When is National Barbecue Month?
The month of May is always National Barbecue Month
Are there other related Holidays? Yes!
What is Barbecue?
Wikipedia tells us that "Barbecue or barbeque (abbreviated BBQ, Bar-B-Q or Bar-B-Que or diminuted, chiefly in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom to barbie, and braai in South Africa) is a method and apparatus for cooking food, often meat, with the heat and hot gases of a fire, smoking wood, or hot coals of charcoal and may include application of a marinade, spice rub, or basting sauce to the meat." "The term as a noun can refer to foods cooked by this method, to the cooker itself, or to a party that includes such food." "The term is also used as a verb for the act of cooking food in this manner. Barbecue is usually cooked in an outdoor environment heated by the smoke of wood or charcoal, or with propane and similar gases." "Restaurant barbecue may be cooked in large brick or metal ovens specially designed for that purpose."
Barbecue has numerous regional variations
"In many parts of the world. Notably, in the United States, practitioners consider barbecue to include only relatively indirect methods of cooking, with the more direct high-heat methods to be called grilling."
"In British English usage, barbecuing and grilling refer to a fast cooking process directly over high heat, whilst grilling also refers to cooking under a source of direct, high heat--known in the US and Canada as broiling." "In US English usage, however, grilling refers to a fast process over high heat whilst barbecuing refers to a slow process using indirect heat and/or hot smoke." "For example, in a typical US home 'grill', food is cooked on a grate directly over hot charcoal; while in a US 'barbecue', the coals are dispersed to the sides or at significant distance from the grate."
"Alternatively, an apparatus called a smoker with a separate fire box may be used." "Hot smoke is drawn past the meat by convection for very slow cooking." "This is essentially how barbecue is cooked in most US 'barbecue' restaurants, but nevertheless many consider this to be a distinct cooking process called smoking."
"The slower methods of cooking break down the collagen in meat and tenderize tougher cuts for easier eating."
"In the Southern United States, barbecue initially revolved around the cooking of pork." "During the 19th century, pigs were a low-maintenance food source that could be released to forage for themselves in forests and woodlands." "When food or meat supplies were low, these semi-wild pigs could then be caught and eaten."
"According to estimates, prior to the American Civil War Southerners ate around five pounds of pork for every one pound of beef they consumed." "Because of the poverty of the southern United States at this time, every part of the pig was eaten immediately or saved for later (including the ears, feet, and other organs). Because of the effort to capture and cook these wild hogs, "pig slaughtering became a time for celebration, and the neighborhood would be invited to share in the largesse." "These feasts are sometimes called 'pig-pickin's.' The traditional Southern barbecue grew out of these gatherings."
Each Southern locale has its own particular variety of barbecue, particularly concerning the sauce.
- The Carolinas tend to prepare tangier vinegar based sauces.
- Memphis barbecue is best-known for tomato- and vinegar-based sauces.
- South Carolina is the only state that includes all four recognized barbecue sauces, including mustard based, vinegar based, light and heavy tomato based.
- In some Memphis establishments and in Kentucky, meat is rubbed with dry seasoning (dry rubs) and smoked over hickory wood without sauce; the finished barbecue is then served with barbecue sauce on the side.
- The barbecue of Georgia and Tennessee is almost always pork served with a sweet tomato-based sauce. A popular item in North Carolina and Memphis is the pulled pork sandwich served on a bun and topped with cole slaw. Pulled pork is prepared by shredding the pork after it is barbecued.
- Barbecue in the extreme north of Alabama, near Huntsville, is often served with a mayonnaise-based sauce.
- Texas barbecue is often assumed to be primarily beef. Texas has four main regional styles of barbecue, all with different flavors, different cooking methods, different ingredients, and different cultural origins. East Texas barbecue is an extension of traditional southern barbecue, similar to that found in Tennessee and Arkansas. It is primarily pork-based, with cuts such as pork shoulder and pork ribs, indirectly slow smoked over primarily hickory wood. The sauce is tomato-based, sweet, and thick. This is also the most common urban barbecue in Texas, spread by African-Americans when they settled in big cities like Houston and Dallas. Central Texas was settled by German and Czech settlers in the mid 1800s, and they brought with them European-style meat markets, which would smoke leftover cuts of pork and beef, often with high heat, using primarily native oak and pecan. The European settlers did not think of this meat as barbecue, but the Anglo farm workers who bought it started calling it such, and the name stuck. Traditionally this barbecue is served without sauce, and with no sides other than saltine crackers, pickles, and onions. This area also produces sausages derived from German influences, such as Elgin hot links. This style is found in the Barbecue Belt southeast of Austin, with Lockhart as its capital. " The border between the South Texas Plains and Northern Mexico has always been blurry, and this area of Texas, as well as its barbecue style, are mostly influenced by Mexican tastes. The area was the birthplace of the Texas ranching tradition, and the Mexican farmhands were often partially paid for their work in less desirable cuts of meat, such as the diaphragm, from which fajitas are made, and the cow's head. They would wrap the head in wet maguey leaves and bury it in a pit with hot coals for several hours, and then pull off the meat for barbacoa tacos. The tongue is also used to make lengua tacos. Today, barbacoa is mostly cooked in an oven in a bain-marie."The last style of Texas Barbecue also originated from Texas ranching traditions, but was developed in the western third of the state by Anglo ranchers. This style of "Cowboy" barbecue, cooked over an open pit using direct heat from mesquite, is the style most closely associated with Texas barbecue in popular imagination. The meat is primarily beef, shoulder clods and brisket being favorite cuts, but mutton and goat are also often found in this barbecue style." For more info see: Regional variations of barbecue