Juneteenth Food & Recipes

Juneteenth is a American festival which commemorates the emancipation of slaves in the state of Texas. This day is also called the freedom day or the Emancipation Day. It is celebrated on the nineteenth of June every year to remember the release of thousands of slaves in Texas after the Civil War in 1865. And the word Juneteenth is a portmanteau derived by joining the two words June and nineteenth.

This day is celebrated by the state of Texas and has been an official holiday of Texas since 1980. Many other states besides Texas also celebrate the day and today the celebration has also spread through many countries outside the United States. This day is celebrated to honor the African American heritage and to remember the hardship and life of the slaves in the state.


The day is celebrated with the tasty food and barbecue dinner. The red soda drink is also a specialty of the day. Traditional singing, dancing, outdoor cookouts, picnics and barbecues are also included in the day's celebration. Rodeos, parades, street fares, Miss Juneteenth contest and many games like baseball and football adds to the festive mood of celebration. Water melon eating completion is a fun game associated with the Juneteenth celebration. At educational institutes and schools, poster competitions and essay writings are held to make the students aware of the day. Educative talks, seminars and craft workhouses are also conducted to educate the upcoming generation about the events that led to the celebration today.

Foods to Celebrate the JuneteenthDay

Certain traditional foods are prepared on the day and the dinner may include barbecued meat dish, soups, rice recipes, cakes and puddings. It is a tradition to prepare and feast on foods and barbecue red in color. Red soda water, watermelon drink and strawberry cream soda are very popular drinks on the Juneteenth day celebration. Some traditional foods have become popular and even identical with the Juneteenth celebration.

Chicken peanut soup

This tasty soup is adapted from Africa country Senegal. This easy to prepare soup is very spicy and a great comfort food. The peanut butter in the soup and the sesame oil used to sauté the onion and spices give it a special flavor.

In a soup pot, sauté in one medium sized onion in two tablespoon of sesame oil till translucent. It might take around five to six minutes on a low flame. Then add three cloves of crushed garlic and a cup full of cooked chicken and cook for another two minutes. Add a table spoon of curry powder and a half a teaspoon of freshly ground pepper and red pepper flakes and cook for a minute and please don’t forget the salt. Add two cups of chicken broth and two large tomatoes and cook till it starts to boil. As it starts to boil, add 2 whole tablespoon of fresh tomato paste and 3 table spoon of peanut butter. Let the soup boil for three whole minute to blend in the entire flavor. Serve it hot with crushed peanut for garnish.

Smothered chicken

This wonderful recipe will be loved by your Juneteenth day guest and is so very easy to prepare. This indeed is a juicy and soft chicken recipe that will get you appreciation from everyone at home.

Season the boneless chicken breast with salt and pepper and roll it over in a bit of flour. Cook the chicken in 3 tablespoon of vegetable oil on a skillet till all the sides are done. Keep aside the cooked chicken.

On the same skillet heat around two or three tablespoon of oil and sauté in half a cup of onion and a half a tablespoon of crushed garlic and cook over a medium flame. Add a tablespoon of fresh chopped celery and cook till tender. Make a smooth paste out of flour and water and add it into the cooked onion and garlic. Pour one cup of chicken broth and bring it to boil. This sauce will attain a smooth silky consistency when simmered for five minutes; add more of broth if needed. Add salt, crushed black pepper and red pepper flakes to the sauce and let it boil for a few minutes.

Add the chicken in to the sauce and cook for around thirty minutes till the chicken is well cooked and tender. Serve it with rice and mashed potatoes.

Smoked Barbecue Brisket

This recipe is a traditional Texas dish and is one of cornerstone of barbecue. This recipe will give a great piece of smoked meat if are ready to give it time to cook. The large fatty beef brisket takes a lot of time to get done and it should be cooked slowly to get the correct taste and finish. The meat has to be cooked for over ten hours to get it done and with all the moisture and flavor locked in the meat. Fast cooking on a high flame will give an undercooked and hard chunk of meat. So do be patient to have a great dish for the Juneteenth day.

The very first step is to prepare the chili rub mixture which is used to marinate the meat. Chili rub is prepared by mixing two table spoon of red chili powder, two table spoon of garlic powder, a teaspoon of salt, freshly ground pepper and cayenne each. To this mix, add two table spoon of lemon juice and make into a thick paste.

Rub on the chili mix evenly onto the 8 pound untrimmed brisket and keep aside for thirty minutes. Place the meat in the smoker to absorb the smoke and get cooked. The temperature of the smoker should be set at 220 degree Celsius. After eight hours of smoking, wrap the brisket and transfer the meat into a preheated oven (200 degree Celsius) for the last two minutes of cooking. Never cook the meat for more than 10 hours in the smokers as it will impart a bitter flavor to the meat.

Red Rice

Rice is one of the traditional staple foods of the Africans and the Juneteenth menu is incomplete without a rice dish. This spicy side dish has lots of tomatoes in it which gives it a beautiful red color.
Make a tomato pepper puree by blending two large tomatoes, one tablespoon of red pepper flakes and a teaspoon of black pepper and a handful of fresh thyme in a food processor. Keep it aside after adding a teaspoon of salt and mixing it well.

Sauté in, a medium chopped onion and four to five cloves of garlic, in a tablespoon of oil for five minutes till tender. To it add one full cup of long grain rice and stir for a few minutes. Add one and a half cups of chicken broth to it. Add the tomato pepper puree and bring it to boil over a high flame. Then reduce the flame and cook over a low flame for around twenty minutes. Add more chicken broth if the dish gets too dry. After cooking it over the flame, bake the rice in a preheated oven for another twenty minutes until all the water is absorbed. Garnish and serve it with fried bacon strips.

Red Velvet Cake

This sweet pastry is a specialty of Juneteenth and is normally prepared during the parties and gets together organized on the day. The tradition of having red colored food on this day is also applied to the cake; and here you have the beautiful and tasty red cake.

Stir together 2 cups of baking flour, two teaspoon of baking powder and three table spoon of cocoa powder.

In a large bowl beat in 3/4 cups of butter and 1 3/4 cups of powdered sugar till soft and fluffy. Beat in four eggs one at a time.

In a bowl mix a cup of milk, two teaspoon of food color and a teaspoon of vanilla.

Fold in the three mixtures slowly into a bigger bowl little by little and bake in a greased baking dish for about 25 to 30 minutes.

By the time the cake is being done; prepare the cream frosting by mixing four cups of powdered sugar, a cup of butter, and two teaspoon of vanilla and four to six tablespoon of rich cream. Beat the ingredient till the cream is smooth and soft. If you like, you can add a bit of red food color to the cream frosting.

Apply the cream between the layer of the cake and on top of it after the cake gets completely cooled. Garnish with fresh cherries or cherry crush.

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