Long Story Short: The History of Barbecue

If you didn't know yet, May is National Barbecue Month. So, we thought we'd kick off the first week with the amazing history and culture that lives and breathes with every dish you grill up. Let's get started. 

Barbecue, also known as BBQ, has become a beloved culinary tradition around the world. This method of cooking meat over an open flame has evolved into a leisurely activity that brings people together to create unforgettable memories. But where did this tradition originate?

The history of barbecue dates back centuries, with the indigenous tribes of the Caribbean and the Americas cooking meat over an open flame. In fact, the word "barbecue" comes from the Taino word "barbacoa," which refers to a wooden structure used for cooking meat over an open fire.

Man Cooking Kenyan BBQ Nyoma Choma

The love of barbecuing spread to the Southern United States, where it became an integral part of the region's cuisine. In the early days, barbecue was a way for Southern farmers and ranchers to cook and preserve meat because they lacked refrigeration. They would slow-cook tough cuts of meat, like pork shoulder or beef brisket, over a pit dug into the ground. As a result, they found that the process of smoking and slow-cooking for hours made the meat incredibly tender and flavourful.

As the popularity of barbecue grew, it became a social activity that brought friends and families together make memories over a feast of flavourful food. Shortly, wooden "grills" replaced the traditional pit dug into the ground, which eventually became metal grills. During this time, people also began to experiment with different types of wood and seasonings to enhance the flavour of meat. Soon after that, barbecue competitions and festivals emerged, showcasing the best barbecue recipes from around the world.

Today, barbecue is more than just a way to cook meat - it's a cultural phenomenon. From Texas-style brisket to North Carolina-style pulled pork, each region has its own unique take on barbecue. Some people smoke meat with real wood, some people prefer gas grilling. No matter what kind of barbecuing you do though, just remember that it all started with the power of barbecued food to bring people together. What started as a practical way to cook meat has evolved into a cherished tradition that carries different histories and cultures in each dish. So, whether you prefer sweet, savoury, tangy, or spicy flavours, just remember there is a barbecue recipe out there for everyone - as well as memories to be made for everyone.


Barbecues Galore has the best selection of barbecues, patio furniture, and outdoor heating supplies. We sell barbecues, accessories, and everything else you need for exceptional grilling and backyard experiences. With locations in Calgary and the GTA, you can visit us in store or shop online. North Calgary Store: (403) 250-1558 | South Calgary Store: (403) 258-4440 | Burlington Store: (905) 639-5952 | Oakville Store: (905) 844-3224 | Etobicoke Store: (416) 546-3266

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