Smoking Out the History of BBQ Cooking

Barbeque It’s a summer staple across the continent and an all year round favorite in the sunny south.  But BBQ cooking has a long, intriguing history that’s actually debated with passion in some circles.

The First Smoked Meat?

Folks who call themselves “true barbecue” enthusiasts would define the process as smoking beef or pork outdoors.  Most likely this originated from Native Americans, who did it out of necessity.

When they were successful on a hunt it was important to either eat the meat quickly or preserve it to enjoy later on.  Spanish explorers found that the natives used the sun to preserve their meat, building racks over small fires to smoke away the insects and other pests during the process.

Ingeniously, the Natives were also doing what many of us today would call BBQ or smoking their dinner.  Did the Spanish introduce spices to the recipe or were the Natives already using them?

Indigenous people of the West Indies called this process “barbacoa,” which could be where the modern term came from.  You can enjoy it (without having to hunt for your food) with the Big Green Egg or the Viking C4 Outdoor Cooker, two of the smokers available at Outdora.

The First Slow Cooked Meat?

There is another historical story that concentrates more on the idea of slow cooking meat over a wood or charcoal fire.

Back in the early 1800’s when cowboys were driving cattle across the West they were often supplied with lower quality meat to satisfy their appetites.  Determined and innovative, these men took their briskets (tough meat from the lower breast of cattle) and cooked them over a fire at low temperature for five hours or more.  That process worked to transform this stringy meat into a delicious and tender dinner.

Others argue that the Polynesians have been slow cooking pork for thousands of years.  People who immigrated to North America may have brought these processes over with them, allowing low quality, less desired meats to become finger licking meals.

Texan beef brisket can be sumptuously cooked on your charcoal or gas grill by standing it in an aluminum foil pan and leaving it indirect heat on your closed BBQ for 5 to 8 hours.  It’s an acquired skill, but an incredibly simple process.  Pick from one of the larger, stainless steel BBQs at Outdora for ample room and better heat control.

Anyway you prefer your BBQ meat, the process is a blast and great for parties and long, lazy summer afternoons.  Just proves that the cowboys and Natives knew what they were doing all along.

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