As we step into the first days of fall here in Michigan, we’re all wondering the same thing…..how many more days of grilling can I fit in before the snow falls?
That said, I know plenty of hard-core grill masters for which chargrilled flavors abound year-round. Which brings us to the subject of barbecue.
A Brief History of Barbecue
Are the terms “grill” and “barbecue” interchangeable? Well, it depends on who you’re talking to. Many food experts categorize barbecue as cooking low and slow, often with smoke, taking several hours to reach the most desirable flavor profile. But there are many other methods that could depend on your perspective and region of the world, qualify as barbecue.
There is something special about barbeque in all its forms. Like understanding the subtleties of dialects within a single country or state, so too can we start to identify the regional qualities of barbeque. The South is particularly notable when it comes to these differences. Whether you enjoy vinegar-based sauce from Northern Carolina or the sweeter, thick, tomato-based sauces of South Carolina, every region has its secret sauce. It’s also worth calling out the pitmasters, those folks dedicated to tending the fire and caring for the meat. Everything from whole-hog, brisket, racks of ribs and more, the pitmaster is at the center of carrying on a time-honored tradition of real barbecue in the South.
One thing is for sure, using a dry rub on your protein before grilling can add an instant punch of flavor. Whether you make them yourself or try a pre-made rub, this might be the fastest way to get a great tasting meal on the table. BLiS’s Moroccan Spice Blend might be one of my favorite of all time.
Southern Living produced a fantastic mash-up of some of the most noted pit masters in the South. It’s definitely worth taking 5 minutes to watch:
It seems there are as many theories on the exact origin of barbecue as there are recipes.
Barbecue, or it’s alternate spelling, barbeque, is said to be derived from barabicu found in the language of the Arawak people of the Caribbean and the Timucua people of Florida. The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) translates it as a "framework of sticks set upon posts" with Haitian origins which, when you look at the photo below, makes sense. The French, English, and Spanish all have claims on the origination, but when you’ve got a saucy rib in your mouth, my guess is that you won’t care who is right.
For the average Joe, building a framework of sticks in the backyard or breaking down a whole hog to pit-roast probably isn’t realistic. But we can all agree that in these waning days of warm weather, nothing beats firing up the backyard grill.
What are you waiting for?______________________________________________________________
Here are a couple of my favorite BBQ recipes:
Grilled Lamb Chops with Moroccan Spice
Grilled Rack of Baby Back Ribs
The popularity of a good barbecue brings with it pit master competitions across the nation.
Take a quick look at the National Barbecue News site and you’ll quickly realize that you could probably go to a BBQ event about 300 days out of the year.
National Barbecue Event Calender
BLiS has been a long-time supporter of the barbecue community. Some of our featured chef friends are called out below:
David Olson - Life Fire Republic
Trace Scarborough - Thunderbird Wings
Russ Faulk - Kalamazoo Gourmet