The history of barbecue (BBQ) is a long and storied one, dating back to the very earliest days of human history. It is believed that BBQ first originated amongst cavemen, who would cook their food over open fires. From there, the practice of BBQ spread to other cultures and eventually became the popular cooking method we know today.
What is BBQ?
Put simply, BBQ is a method of cooking food using direct heat. This can be done either over an open flame or hot coals, which imparts a unique flavor to the food. BBQ is often used for meats, as the long cooking time allows the fat and juices to render down, making them incredibly tender and flavorful.
Where Does the Word Barbecue Come From?
The word barbecue actually has its origins in the Spanish language. It comes from the word barbacoa, which referred to a type of framework used to cook meat over an open fire. Eventually, the word made its way into English vernacular and came to mean the act of grilling food outdoors.
How Did BBQ Make It to America?
BBQ first came to America with the Spanish settlers who arrived in the 1500s. However, it wasn’t until the late 1600s that BBQ really started to take off in popularity. This was due in part to the introduction of pigs by British colonists. Pigs were well-suited to the climate and terrain of early America, and they quickly became a staple of the American diet. Consequently, BBQ became a popular way to cook pig meat.
Over time, BBQ continued to gain in popularity, eventually becoming a distinctly American cooking tradition. Today, BBQ is enjoyed by people all over the world and has become an iconic part of American culture.
When Was Modern BBQ Invented?
While the history of BBQ dates back centuries, modern BBQ as we know it today was invented in the early 20th century. Specifically, it is believed that BBQ was first popularized by African Americans in the American South. They would often cook meat over open flames or hot coals, which imparted a unique flavor to the food.
Today, there are many different types of BBQ, each with its own distinct flavor and history. Whether you prefer your BBQ ribs Kansas City-style or Memphis-style, there’s no doubt that this culinary tradition is here to stay.
Other BBQ Milestones:
- In the mid-1500s, the Chicksaw tribe cooked pork over a barbacoa
- In the mid-1800s, barbecue pits were dug underground to keep the heat and smoke contained.
- In the late 1800s, the first charcoal briquette was patented. These briquettes made it easier to produce uniform heat, which made grilling meats much simpler and more consistent.
- In the early 1900s, commercial barbecue sauce was invented.
- In the mid-1900s, gas and electric grills became popular, making it easier for people to BBQ at home.
- In the mid-1900s, competitions and cook-offs became popular, further spreading the popularity of BBQ.
- In the early 2000s, shows like The Grill Dads and BBQ Pitmasters helped to increase the popularity of BBQ even more.
Today, BBQ is enjoyed by people all over the world, and there are even competitions dedicated to finding the best BBQ cook. Whether you’re cooking for a large group or just yourself, BBQ is a delicious way to enjoy your food.
What Was the First BBQ Restaurant?
Some say the first BBQ stand was opened by Henry Perry in Kansas City in 1907, though other references find there was a barbecue restaurant in Atlanta as early as 1897. However, it wasn’t until the mid-1900s that BBQ restaurants started to become popular nationwide.
Nowadays, there are BBQ restaurants all over the country, each with its own unique style and flavor. Whether you’re looking for traditional smoked meats or something a little more innovative, there’s sure to be a BBQ restaurant that suits your taste.