Brisket, brats, burgers and butts, you name it, it can be smoked, grilled and barbecued just the way you like it. Gone are the days of dousing newspaper in gasoline, lighting it on fire and shoving it under some charcoal, today you’ve got grills, smokers, eggs, the size of Texas and the price tag to go with it. Nowadays, everything is fair game to grill or smoke including cheese-its, chocolate, even gummy bears, everything is up for grabs.

But how did it all get started? Some say the early settlers, Spanish conquistadors, tried preserving meat in the sun but it became infested with bugs, which was a big problem, so to get rid of the pests, they built small fires and placed the meat on racks, preserving the meat and getting rid of the lil’ critters. 

According to tradition, this was the beginning of barbecue or “barbacoa” as it was called by the natives of the West Indies. The process eventually evolved and gained popularity in the United States with the barbecuing of pork as it was the meat of choice in the South because pigs thrive with very little care and attention. Eventually the racks used to dry the meat were replaced with pits and smokehouses. Today some restaurants are home to some of the largest smokehouses in the country.

And lest not forget the fierce competition that exists in a very small region of the nation where four states constantly compete for the top prize of best barbecue. Those four main styles are: North Carolina, South Carolina, Memphis and Kansas City and it’s all related to the type of sauce you prefer, sweet and spicy, vinegar, mustard, or tomato-based deliciousness. Each has it’s own unique flavor and flare.

So whether you like to do it low and slow or fast and fierce, there is a grill, smoker or something in between that can definitely take your backyard BBQ and kick it up a notch to a tasty competition-style dish


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