A History of Carolina Chicken Bogs

eric1by Eric Spigner

This story takes place in Horry County South Carolina during the 1800’s on a plantation owned by Captain Henry Buck who was originally from Maine. This area was also the home of a Native Tribe called Chicora who lived along the Pee Dee River all the way up to Cape Fear River North Carolina. Rice and timber was the main source for economic wealth in this area and Henry Buck was one of the main controllers of these two resources.

It is recorded that Henry owned over 100 slaves on his plantation on the banks of the Wacamaw River which also ran along with the Pee Dee River. On this plantation it was said that the slaves who worked this land were treated very kindly by Henry and that they were also compensated for their labor. The slaves on this plantation were also allowed to plant their own vegetables and raise their own livestock such as chickens, goats and pigs. With large amounts of food resources the slaves would make sausage, ham and bacon which were smoked in a shed that was built just for the purpose of smoking.  

1700smokehousejohnsisland

Also there was two slaves who were great cooks; in some 1800 slave written manuscripts it was said that slaves named Gibbie and Pody would boil chicken, onions, sausage, spices and rice in a large cast iron cooking vessel  over a wood burning open fire. Once the chicken was fully cooked to where it was separating from the bones the bones were removed and the rice was added the rice would cook until it became moist. These are the steps that are done up till this day for cooking (Carolina Chicken Bog) the name came from it being moist not soupy.

You see many variations of this technique and dish in the Caribbean which also was a major area for the slave trade and labor we can also see the similarities with chicken bog and the Louisiana staple jambalaya. Here is where we may have witness the origins of Carolina Chicken Bog which has its own festival that is celebrated every year in Loris, South Carolina.

slavecookingpot

Rest in peace to my former Chef Joseph Carl Fox, Jr who made one of the best Carolina Chicken Bogs I ever tasted.

This is an excerpt from the pages of a book written by Eric Spigner, the executive chef of Nova in Oak Cliff, Texas, covering the evolution of South Carolina BBQ during the times of slavery in a small town just less than 15 miles from his Grandmother’s home where he was raised. We will look for more from Spigner in February as we celebrate Black History Month.

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