Brownielocks and The 3 Bears
3 Versions about
The History of
Barbeque, Barbecue, BBQ
Barbie as they say down-under :)
(Note: Our bear is really grilling and not barbequing.)
I am offering you three versions now of the origin:
Here is The First Version:
First of all, the word barbeque is misused. When you cook steaks, hot dogs and hamburgers (and whatever else you want) on the grill, well hello.....guess what? That is called Grilling!
Cooking meat over an open fire has been around since the cave man. But the cave man didn't BBQ. Why? Because he had no sauce. LOL! Actually, as far as we know, the cave men just grilled over an open fire.
So just what is barbequing? Now pay attention. It will probably end up being a question on "Jeopardy" someday! <wink>
To barbeque (going to use BBQ from now on since it's so hard to type) is slow-cooking meat at a low temperature for a long time over wood or charcoal. Not gas! Although, most of us without a discerning culinary palette (like me) don't know the difference.
BBQ began in the late 1800's during cattle drives out West. The men had to be fed (cowboys) and the boss (cattle baron) didn't want to feed them the good meat. So, other disposable cuts were used to feed the men. The main choice for this was Brisket, which is a very tough, stringy piece of meat. However, the cowboys learnt that if you left this brisket to cook for a long period of time (5-7 hours) at approximately 200 degrees (although I don't know how they knew the temperature over a fire?) that wha-la! A super yummie meal was to be had. Besides Brisket, other meats that they found to BBQ well, were pork butt, pork ribs, beef ribs, venison and goat.
basic BBQ grill is a cooking chamber with an offset firebox or a water
smoker. The average Kmart gas grill is not for BBQ, but for
grilling. Today BBQ is a hobby -- or passion with some -- and enjoyed by
millions of Americans each year. I guess it's one of the things we
as Americans can claim as "authentic" and part of our culture and not
a cooking style that has been brought from another country.
To BBQ is to truly cook American (although its original origin debatable and argued to not come from America at all.)
You know what they say? "When in Rome...do as the Romans." This can apply to BBQ also. Different areas of the country have different meat priorities and preparations. For example, in the Southeast, pork is the preferred meat to BBQ. Digging a pit (to concentrate cooking heat and smoke) goes back to European culture. Then it was forgotten until the Jamestown colonists arrived. Since pigs were running around freely to fatten themselves up, (only to be captured and eaten later) pork became the sustenance meat of Virginia and later the southern states. This also was a blessing when crops didn't produce as they should for whatever reasons.
Texas seems to love beef barbeque, which seems logical due to all the cattle in the region.
And, it's my own personal experience that the West coast, especially Californians, seem to love chicken or seafood to BBQ. When I lived in California, I know the popular beach BBQ was to let swordfish marinate in a dish filled with a teriyaki mixture overnight and then BBQ the next day. In Santa Barbara, on the 4th of July, it's a traditional custom to go dig a pit on the beach to party in and BBQ in.
Below I have some traditional BBQ recipes. But, the sauce is what seems to define a BBQ chef or restaurant. In the South they seem to like thinner BBQ sauces, with a more vinegary tone. Other parts of the US prefer the thick, sweet, tomato BBQ sauce. But in Texas they season their beef with a dry-rub mixture of seasonings.
There are even quirky BBQ's in some restaurants or areas of the United States. In the early 1900's, New Yorkers loved turtle BBQ. I think that got replaced by New York pizza or cheesecake? I recall vacationing in Wyoming a few years back and coming across a restaurant that offered BBQ Buffalo meat. (BTW I tried it and it was delicious!)
There is also some argument that clambakes are nothing but a spin-off of traditional BBQs because they are cooked in a pit. Others claim that the BBQ idea evolved from the fisherman's clambakes. So which came first, the BBQ or the clambake?
It's undeniable that BBQ is popular and well-loved in American society. But, BBQ tastes and cooking differ. Real BBQ purists claim that a restaurant that offers its customers a grilled piece of meat slapped with some sauce later isn't eating real BBQ at all. Others say it is, as long as the sauce is there, then it's BBQ!
Every year the Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) sponsors barbecue competitions all over the US. The biggest one of all is the American Royal (sounds like a rodeo huh?) held every October at guess where? Yup, Kansas City. I've never attended, but rumor has it that you can't find a steak, hot dog or hamburger there. Nope, it's nothing but real cuts of meat. And, I will assume shrimp, buffalo, turtle, snake, venison, elk, etc?
(Information source for the above information on BBQ is from posts I read on the American Cooking Bulletin Board and my own personal experiences.)
Here is The Second Version:
Everyone has their own version of just how BBQ originated in the US. With so many immigrants, many feel that although the West claims to have originated it, many of the cowboys themselves were not originally born in the USA and brought the idea over from France. So, here is what the above referenced food encyclopedia says about barbeque.
The term means a whole animal roasted or broiled in it's entirety for a feast or the feast at which such a meat is served. Therefore, a barbeque is either a form of cooking, or a social event where the food served was cooked in this manner.
