Since the Stone Age, man has been perfecting the art of cooking using a direct flame. If you were to ask someone about the history of barbecue, you would most likely get a response similar to the statement above. However, that would not be quite right, as there is a fundamental difference between simply cooking with a flame and having a barbecue.
If you do not add some sauce, to the direct flame method, you are grilling, not having a barbecue. To truly barbecue is to baste and slow cook meat 5 or 6 hours at a low temperature (around 200 degrees), over wood or charcoal. Today when you think of going to a barbecue, you may conjure up the idea of a hamburger or steak, so big and juicy, it melts in your mouth. Alternatively, perhaps a hot dog grilled to perfection with all the toppings. The phrase barbecue has evolved to mean either the meat served or the social event where the meat served has been specially prepared to represent a Barbecue taste.
Regardless of which area of the US you choose as your favorite for barbecue, the barbecue is an American Tradition, handed down from generation to generation. There is no chance the barbecue party will lose its appeal anytime soon. While there is no question that the barbecue is an American delicacy, there are many different theories as to where its origins lie. The state of Texas, Virginia, the Carolinas, or Georgia, each area has its own definition and history of Barbecue. It may well be that each area has its own rightful claim to the barbecue history as each uses different methods and sauces to make their own unique barbecue.
And there would be no BBQ without a Texas barbecue sauce, which is thick and sweet with a rich tomato flavour. Texas sauce also uses a dry-rub mixture of seasonings, which is applied to the beef, and then the meat is hung over the BBQ to slow cook. The southeast barbecue sauce is a thinner sauce, with more of a vinegary taste. Their meat of choice is likely to be pork. The method used here is to use a pit or enclosure to concentrate the cooking heat and smoke around the meat whilst it is being prepared. Almost every family has their own unique taste and method used to get just the right barbecue.
At your next barbecue, if you want to rev up the conversation between barbecue connoisseurs, just casually ask, Do you know the difference between barbecue and grilling? Or, where did the barbecue originate? Of course, it may depend upon the number of drinks you have served as to the answers you get. But the responses are sure to be varied and interesting.