The Oxford English Dictionary credits the origin of the word to French-speaking Haiti. Others feel that the Spanish "barbacoa" is the more likely origin. In reality no-one really knows.
Cooking meat over an open fire in the outdoors dates back to the cave men.
Our understanding of BBQ began in the late 1800's during cattle drives out West. The cowboys had to be fed and the cattle baron did not want to feed them the good meat. So, other disposable cuts were used to feed them. The main choice was Brisket, a very tough, stringy piece of meat. However, the cowboys learnt that, if you left this brisket to cook for a long period (5-7 hours) over a slow heat, a super yummy meal was to be had. Of course they also found that other meats were just as delicious if cooked the same way, so pork, pork ribs, beef ribs, venison and goat, were added to the menu.
To barbeque is slow-cooking meat at a low temperature for a long time over wood or charcoal. Not gas!
Anything else you might do over a grill, well strictly speaking it's grilling!
It would seem that the BBQ's home is across the Atlantic, where it takes a more serious aspect, where it would seem that every region has its own slight traditional variation.
Throughout the Southeast, pork is the favored meat. Virginia and North Carolina favor thin, vinegary sauces that provide a sharp contrast to the rich pork.
The rest of the region goes for thick sweet tomato-based sauces that make the most of local produce.
Texas is known for its beef barbecue, and method of dry-rubbing the meat prior to smoking it. Beef ribs are the favorite dish, with hot and sweet sauces served alongside, combining the tastes of the Southwest and Southeast.
The Southwest goes along with Texas in the theory of the spicy dry rub, without a thought to sauce.
Chicago-style barbecue is much like the kind found in the Southeast, and was brought by the migration of African-Americans to the area, along with the blues. Sauces are heavy and sweet, livened up by generous applications of pepper and are the focus of the dish.
Although barbecued turtle was popular in New York at the turn of the last century, this region is no longer well-known for its regional barbecue. Some would argue that the famous clam bakes of New England, where the shellfish are cooked in a pit with seaweed to provide steam offers a unique perspective.
Yes you have guessed it! It is the sauce that makes the difference, so we add a couple of recipes for you.
Basic BBQ Sauce for Beef
Makes: 2 Cups (approximately)
1 Tablespoon Butter.
1/2 Cup Minced Onions.
1/2 Cup Minced Celery.
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar.
2 Tablespoons Vinegar.
1 Tablespoon Prepared Mustard.
1/4 Tablespoon Salt.
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce.
Small piece of Red Pepper Pod.
1 Cup Tomato Ketchup.
1 Cup Hot Water.
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice.
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. Stir 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.
Sweet and Sour Barbeque Sauce
Makes: 2 2/3 Cups
1 Can (8.5 ounces) Crushed Pineapple
2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
1 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Maraschino Cherries
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
2/3 Cup Cider or Wine Vinegar
1/3 Cup Coarsely Chopped Green Peppers
Drain the pineapple and RESERVE THE SYRUP!
Add water to pineapple syrup to make 2/3 cup of liquid mixture.
Combine and mix sugar, cornstarch and salt in a small saucepan.
Stir in pineapple syrup and vinegar. Cook slowly, stirring constantly until thick and clear.
Fold in the pineapples, green peppers and cherries.
Heat and Serve.