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The History and Origin of Barbecue

Well, folks, today we’re going to take a little walk down memory lane. Not my memory or yours certainly, but the memory of (cue spooky deep voice) ALL MANKIND!

Today we’re going to take a look at the history and origin of barbecue. Why? Because here at Love That Barbecue we truly do love barbecue and all it encompasses. And since you can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been, we’re going to see where the term and idea of barbecue came from. And as long and involved as that may sound, it will actually be pretty short.

Why? Because we are neither historians, experts or grammar kings. We just love barbecue.

The history of the term itself is not clear, but of course the history of cooking meat over fire is as old as mankind. Since fire was first discovered and meat cooked over it, people have been in love with it. Well, we like to imagine the love when in all reality it was a necessity. But we can say they loved it because we are rewriting history.

The term barbecue itself first entered the English language around the late 1600s. Explorers and pirates, or buccaneers as some liked to call themselves, came across a peculiar style of cooking in the Caribbean and south Florida where the meat and often the whole animal was suspended on sticks above a fire for a long long time, often overnight. The word “barbecue” first appeared in the dictionary in 1756.

Of course as time went on people moved here and there, cultures blended together and regional varieties were created. We aren’t going to go into all the different varieties of barbecue here today – that will be likely set aside for a series of articles later. Suffice it to say the different types of barbecue are numerous.

However, as far as the history of the word, in the English language the word is a little over 300 years old. Here’s to hoping it will continue for another 300 years. Or more.