Barbecues have been a White House tradition since Jefferson. Lyndon B. Johnson hosted the first barbecue at the White House that featured Texas-style barbecued ribs. Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter hosted a “pig pickin’” for about 500 guests including visiting foreign dignitaries. Ronald and Nancy Reagan also were avid barbecuers who entertained with barbecues at their ranch. George H. Bush held a barbecue for Members of Congress annually on the South Lawn of the White House, a tradition continued by his son, President George W. Bush.
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However, that tradition was interrupted on September 12, 2001, the day after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Secret Service agents, who had evacuated the White House a day earlier, cancelled the barbecue and the White House kitchen released 700 pounds of beef tenderloin to feed the hundreds of rescue workers who had traveled to Washington.