A Brief History of Barbeque--Time
The Story of Barbeque--Amazing Ribs.com
The Evolution of the American Barbeque--The Smithsonian
The History of Barbecue and Grilling--Tori Avery
The history of barbecue has a long tradition which reaches way back to as far as some of the earliest tribes in world history. It's been said that cavemen would kill animals and build a fire with wood and smoke meat from the animals they slew. Barbecue has a long history and tradition to it. Most of us think of barbecue when it comes to the American tradition. It's true that the art of barbecuing is definitely an American tradition. It's especially an American tradition during the summer holidays. Three of the most popular holidays where you'll find scores of Americans barbecuing are Memorial Day, Independence Day (Fourth of July) and Labor Day. In between those days there are numerous benefits, fundraisers, and picnics where barbecuing takes place. Much of the meat this is cooked are pork ribs, chicken, beef briskets, hamburgers, steak, mutton, etc. There are various regions in the U.S. that specialize in certain kinds of barbecue. Memphis is known for barbecuing pork and ribs with a special tomato sauce. Kansas City is known for its thick sauce barbecuing ribs. North Carolina barbecues a whole hog using a type of vinegar barbecue. In Kentucky, it's popular to barbecue pork and mutton. Texas is known for barbecuing beef. There are all types of barbecue traditions in America. There are communal types of barbecues such as picnics, etc. There are scores of barbecue contests, esp. at barbecue festivals, like the one we have in our hometown. Back during the Civil War days and after, they were more of a community type, then eventually barbecue restaurants started cropping up in different places around the country, esp. around the South. Blacks specialized in barbecuing themselves in the South and later when many migrated to the North in the early part of the 20th century, they took the barbecue tradition with them.
The word "barbecue" comes from the word "batrbacoa" which was the name for a cooking rack to cook meat on. Barebecuing was known in the Caribbean. Many of the Spanish explorers who settled in the Caribbean and parts of what is now parts the old South. The Spanish explorer De Soto experimented with barbecue. The Native American Indians such as the Chickasaw Indians would barbecue over a barbacoa. They loved hogs. They also smoked meat to preserve it. They had to since there wasn't any such thing as electricity where people had refrigerators or freezers to place their meat. Eventually this method of cooking on the barbacoa found its way in the colonies of Virginia. Many black slaves would barbecue. George Washington, one of our Founding Fathers, had a smokehouse at his plantation in Mount Vernon, Virginia. Many of our Founding Fathers had cookouts during colonial times.
Prior to the days of refrigeration, smoking meat was a necessity if you wanted to preserve meat for a specified period of time, otherwise it would have to be consumed not long after the animal was killed and slayed. A lot of barbecuing was done that way.
Since that time barbecue has been a common tradition in American history. Today there are all sorts of barbecue events such as festivals, competitions, picnics, etc. I've been to several barbecue picnics over the years and I've immensely enjoyed the pork, mutton, chicken, ribs, etc. I'm a barbecue nut. I love to personally barbecue. I use a smoker and I add charcoal and hickory chips to give the meat that smoked flavor. Then I add a hickory brown sugar flavor barbecue sauce on the meat. Most of the time when I grill chicken, I cook it in a roaster pan so the chicken doesn't get burned. I like it that way.
I know what I've written today about barbecuing is just the tip of the iceberg. I intend on writing more about barbecue around July 4th. It will be a continuation of this post that I started today. I will explain the definition between barbecuing and grilling. I will expound more upon the history of barbecuing in the next post. The study of the history of barbecuing is very exciting. I have some posts linked up that discuss the subject of barbecuing in more detail. I will probably write at least two more posts on this subject this year. The other one will probably be around Labor Day. I want to wish all the outdoor cooks today great success as they barbecue today.