With the weather warming up, outdoor entertaining season is on the horizon and that means barbecue. This week, we take a look at ten interesting facts about barbecue that you can entertain your guests with next time you have a grill.
- The word barbecue can be used as both a noun, verb and adjective.
- The world’s longest barbecue was held in Russia in 2008. The barbecue was 335 feet long and was used to cook 250 skewers and 500 sausages.
- The White House in Washington has a long history of association with barbecue. In 1769, George Washington wrote of attending a barbecue in Virginia, the first White House barbecue was held by Lyndon B Johnson and featured Texas barbecue ribs. Johnson loved barbecue so much in fact that he had several installed on the roof of the White House. Both George Bush Senior and Junior held a regular barbecue for Members of Congress on the South Lawn of the White House. However, after 9/11 happened, Bush cancelled the barbecue and donated the 700 pounds of meat to the rescue workers.
- Some biological anthropologists have theorised that cooking meat over an open flame was at least partially responsible for the evolution of the human brain. Humans first began to cook meat 1.6 million years ago, and this coincides with a major shift in our species brain evolution and advancement. This is thought the be because cooking made the protein in the meat easier to digest and eat in larger quantities, giving our bodies more energy to devote to brain development.
- The word barbecue is thought to derive from the Spanish word barbacoa, meaning ‘a framework of sticks upon posts’. Spanish explorers first used the word after seeing native Haitians roasting meat over a grill made of a wooden framework resting on sticks above a fire.
- America is often thought to be the spiritual home of barbecue but there are many other cultures with a barbecuing tradition. In Argentina, asado is a popular cuisine which involves smoking huge slabs of meat over and open fire pit. South Africa has a National Braai Day where meat is cooked in a kind of metal cage over an open fire. A Hawaiian luau consists of burying a kalua pig in a sand pit and cooking it for hours whilst a Filipino lechon involves slow grilling a sucking pig on a rod over a fire.
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