President George Bush this year is said to have hosted a real traditional "chuck wagon" barbeque for Russian President Putin when he visited this past summer because it is considered such an American tradition.
The real origin of barbeque remains obscure and many assume it's origin is derived from the French word - barbe-a-que, which means "from snout to tail."
The word was in use in the state of Virginia before the 1700's and the institution of the barbecue is probably of southern origin?
The Southern and Western United States define a BBQ as an outdoor festival at which the "piece de resistance" is a beef or hog dressed whole and roasted on a spit over a pit fire. A large barbecue takes about 24 hours of preparation. First the meat is marinated for a number of hours and the fires prepared. Then the BBQ or basting sauce is usually mixed according to carefully guarded formula of minced peppers, garlic, herbs, tomatoes, lime juice and other sundry condiments. The animal is placed on a steel spit over the fire and the roasting begins. The spit is turned at regular intervals and the basting is done b dipping new brooms in tubs of sauce and swabbing the meat evenly. It usually takes from dawn until high noon to roast a beef. By this time, the outside crust is spicy and meat is cooked totally to the bone (and should be tender).
Preparing food outdoors has become increasingly popular in the United States and so BBQ has been simplified to fit the smallest backyard. The home barbecue uses a fireplace style or outdoor stove in place of the fire spit mentioned above. Today people can buy portable BBQ cooking equipment or construct one from brick in their back yards. But some barbecues and also be constructed from certain flat stones if available. Below is a diagram of moderately sized BBQ outdoor fireplace:
It's a good idea when you first use your new (or any unfamiliar BBQ) to test it out first with some simple meats like steaks, chicken, chops, hamburgers, hot dogs, etc.
The secret to good BBQ cooking is in the heat or a good bed of coals. The secret to a successful BBQ cookout is in the sauce!
First the heat:
It's best to place your cooking grill about 5" above your coals. This is recommended for good thorough cooking. Shish kabobs will be done in 20 to 30 minutes, hamburgers in 8 to 10 minutes and larger pieces of meats should be done in about 20 to 20 minutes per pound.
Is there a serious BBQ chef who doesn't claim to have "his famous recipe?" Whatever sauce is used, whether a secret one or one purchased from the grocery store, you should apply it lavishly while the meat is cooking. And if possible, more sauce should be available when it's time to serve the meat also.
is the third version:
(Sent to me by Michael Anderson on 5/17/2010 and posted with his permission.)
The Cultural Origin (Before the USA)
The Taino word for this operation was (and still is) called "barabicu." The word translates to "sacred fire pit" in English and also shows how they slow cooked with spent coals in an "open pit" to amplify and direct the smoky heat up to the meat. The same process was also used by the nearby Timuca natives in southern Florida where the exact same word "barabicu" was being used to describe the same all day process with the same translation. The Taino culture was also extent in the majority of the Caribbean Gulf and many different local variations were found from Barbados to the more leeward Islands populated by the Arawak nation who translate "barabicu" to "barbacoa". The process was probably founded on Barbados (called so for its plentiful local bearded fig trees which give the name to the island "Los Barbadoes" or Bearded One) where the green supple fig branches were easily fire resistant and would smoke heavily instead of being consumed in the long process of cooking meats and large fish.
The term "buccaneer" even comes from the Arawak word "buccan" which is the name for the wooden frame used to slow cook or barbacoa on. The french word "boucane" comes from travelers seeing hunters who cooked feral pigs and other cattle on these frames on Hispaniola and so these hunters became known as "Boucaniers" and was later Anglicized to "buccaneer".
Across the Gulf of Mexico early 16th century, (the 1500's) the Spanish conquistadors had imported this cooking process to eastern and northern Mexico where the word changed slowly over time to what they still regionally call "barbacoa" where ranchers and herders roast whole animals slowly in the same open pit process or even roasting tough portions like whole heads directly in the pit wrapped to cause the tough meat to steam cheeks or ears and snouts over many hours.
The Spanish conquerors established a settlement in what is now South Carolina and called the settlement Santa Elena and it was here that the first pigs were ever barbecued in what is now the continental United States after cooking them in this fashion in Mexico previously and in the Caribbean primarily. Recent Mexican immigrants in south Florida call barbecue "barbacoa" to this day and perform it in their own distinct way opening up barbacoa restaurants in Miami and other immigration hubs in the area.
The dry rub concept comes from the importing of the Taino cooking to the Aztek culture who overwhelmingly used stone grinders for their grain and spice and meal-flower preparations and used dry goods of this nature overwhelmingly in their culture and would easily translate the dry ground flavors to the imported slow smoking cooking process. From the Caribbean culture the "barabicu" traveled in many different directions and it is known that there were "barbecues" of this nature in New England well before they made the journey north from Mexico into the now Texas region.
