Juneteenth Food History, Facts & Black Folks Recipes

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As soon as I published this post, the President signed a bill recognizing Juneteenth as a federal holiday.

But what I found even more inspiring is Color Of Change’s call to action to keep our eyes on the prize in honor of Juneteenth.

A call to action for when we’re with our family and friends this year celebrating Juneteenth. Initiating discussions and movement around justice reform, voting rights and equal rights for Black people.


What is Juneteenth food?

Juneteenth comes with so much anticipation this year after Netflix’s top-rated docu-series, High On The Hog, introduced us to Juneteenth food, facts and history from the gatekeepers themselves protecting the legacies of African-American communities.


Black folks food

The series engages Black folks around an open fire pit, slowly watching and nurturing the homegrown vegetables and meat used in the stew.

With their hand on the sacred urn of tradition, these are the ones vowing to protect and preserve Black culture and generations of blessed soul food recipes.


Easy Gumbo Recipe
Nothing's more Louisiana than gumbo! A classic Southern dish and culinary staple in The Big Easy.
This easy gumbo recipe is Cajun cooking combined with Creole seasoning & spicy flavors - served over rice and pressure cooker ready in only 15 minutes!
Check out this recipe!
Easy Gumbo Recipe


Netflix High On The Hog Docuseries
Netflix High On The Hog – Stephen Satterfield and Dr. Jessica B. Harris (photo credit – Netflix)


Watch High On The Hog on Netflix –> HERE!


Books featured in High On The Hog


High On The Hog  |  Jubilee  |  Black Girl Baking  |


What is Juneteenth and why is it celebrated?

Juneteenth is the African-American celebration of the emancipation of slaves.


Why is it called Juneteenth?

As we know, justice is often delayed for the Black community. 

It’s wasn’t until years after freedom was granted that freed slaves learned of their emancipation. This day is June 19th, 1865. Also known as Juneteenth. 


Juneteenth is African-American Independence Day – Black folks 4th Of July

The Netflix series High On The Hog does a marvelous job of unraveling the complicated story of Juneteenth and freedom delayed. 

The docu-series retraces Juneteenth starting in Galveston, TX. 


When did slavery in Texas end and what was the last state to free slaves?

From the docu-series, I learned that Texas, the Lone Star state was one of the last states to abolish slavery.

Even worse, those enslaved did not learn of their freedom until- 2 ½ years after the Emancipation Proclamation was announced in 1863!


Galveston, Texas Moody National Bank
Moody National Bank Galveston, TX (photo credit – Business Wire)


My Juneteenth family story

I remember visiting Galveston and marveling at the financial institutions and establishments with the name Moody, like the area’s chain of banks – Moody National Bank. (Moody is my maiden name.)

I thought to myself that maybe I come from a wealthy lineage of Moodys in Texas.

But that kind of thinking was blissful and all wrong.

Without any genealogy records to tell me, my ancestors were likely Texas slaves, owned by families with the Moody surname.

As free people, my ancestors must’ve migrated southeast to North Carolina. In this state, my grandparents were born and raised.

Maybe I am a Moody descendant of Texas, but not in the fairytale story kind of way.

I’m likely a daughter of those enslaved who built Galveston for free.


“The limitations that are put on us by people’s framing of what Black hands can do is exhausting. But it doesn’t stop the work, and it doesn’t hinder my freedom because I have the ownership of knowledge.” —Chef Chris Williams, owner of Lucille’s


Netflix High ON The Hog - Juneteenth Inspired Food Black Girl Baking
Jerrelle Guy’s Raw Raspberry Hibiscus Cheesecake


What is the history of Juneteenth and Juneteenth food?

Netflix High On The Hog Episode 4- Freedom

High On The Hog uncovers the history of Juneteenth and how it’s celebrated through its culinary expressions. The soul food appeal and why each cultural dish is so special. 

In my creator’s opinion, they appropriately start with acclaimed food blogger and award-winning cookbook author Jerrelle Guy, author of Black Girl Baking. 

Jerelle explains the significance behind each dessert in her Juneteenth-inspired spread. From the colors to the history of each African-American-derived dish. And why each flavoring is an intricate part of the Juneteenth celebration.

I was touched by how Jerrelle emotionally explained that she bakes for self-expression. 

Baking is how she breaks away from rules and creates her own empowerment. Her own freedom. A feeling she wants every Black woman to know. 

Jerrelle’s cooking style is described as super heart-centered.


“When you understand your history and understand where you come from, that understanding gives you purpose. And the purpose to carry on their story I think is such a huge honor.” —Jerrelle Guy


Netflix High On The Hog Juneteenth Food
Jerrelle Guy’s Juneteenth-inspired cakes


What food is served on Juneteenth and why is it important?

Juneteenth food and decorations in Galveston incorporate lots of red and bright colors because red is the color of Juneteenth.

