The Racist Legacy of a Barbecue Titan
Can they put lipstick on this pig? Maurice Bessinger, who popularized South Carolina’s mustard-based barbecue style, built a pulled-pork empire — flavored with white supremacist thinking. By refusing to serve Black diners and challenging desegregation in the Supreme Court, the onetime gubernatorial candidate triggered a boycott of his restaurant chain while supermarkets shunned his Confederate flag-emblazoned sauce. Following his 2014 death, his heirs removed the flags and slavery-glorifying pamphlets, but barbecue lovers wonder if returning to Bessinger’s Piggie Park will leave a bad taste in their mouths.