Updated: Jan 31, 2022
The history of BBQ stretches back as early as the late 1500s and although an American favorite today, did not begin on this continent! As with many cooking traditions, it began with European, Central American, and Caribbean indigenous peoples and slaves in those regions and with the indigenous populations across this continent.
It would not be until the late 17th century that the word barbecue would be adopted into English writing and even then, it was considered a crude form of cooking and the last resort if there were other more well-cooked meats to eat.
Then in the late 1700s with the expansion of people from European countries spreading into North America, barbecuing became more commonplace. It grew in two ways, one with the arrival of settlers from Germany, Russia, Poland, and Czechoslovakia into the mid-west and Texas, who brought their long history of smoking meat, and two from the traditions of the Native American populations. The latter was not understood until after long bloody wars and forced removal of the indigenous people wherein settlers saw first hand the usefulness of cooking meat in this fashion.
It was not until the late 1940's that BBQ became the quintessential American meal. With the beginning of the Cold War, it became important to distinguish ourselves from other countries and cultures and the frontier practice of smoking meat was just that.
Read more the full article by History Today here!