Chicago Tribune, February 9, 1896
. Refined readers may deem this post NSBL (not safe before lunch).
As I understand it, Chicago didn't begin to acquire its current stature as a serious barbecue town until after the Great Migration of African-Americans from the south was well under way in the early 20th century. But one early chapter in the history of the sweet, smoky science has been almost erased from the record. Now it can be told.
Five large per annum just to keep the flies down at the morgue—that ain't hay! You have to admire the guy's public spirit. Today, it would be all about patents, patents, patents, but Victorian men of science had an admirable open-source ethos. (Many of them also had open sores, but that's a different matter.)
"Sweet and eatable," hey? Well that does sound promising. No wonder the guy was disconsolate.
We're getting seriously cheated on the reveal here, but perhaps it's just as well. I think I see where Fortner went wrong: He should have followed up the brining process with a rub of paprika, garlic powder, cayenne, and sage. And maybe removed all of the internal, wet and sloppy bits—viscera and brain and so forth.
Even to this day, if you want to ship a dead pauper outside the continental United States, smoked is the only way to go.