George Washington was a great enthusiast of barbecues in the mid to late 1700's and would go to these large week-long community events and stay for several days feasting. These events sometimes drew people from across colonial borders depending on how high profile the event. He personally used barbecues to celebrate military victories and more extensively as the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army. Washington celebrated the founding of our nation (the final victory over the British Army) with an epic barbecue while the British commanders had a fancier sit-down dinner.
Barbecue has an interesting migration in North America too. It made its way around through Virginia to the Tennessee/Kentucky region and further south into the colonial sprawl of the Charlestown colony, and it eventually met up in a way with the Florida barbecuing natives in the 1600's.
Colonial settlers eventually made their way into Texas in the 1800's after it became open for settlement around 1820 and discovered the Mexican styles of cooking. They merged even more after the US Army conquered Emperor Maximillian of the Mexican Empire and set up the modern country of Mexico.
The brisket cuts and other tough meats were extensively used by the southern slaves who couldn't get the finer cuts and made due with the tougher meats. So, salting, seasoning and smoking were necessary to improve the disposable portions of meat. After the civil war and emancipation, the Midwest opened up to black settlement. Now, the freed slaves and their families brought their family recipes with them to the still growing towns of St. Louis and Chicago and other Midwest hubs. Nearly every barbecue master in the Midwest for about 75 years from before the Centennial to the 1930's was a black slave descendant using their personal secret recipe that their grandparents used. However, when the Grat Depression came, these un-choice cut eateries became early melting pots of integration where people of all races and social classes were hungry and on the move.
Now Midwest barbecue is extremely diverse but its amazing how this food brought together ancient cultures and Spanish conquerors and European settlers and colonial armies and blacks and whites throughout its history.
Every area had their meat priorities:
Barabacoa: meat of choice is a whole goat
Central Mexico Barabacoa: meat of choice is whole lamb
Yucatan Barabacoa: meat of choice is pork
Caribbean Barabicu: Birds, game foul, and fish, and later European cattle and pigs.
Below are traditional BBQ recipes used by Moms for years!
("Heathcliff" cartoon © 5/11/11)
("Flying McCoys" cartoon © May 2014)
(June 2017 "Off The Mark")
Basic BBQ Marinade
4 Cups Wine Vinegar
Mix all the ingredients
together. Place the piece of meat in a deep earthenware dish and
pour over the marinade. Let stand in cool place or refrigerator 3 to 4
days, turning the meat at least once a day.
Barbecue Sauce Dixie Style
1 1/2 Cups of Cider Vinegar
Place the vinegar, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, butter in the top of a double boiler. Allow the butter to melt. Meanwhile, place in a sauce pan and mix thoroughly all the other ingredients, except the sassafras leaf. Sir the liquid so that the melted butter is blended well with the hot liquid and then add it to the mixed ingredients. Allow the sauce to simmer over a slow fire for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the sassafras leaf for the last 3 to 5 minutes and then remove. Keep the finished sauce hot in the top of the double boiler until read to serve on any kind of barbecued meat.
Basic BBQ Sauce for Beef
1 Tablespoon Butter
Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the onions and celery, and cook gently for 10 minutes. Add all the remaining ingredients except the lemon juice. Sir over a moderate flame until smooth and thickened. Just before taking from the stove, add the lemon juice. Serve with any dark meat, smoked meat or hot dogs.
Basic BBQ Sauce for Lamb or Salmon
1/2 Cup Water
Mix the water, catsup, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce in a saucepan. Add the chopped onion and allow to simmer gently for 5 minutes. Mix the spices and salt. Add enough of the hot liquid to form a paste. Continue adding liquid until the spices are creamy then blend with the rest of the liquid and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Keep hot in a double boiler until ready to baste the meat.
Makes: 1 Cup (approximate)
Basic BBQ Sauce for Pork
3/4 Cup Tomato Catsup
Mix the catsup, mustard and sugar; add the Worcestershire and vinegar and place in saucepan over low flame. Allow the mixture to simmer, but not to boil for about 10 minutes. In another pan gently brown the pepper, onion and pickles in the melted butter. Add the liquid contents of the first pan and allow the entire mixture to simmer for 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice and 1 minute before removing from the fire. This goes well with any kind of pork as well as with boiled beef tongue.
Makes: 2 1/2 Cups
Basic BBQ Sauce for Veal
2 Tablespoons Melted Butter
Melt the butter in a saucepan over a very low flame. Add the diced pickle and the chili sauce and mix thoroughly. Place the pickle juice in a bowl and add the Worcestershire, Tabasco and salt. Stir thoroughly. Add to the chili sauce mixture in the saucepan and cook (barely letting it simmer) for 10 minutes. Add the lemon juice and cook for another minute.
Makes: 1 Cup (Approximate)
Brownielock's Simple BBQ Sauce for Kids
Mix a can of Pepsi or Coke with
1 Cup of Ketchup.
Here is a BBQ Sauce Recipe with an Oriental flair:
Sweet and Sour Barbeque Sauce
1 Can (8.5 ounces) Crushed
Drain the pineapple and RESERVE
Makes: 2 2/3 Cups (Approximate)