A North American Classic: The History of Barbecue

July 27, 2015

Nothing makes a summer party quite like some good ol’ fashioned barbecue. The sweet, tangy taste of a proper barbecue spice rub is a party in your mouth, and the juicy tenderness of the meat leaves everyone feeling full and satisfied. Barbecue (or BBQ) is a staple cookout food in North America – and for good reason. Slow-cooked meat flavored with spices and smoke gets mouths watering like nothing else. It’s amazing!

Note: in Canada, a barbecue often refers to either the grilling appliance we all know or an event where foods are grilled outdoors, and ‘to barbecue’ something often means to grill it over an open flame – be it burgers, hot dogs or vegetables.

Barbecue in the traditional (American) sense is the spiced, slow cooked meat that is made using indirect heat in a specialized cooker – but can also be done in what we all know as a barbecue. Are you still with us?

Let’s take a quick look at the delicious history of traditional barbecue.

Barbacoa

When Europeans first came to the new world, they noticed that the indigenous inhabitants of the Caribbean roasted meat over a pit filled with wood and leaves. The low heat and smoke would rise up, cook the meat, and give it a great flavor. The Europeans decided to name this practice after a tribe that they encountered, the Barbacoa tribe. While traditional barbecue involved digging a hole in the ground, modern practices are a lot more diverse.

The Southern United States

From the Caribbean, the tradition of barbecue moved into the southern United States. Immigrants from around the world also contributed to its evolution. Southerners would typically use pigs as a main source of food because they required little care. With time, slow cookers and smoke houses became ubiquitous. To this day some of the best traditional barbecue on Earth is in the Southern US.

Modern Day Explosion

Nowadays, barbecue-ing or grilling is a form of cooking can be found all over the world in many different styles: Mongolian, Asian-fusion, Southern, Caribbean and just about every other kind of grilling and smoking that you can think of. It has become a social event, a world competition, and an exciting hobby for amateur grill-masters everywhere. With an infinite list of ingredients and techniques to choose from, no time has ever been better for barbecue in its history.

Next time you are thinking about putting on a company picnic, make sure that you choose the right foods and theme. Our Western theme for example comes with a good ol’ fashioned BBQ and all of the trimmings. It’ll make sure that everyone leaves full and satisfied. Go ahead and check out our food services today – we’re sure you’ll find something in there for everyone!