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The First Recorded Use Of The Word Barbecue In The English Language In 1697 By The British Buccaneer William Dampier

If the mouthwatering aromas wafting down the street haven’t told you, we will; May 16th is National Barbecue Day!

The purist in the world of barbecue either uses charcoal, wood, or gas and slow cooks the protein over indirect heat. While the type of protein and seasonings vary, each part of the country specializes in its own flavors and sauces.

  • More tangy BBQ with a vinegar base can be found in North Carolina. South Carolina leans toward a sweeter sauce. The sauce can be applied thick or thin, giving it more of a glaze. Turn up the heat by adding spices and peppers. Smoking meat is another way to add flavor and tenderness, too.
  • The Oxford English Dictionary cites the first recorded use of the word Barbecue in the English language in 1697 by the British buccaneer William Dampier.
  • While the standard modern English spelling of the word is barbecue, local variations like barbeque and truncations such as bar-b-q or bbq may also be found.
  • In the southeastern United States, the word barbecue is used predominantly as a noun referring to roast pork, while in the southwestern states; cuts of beef are often cooked.
  • There is no definitive history of how the word “barbecue” originated – or why it’s sometimes used as a noun, verb, or adjective.
  • Barbecues have been a White House tradition since Thomas Jefferson. Lyndon B. Johnson, the 36th president of the United States, hosted the first barbecue at the White House that featured Texas-style barbecued ribs.
  • The most popular holidays for barbecuing are, in order, July 4th (71 percent), Memorial Day (57 percent), and Labor Day (55 percent).
  • The most popular foods for cooking on the grill are, in order: burgers (85 percent), steak (80 percent), hot dogs (79 percent) and chicken (73 percent).
  • The most popular barbecue utensils are long-handled tongs (77 percent), followed by forks (64 percent), long-handled spatulas (59 percent), and then grill cleaning brushes (63 percent).
  • Traditionally, Americans have four types of BBQ regions:
    • Kansas City – A variety of beef and pork cuts are slow-cooked with a tomato and molasses-based sauce.
    • Carolina – Slow-roasted pork is cooked with a sauce with a vinegar and ketchup base combination.
    • Memphis – Dry rub pork is cooked low and slow absorbing the smokey, BBQ flavors.
    • Texas – Beef is slow-cooked in smoker grills and topped a with smoky, dry rub.
  • Ellsworth B. A. Zwoyer of Pennsylvania patented a design for charcoal briquettes in 1897. After World War I, the Zwoyer Fuel Company built charcoal briquette manufacturing plants in the United States with plants in Buffalo, NY and Fall River, MA.
  • The first commercial charcoal briquet factory was designed by Thomas Edison and built by Henry Ford in 1921.
  • It took a great deal of lumber to create the decorative wood trim for Ford vehicles, so much so that Ford built a factory to turn that wasted wood into charcoal briquettes. To create a market for the briquettes, Ford created picnic kits containing portable grills and charcoal as vehicle accessories in the 1930s.
  • Competition barbecuing is one of the hottest hobbies in the country with hundreds of cook-offs held throughout all 50 states. The biggest and most famous are Memphis in May and The American Royal in Kansas City. Both cities stake their claim to being the barbecue capital of the US.
  • Around one million years ago Homo erectus, the hominid just before Neanderthal man, first tasted cooked meat.
  • In 2007 Israeli scientists at the University of Haifa uncovered evidence that early humans living in the area around Carmel, about 200,000 years ago were serious about barbecue.
  • Food historians claim that the first mention of barbecue in the United States is in colonial Virginia where a law forbade the shooting of firearms at a barbecue.
  • U.S. presidents were known to be big fans of the laid-back pastime. George Washington‘s diaries abound with references to barbecues, including one that lasted for three days. When Abraham Lincoln‘s parents were married, their wedding feast was a barbecue.
  • Barbecue competitions have been taking place since at least 1959. The first one seems to have taken place in Hawaii just a few months after it became a state and was only for men. Twenty-five men entered the cook-off, competing for the grand prize of $10,000 (about $80,000 today).
  • Once male-dominated, BBQs are now becoming much more equal with women accounting for an equal 50% of all grilling occasions in 2022, and although men still account for 50% this is down 4% from 2020.
  • 263,000 moist towelettes will be used to wipe up BBQ sauce covering fingers and faces.
  • The most common ingredient added to barbecue sauce is garlic, followed by brown sugar.
  • You can actually measure barbecue heat with your hand.  Some claim that it is not true, and some that it is. Either way, you can try and find out for yourself! Hold your palm five inches above the grill and count the number of seconds:
    • 2-4 sec: 450-550F
    • 5-7 sec: to 450f
    • 8-10 sec: up to 350f
  • Almost 70% of Americans own a grill, according to a 2017 survey by the Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Association.
  • One of the most delicious grilling foods for vegans is tofu cheese. Grilled tofu smells wonderful, and tastes even more beautiful. Besides, tofu is high in protein and has various benefits for people who go on a diet.
  • Removing corn husks is easy. We all love grilling corn, but we all hate removing corn husks. Luckily, there is a simple trick. According to Chef John of Youtube fame, if you put each ear in the microwave for three minutes and then chop off the bottom with a knife, the husks and silk will slide right off.
  • Aptly named Smokey Robinson’s contract rider includes a request for a platter of barbecue chicken wings for himself, his vocalists, his dancers, his conductor and his band members.
  • The Biggest BBQ Pit Is in Texas. It’s located in Brenham, Texas and the pit doubles as a truck, it’s 76 feet long, and it is big enough to cook four to six tons of barbecue food at once.
  • Grilling and Barbecuing Are Different.  Though most people use the terms to mean the same thing, grilling and barbecuing have different definitions. You grill your food on the direct source of heat with the lid up. But barbecuing involves putting the lid down so the hot air surrounds the food and cooks it that way.
  • Hooded BBQs are now the most popular, accounting for 60% of all sales followed by flat-bed grills with smokers, ceramic egg and plancha grills growing fast. External pizza ovens, whether standalone or BBQ add-ons have also grown in popularity.
  • Over the last few years, there has been a clear Gastro Grilling move, the ‘sausage to swordfish and burger to brochette’ evolution in the style and type of food cooked at a BBQ. However, Chicken at 20% still retains its position as the favorite BBQ food, followed by burgers at 19%, while sausages have slipped to 15%, with kebabs rising to 12% and steak steady at 11%fish has also increased to 9%, whilst lamb and pork share 6%.
  • Vegetables are the biggest risers increasing by 45% to 20%
  • 20% of all households now have 2 BBQ grills and 8% 3 or more. Traditional US ‘smoker’ BBQs are becoming more popular and are now in 3.5% of all homes. 7% of all households now have some form of outdoor kitchen.


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