The food is a collection and celebration of African-American soul food classic dishes.


Black Folks Southern Candied Yams
Candied yams are an old-fashioned African-American recipe. A sweet potato soul food side dish cooked to perfection in a cinnamon-brown sugar glaze.
Check out this recipe!
Black Folks Southern Candied Yams


Black Girl Baking Juneteenth desserts

Raw raspberry hibiscus cheesecake 

Jerrelle infuses hibiscus for the bright color of the cake, along with the red raspberries on top. 

It’s a cake of various textures and temperatures. A mix of cashews and hibiscus and a hardened chocolate ganache drizzled over a chilled cheesecake.


Apple pie cooked with brown butter and almond flour

Jerrelle tells how Black cooks in the south used to bake with almond flour because they didn’t have access to traditional flour, resulting in a much-desired softer baked dish.

This story is yet another classic example of how African-American traditions of being resourceful out of necessity have evolved into cultural phenoms, like what we know today as the culinary delicacy, soul food! 


Black Folks Baked Apple Slices In The Instant Pot
What makes this a soul food specialty? It’s gotta be the spices! 
Cinnamon, brown sugar, nutmeg, and vanilla combine with fresh apples to make Black folks baked apple slices.
Check out this recipe!
Black Folks Baked Apple Slices


Soul food as a whole comes from what was once someone else’s trash that Black people made a treasure. 

These treasures are now more expensive than the items they were fashioned after! It’s important to note that this often occurs without credit to its rightful Black creator. 


More Black folks recipes to love:

Black folks Southern turkey recipe

Black folks chicken and dressing

Black folks fresh cranberry sauce

Black folks  Southern green beans

Black folks sweet potato pie recipe

Black folks Southern candied yams

Black folks brown sugar glazed carrots

Black Folks Southern Banana Pudding
How to make banana pudding the Black way
You'll never be able to look at other banana pudding the same way once you've tried this soul food delicious delight - Southern banana pudding prepared the Black way!
Check out this recipe!
Black Southern Banana Pudding

Black folks soul food collard greens recipe

Black folks Southern baked mac and cheese

Black folks creamed corn pudding casserole

Black folks cornbread dressing recipe

Black folks homemade cornbread

Black folks Southern shrimp and grits

Black folks Instant Pot smoked turkey legs

Black folks soul food air fryer fried chicken

Black folks soul food Southern fried chicken

25 Best Recipes For A Soul Food Thanksgiving Menu
What are some good soul food Thanksgiving dinner recipes? This soul food Thanksgiving menu will make you wanna slap yo mama-but please don’t!
Check out this recipe!


Juneteenth Inspired Food - Southern Apple Pie With Almond Crust
Juneteenth-inspired southern apple pie with almond crust


Pie Crust Cookies Southern Desserts
What is a pie crust cookie?
Imagine this. The perfect sweet, flaky crust, bite-size piece of pie with your favorite seasoning (cinnamon, nutmeg) or simply sugar sprinkled over the top...
You just imagined pie crust cookies!
Check out this recipe!
What Is A Pie Crust Cookie?


“We’re the innovators of everything that’s beautiful and everything that’s pop culture right now that’s born out of this country that’s born out of us. And it’s taken, and it’s monetized and white-washed and sent out all over the globe. And still, it’s ours.” —Chef Chris Williams


Case in point with Jerrelle’s Juneteenth-significant ingredient almond flour. Today almond flour is priced 3-4 times higher than all-purpose flour and is sold in size two-thirds smaller than the all-purpose version! 

But as author Toni Tipton-Martin points out in her cookbook, Jubilee, African-American food isn’t just now being elevated. 

Our cooking has always been expansive since its inception centuries ago!

When we look back, our work has always been valued in the broader community. Tipton-Martin so eloquently points out that “our faces were put on packages as a symbol of quality.”


“When it comes to culture in America, there’s very little we didn’t influence.” —Stephen Satterfield, High On The Hog docu-series host


Netflix High On The Hog - What Are The Colors Of Juneteenth?
Jerrelle Guy’s 4-Layer Red Velvet Cake


What’s the significance of the color red in Juneteenth traditions?

“Red stands for the blood that was shed on the pathway to freedom,” Juneteenth TriState Expo spokesperson Leah McKay said. “Traditionally for Juneteenth most celebrations celebrate with red food.”


“Juneteenth was sparked by barbecue, watermelon, and red drinks.” —Adrian Miller, culinary historian and author of Black Smoke


So what does red velvet cake have to do with Juneteenth?

The color red recognize the bloodshed and honors the lives of our Black ancestors pre-emancipation. Those who never got the chance to taste the freedoms we savor today. 


4-layer red velvet cake

Jerrelle’s show-stopping cake was referred to around the table as the Juneteenth flag because of its beautiful red layers!

