I love Fargo-Moorhead, the Minn-Dak region and the people here, but as a person from Tennessee, I feel that a grave culinary error is being made in this region on a consistent basis.
The nexus of this error is the confusion over the food to which the word “barbecue” refers … or, more to the point, to what food it does NOT refer. Below is a picture of actual barbecue in it’s natural habitat (a bun).
And here is a photo of what is sometimes called “barbecue” in the (much) greater Fargo-Moorhead region.
This is a Sloppy Joe (a.k.a. Manwich).
Barbecue is a made from a meat (often pork) that has been rubbed with spices, smoked for hours and hours, and (if you really want to make it soar) allowed to rest for some time after its cooking until it is pull-apart tender with a deep-smokey flavor. It is basically happiness in edible form. Sloppy Joe’s are browned ground beef and a ketchup-ish sauce. It is what you eat when there is nothing else around.
Honestly, I’m not sure if I should pity the people of this area or be angry at them. That they have been fooled into confusing these two is is a moral travesty. Yet, that they continue to perpetuate this travesty makes them culpable.
I would just hope that people will educate themselves before another generation falls into this error of their forefathers.