a meal or gathering at which meat, fish, or other food is cooked out of doors on a rack over an open fire or grill.
Herein lies the conundrum.
From where we are from, we have never been to a barbecue. A pig roast? Yep. We are fairly certain we do not own a barbecue either. We do have a grill that we cook meat on, but it ain’t a barbecue.
Fairly certain we have never “barbecued” anything either!
Plain and simple…we eat barbecue.
A Barbecue History?
Barbecue is perhaps the oldest of the four food groups (beer, ribs, butt, brisket).
Picture if you will some pre-historic cro magnon types who wandered up on the remains of a large woolly (mammoth) which had been scorched by the daily forest inferno (due to global warming). Smelled pretty good. So they pulled up a rock, grabbed a couple of beers, continued to monitor the cooking, watched a little Nascar and talked smack about their boss at the tar pit to pass the time.
Once out of beer, they tasted the now perfectly smoked woolly and to their amazement, it tasted a hell of a lot better than the healthy (raw) red meat the “missus” had been serving (original Paleo diet). And so…barbecue was born. Seriously, we read this on the internet so it’s true!
Mind you, we said barbecue…NOT BARBECUING!
Fast forward a weekend, the art of COOKING barbecue has evolved into nothing short of an Olympic sport. Butts, ribs, brisket, chicken…smokers and cookers the size of a small house.
To be safe, and to get back to our primal roots, barbecue is usually cooked outside…unless the extension cord won’t allow the big screen to get to the backyard. The techniques are as varied as the sauces and rubs…slow smoked, indirect heat on a cooker, direct flame on a pit..to each his own. Who are we to judge anyway?
BIG TIP HERE…. be sure not to burn the outside of the meat. Mammoth meat can get really tough if overcooked and the exterior charred to blackened perfection. A basting sauce you say? Sure if that is your thing. Dry rubs work well too. AMATEUR TIP…. if the meat has a “fat cap”, we like to cook with the cap up, letting the fat render down into the meat. Typical with a nice butt!
SPOILER ALERT! When fats drip onto hot coals, be it wood or charcoal, the fumes that develop are rich in benzopyrene, which can condense on grilled meat. We won’t go in to all of the details (way too scientific), but they (vegetarian government types) tell us this is not good for you. Indirect heat allows the fats to render away from the heat source, reducing the benzos emitted. Now that we have bummed you out…..grab another beer and keep smokin’!
Truth be told, the origins of barbecue are as varied as the methods to prepare it. Man has been cooking meat over an open flame since way back (or at least the last recession). The origins of the word (and barbecue) vary from state to state and even country to country. For every word that acclaims the diversity of barbecue, you could fill a competition smoker full of opinions and rivalry that has been dispatched on its “true” meaning.
Enough of those fancy words. As long as you eat barbecue and don’t own one….you know Barbecue History!