Jerrrelle used beets to achieve the red coloring and then spread each layer with maple cream cheese frosting.

There were many compliments to the chef for her complex mash-up of savory and sweet combining earthy beets with maple flavor!


Black Folks Southern Red Velvet Cake Recipe
Red velvet cake is considered to be soul food of the South!
A Black folks' Southern red velvet cake is a made-from-scratch decadent red sponge cake with homemade cream cheese frosting. A cake that's just sweet enough to be irresistible!
Check out this recipe!
Black Folks Southern Red Velvet Cake


Is There A Juneteenth Flag?


“Our legacy isn’t found in statues or history books. It lives on in the people who guard the gates of our culture.” —Stephen Satterfield


Is there a Juneteenth flag?

Yes, there is an official Juneteenth flag rich with symbolism.

“The design of the Juneteenth flag depicts a bursting new star on the horizon. The star represents a new freedom, a new people, a new star.”

What are the colors of Juneteenth?

The red, white, and blue colors communicate that enslaved African Americans and their descendants are all Americans.


Tomato Watermelon Salad
Add to the menu tangy and sweet tomato watermelon salad for your next outdoor BBQ party!
Summertime is all about the refreshing flavors of juicy watermelon and tangy tomatoes. 
This recipe for tomato watermelon salad with feta cheese, pickled onions, pickled peppers, and zesty cilantro is a classy Southern dish, perfect for any occasion!
Check out this recipe!
Tomato Watermelon Salad


Click to shop the Juneteenth decorations


“We nourished a nation through our cooking and baked our traditions in the cuisines that would define America.” —Stephen Satterfield


Juneteenth Inspired Food - Red Velvet Cake


How do you honor Juneteenth and what do people eat to celebrate?

Juneteenth food celebrates Black excellence

I’m sharing High On The Hog and Juneteenth-inspired food and recipes to help you create a menu with cultural relevance for your family and friends.

We honor Juneteenth by never forgetting the strength and resilience of Black people and Black excellence. And for this reason, we celebrate. 

We celebrate Juneteenth and our African-American history with our food.

In the words of  Toni Tipton-Martin “I am using my platform to draw attention to Black excellence.”



Black Folks Southern Shrimp And Grits Recipe
The secret ingredient to Black folks shrimp and grits is the Southern Creole sauce!
Typical to soul food and Black folks cooking, the seasonings make each recipe like none other. 
It's all about the spices and the special sauce.
Check out this recipe!
What Is Black Folks Southern Shrimp And Grits?


Juneteenth Food - Southern BBQ


“The entire passion that I have about this is to use food as a tool to elevate the conversation about what it means to be African-American and to cook African-American food… It’s a celebration. We’re celebrating our food!” —Toni Tipton-Martin


Instant Pot Shrimp Boil
Instant Pot shrimp boil - No need for a large stockpot, extra refrigerator storage, or waste - and the cooking time is cut down from 8 hours to 8 minutes. Wowza!
A low country boil is a southern tradition of boiling seafood with vegetables in a large pot for irresistible mouth-watering flavors!
Check out this recipe!
Instant Pot Shrimp Boil


What do Black folks eat to celebrate Juneteenth?

What Black folks food can you make for Juneteenth?

Below are a few of the best recipes for a Juneteenth celebration.

If you’ve seen the Netflix docu-series, you’ll recognize the featured Juneteenth food.

Remember to honor each recipe by sharing its soul food history.


Juneteenth Black folks food recipe roundup

Juneteenth Food - Homemade BBQ Sauce

Steve Harvey homemade BBQ sauce for your beef brisket

Juneteenth Food - Red Beans & Rice

Instant Pot red beans and rice

Black Folks Soul Food Collard Greens Recipe

Black folks soul food collard greens recipe

What Is Soul Food?

Black folks Southern baked mac and cheese

Black Folks Instant Pot Smoked Turkey Legs

– Smoked turkey legs

Juneteenth Food - Southern Coleslaw

No mayo coleslaw

How Do You Make Tomato Watermelon Salad

Tomato watermelon salad

Black Folks Southern Red Velvet Cake

Black Folks Southern red velvet cake

Juneteenth Inspired Almond Flour Pie Crust

Almond flour pie crust for apple pie

Disney Dole Whip Recipe

Watermelon Dole Whip float


What do you think of these Juneteenth recipes?

If you like these recipes, then you’ll love these best Black folks cornbread dressing recipes HEREbest soul food cornbread recipe roundup HERE!


This post was syndicated on Thrive Global on June 18, 2021 – This Juneteenth We Celebrate Black Excellence


Like this post? Pin the below image to your Pinterest “Soul Food Recipes” board!

Juneteenth Facts, Food, Decorations & Celebration Ideas



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