As we are all spending hours in our backyards barbequing this summer, I can practically guarantee that most of us do not think about when or where the first BBQ was! And, those that do, probably think that it was us Americans who came up with this delectable way to cook foods. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
The First BBQ
According to the Smithsonian, the first BBQ was created by an indigenous tribe down on the island of Hispaniola. They used green wood, as it kept the food from getting burnt and the wood didn’t burn as easily either. Christopher Columbus saw this unique way of cooking meat and as he and other explorers ventured north towards what is now the United States, they shared how to cook meat in that way with all the tribes that they encountered. It didn’t take long before the colonists in Virginia heard about barbecuing and this way of cooking became quite popular in the southern areas of the United States.
There was no official BBQ grill during these early days of barbecuing, as everyone simply threw their meat over the fire. However, they quickly discovered that everything that they cooked tasted better when they held it over the fire or pushed it off to one side. It was at that time that people chose to build racks out of green sticks, so that their food could cook above the flames of the fire instead of directly on them. The result was meat that had a perfect internal temperature and an intense flavor.
While the Smithsonian is accurate about when barbecuing began on this side of the world, it is thought that it began as early as the 4th century B.C. over in Europe. The Stoa of Attalos Museum in Athens is said to have one of those barbecue grill grates in its collection. There is even mention of BBQ within Exodus in the Bible, so it may be safe to say that this method of cooking has been around for a very long time.
The method of creating a rack out of green wood eventually led people to understand that roasting an animal over a hot pit in the ground would result in juicy meat that had a smoky flavor. Pit roasting became especially popular in the southern section of the United States, and while the method is still used today, it is most commonly used when people are roasting a pig. It can take hours for the meat on the pig to be roasted thoroughly, and the process needs to be started well in advance of guests showing up. However, it is a great way to have a party with the delectable aroma of meat cooking in the background.
The Styles of BBQ
There are many different ways of barbecuing meat, but the main four include Texas, Memphis, Kansas City, and North Carolina. These styles are different from what was done in the beginning, and everyone has their opinion of which one is the best, but you must agree that they all improve the flavor of the meat that is being cooked.
- Memphis is all about adding sweet tomato sauce
- North Carolina prefers a vinegar-based sauce
- Kansas City locals prefer the dry rub
- Texas is all about the mesquite
- While the ingredients are completely different, the methods of cooking are all the same. All meat needs to be barbecued slowly for hours, so that it is pull apart tender, yet still juicy.
BBQs of Today
BBQs have evolved so much over the years, and while it used to be that you had one or two choices for BBQ grills, today you will have dozens of options. The best portable barbecue grills come in all sizes and you can choose from charcoal grills, gas grills, and specialty grills.
A gas grill is the easiest to use, because you just simply need to press the ignition button and the grill will be ready to use after it quickly reaches your desired temperature. The temperature is easy to control on these as well, because you can turn the control dials for the flame to adjust it.
A charcoal grill is a little more time consuming, as you will need to light the charcoal and wait for the color to change to a light gray. That ensures that the lighter fluid has cooked off and you have an even heat for your BBQ. It can be difficult to control the temperature of a charcoal grill, as it can be extremely hot in the beginning and then quickly cool down.
Specialty grills are becoming more popular, and you may want one of them if you want to be able to use your grill in numerous ways. Some specialty grills utilize charcoal that is made from natural oak and hickory, which makes it easy to light and use. These specialty grills have simple temperature control panels, which means that it will be easy for you to use them to grill and smoke your meats. These options are perfect for those who love to BBQ and want to try to create their own recipes.
We have not seen all the possibilities yet when it comes to BBQ grills, as they will continue to evolve in the future due to advances in technology. The good news is that our BBQ is just going to keep getting better and better when newer grills are introduced in the future.
Guest Author Bio
Andrew Strom is a gourmand. He decided to start the project BarbecueGrillsExpert.com because he loves grilled food and he thinks he can help others to make the right decision when it comes to barbecues. Although he has his own secret recipes, he knows that the grill you use has the final word on taste.