering around barbecue taught by communications studies assistant professor Darrin Griffin.

Today, students and Griffin were outside Reese Phifer Hall on the UA campus serving up a free barbecue meal for anyone who dropped by.

Griffin said that while our modern world communicates globally, that’s quite different from the type of face-to-face bonding barbecue is known for fostering.

“The idea today is for the students to experience barbecue and the way that it brings people together,” Griffin said. “They get to meet new people through barbecue. So barbecue is a conduit, it’s a communication channel. Instead of an email, text message or phone call, you have a barbecue. People come together and communicate through it.”


Barbecue can be traced back to Native Americans, who are credited with being the first civilization to cook low and slow with smoke.

Next on their assignments list? Students are traveling to barbecue hot spots on a six-day journey from Tuscaloosa to Texas. Barbecue will be on the menu for lunch and dinner the entire six days.



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