There’s evidence humans started cooking their meat with controlled fire around 1.6 million years ago. Just don’t ask what the evidence is. The first recorded barbecue party took place in the Caribbean in 1526. Spanish explorer Gonzalo Fernández De Oviedo y Valdés travelled extensively in this area and when he returned home to Spain, he wrote about the Taino people and their way of cooking “barbacoe.”
Another “barbacoe” was held a few years later, at what is now Tupelo, Mississippi. Explorer Hernando de Soto brought pigs from Spain and enjoyed a tasty meal cooked by the Chickasaw tribe on an open pit. The Spanish adopted the cooking style and refined it. Eventually this method found its way north to Virginia and the Carolinas. Southern slaves, who were given the poorer cuts of pork by their masters, smoked and cooked their meat slowly on open pits for delicious results.
The Southerners perfected the barbecue and the “rib joint.” After the Second World War, barbecue became mainsteam. In 1948, H.J. Heinz introduced the first nationally distributed barbecue sauce. In 1953 W.C. Bradley Company of Georgia started selling the first Charbroil charcoal grill. (Bradley still makes them although manufacturing has moved to China.)
Suburban backyard brick barbecues were a pain to build and they were not convenient to take on family camping trips. The Weber kettle grill was introduced in 1951. In 1957 Popular Mechanics published plans for making a barbecue from an oil barrel.
Before long the Japanese hibachi, a small portable charcoal grill, was introduced in North America. Gas grills were first introduced in the early 1960s just as working class folks started tp buy patio furniture and install in-ground swimming pools on their little plots of suburbian paradise.
Somewhere around this time, barbecuing became an acceptable way for men to cook. Chris Dummitt writes in Finding a Place for Father: Selling the Barbecue in Postwar Canada, “Between the late 1940s and the mid 1950s, a group of advertisers, cookbook writers, and pop culture journalists introduced Canadians to a new form of household cookery: the barbecue. While grilling food over a fire was not entirely new, the cultural form and meaning of postwar suburban barbecuing sprung directly from middle-class family life and gender relations in 1950s Canada.”
He explores why men played such a key role in outdoor cooking. “Barbecuing was one of a number of postwar male-centred family leisure activities that resulted from changing notions of fatherhood, namely, an increased expectation that men be more involved in domestic life. This study of postwar barbecue culture shows that when gendered divisions between public and private faltered, new divisions between leisure and work took their place, re-articulating and redefining existing hierarchies between masculine and feminine.”
According to statistics from the Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Association (HPBA), more than 17,000,000 grills and smokers were sold in the United States and Canada in 2007.
Canadians have come to love their barbecues. It is as much a part of our culture as hockey and Tim Hortons.
Statistics from Google show Canada leads the world when it comes to online searches for recipes on how to barbecue chicken and ribs. And it is no longer just meat: we barbecue seafood, veggies, pizza, bread and even desserts. Many of us barbecue our dinners year round. Although the ultimate pleasure of barbecuing a meal is eating it outside (when there are no bugs).
BBQ recipes for meat and potato folks
Bourbon Street Grilled Pork Tenderloin with praline sauce
This recipe comes from the French Quarter on New Orlean’s Bourbon Street.
2 pork tenderloins (¾ to 1 lb/340 to 450 g each), trimmed
3 tbsp (45 mL) Bone Dust spice*
2 + 2 tbsp (60 mL) butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 sweet onion, finely diced
1 cup (250 mL) brown sugar
2 oz (60 mL) Jim Beam bourbon
¼ cup (60 mL) pecans, chopped
1 tsp (5 mL) chopped fresh sage
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Rub the tenderloins with BBQ Spice, pressing the seasoning into the meat. Marinate, covered and refrigerated, for 4 hours.
In a medium saucepan, melt 2 tbsp (30 mL) butter over medium heat. Sauté the garlic and onion for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring, until lightly browned and tender. Stir in the brown sugar, bourbon whiskey and pecans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and stir in another 2 tbsp (30 mL) butter a little bit at a time until incorporated. Season to taste with salt and black pepper and set aside, keeping warm.
Fire up your grill to 450–550°F (230–290°C).
Grill tenderloins for six to eight minutes per side for medium doneness, basting liberally with praline barbeque sauce. Remove tenderloins from grill and let rest for five minutes.
Thinly slice and spoon praline barbeque sauce over the slices.
*How to make Bone Dust spice
Makes approximately 2¼ cups.
Prep time: 15 minutes
½ cup paprika
¼ cup chili powder
3 tbsp salt
2 tbsp ground coriander
2 tbsp garlic powder
2 tbsp granulated white sugar
2 tbsp mild Indian curry powder
2 tbsp dry hot mustard powder
1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp cayenne
This pork recipe is from barbecue master and celebrity chef Ted Reader’s new recipe book titled Gastro Grilling. Reader is the Guinness World Record holder for grilling the largest burger ever (590 pounds). An award-winning chef and food entertainer, he is the author of more than 20 cookbooks and the proprietor of a popular line of sauces and seasonings.
Lemon Oregano Grilled Potato Salad
(Recipe courtesy of Adoro Olive Oils and Vinegar)
2 lbs. red or white new potatoes
5 lean bacon slices
¼ cup Adoro Lemon fused olive oil
3 tbsp Adoro Oregano white balsamic
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. chopped dill pickle
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
⅓ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)
Bring a saucepan three-fourths full of water to a boil over high heat. Add the potatoes and cook just until they can be pierced with a knife but are not completely tender, five to seven minutes. Do not overcook. Drain and pat dry. Brush the potatoes with some of the lemon olive oil.
Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct grilling over medium-high heat. Place the bacon in a cast-iron fry pan over the hottest part of a charcoal fire or directly over the heat elements of a gas grill. Cook the bacon until crisp, eight to 10 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
Oil the grill rack. Grill the potatoes over the hottest part of a charcoal fire or directly over the heat elements of a gas grill, turning once or twice, until tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, 15 to 20 minutes total, depending on the size of the potatoes.
Transfer the potatoes to a cutting board, let cool just until they can be handled, and then slice or cut into chunks, discarding any loose skin.
To make the lemon oregano vinaigrette, in a small bowl, whisk together the remaining lemon olive oil, oregano balsamic, mustard, pickle, salt and pepper.
In a large serving bowl, toss the warm potatoes, bell pepper and onion with the vinaigrette until all the ingredients are evenly coated. Let stand for up to 30 minutes to blend the flavours. Crumble the bacon and mix it into the salad. Garnish with the parsley. Serve at room temperature.