The Insider History of Barbecue

If you aren't adding a sauce or some kind of flavoring, many would say that you're simply grilling meat, not having a barbecue. A traditional barbecue is a social event, involving the serving of meat that has been basted with some kind of sauce, and slow cooked for five to six hours at a low temperature (usually about 200F), over either wood or charcoal.

Traditional barbecue meats are cuts of steak or pork, but today, we more often think of hamburgers and hot dogs. In some regions, you might also see bratwurst or other kinds of sausage. You might also find kebabs including roasted vegetables, as well as meat. Texas, Virginia, both of the Carolinas, and Georgia, all claim to be the authentic home of barbecue and those claims may have some validity in each area, as each state has its own barbecue etiquette and traditions, as well as its own methods and sauces to make for a unique barbecue experience.

A Texas barbecue sauce is thick and sweet, with rich tomato flavor. The Texas dry-rub has a mixture of seasonings. Whether the sauce or the rub is used, each is typically applied to large cuts of beef, which are then hung to cook slowly over a well-controlled fire.

To the southeast, the sauce is thinner, and more vinegar is used, while the meat of choice is more likely to be pork. Additionally, the method of cooking typically is to place the meat in a pit or enclosure, which concentrates the heat and smoke, to give the meat a truly different taste.

Regardless of the area of the United States that you're in, however, the barbecue is an American tradition, and there's no chance of it declining in popularity. Almost every family has their BBQ favorites as to sauces and cooking methods. Kind of funny how people take in so closely their family secret recipes. Either way BBQ gatherings are some of the best outdoor activities you can do with friends and family.

At your next barbecue event, you can stir up the conversation and controversy by simply asking your local BBQ connoisseurs seeming simple questions such as what's the difference between grilling and barbecuing or what's better, wet sauce, or dry rub? Maybe, where did barbecuing originate? The answers may depend on the amount of alcohol the conversation participants have imbibed, but the responses you get are sure to be interesting!

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About The Author, Chris Jensen
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