Barbecue remains one of the most traditional foods in the United States. While many festive foods, such as roasted turkey or ham, are usually served on particular days or holidays, barbecue can be served on any day. Barbecue is often served on the Fourth of July, however, it is not only confined to that day. Barbecues tend to bring people together and serve as a bonding experience at any time of the year. It brings people back to their roots, providing a cooking experience that is often an escape from civilization and closer to nature. Barbecues are traditionally held outside. They could be small informal gatherings with a few of people in a backyard or a formal event that could last all day, typically held for larger amounts of people. Barbecue has been a tradition in the United States beginning with Native Americans. As author Andrew Warnes states, “its mythology of savagery and freedom, of pleasure, masculinity and strength” is part of what makes barbecues so popular to date. By the 19th century barbecues became one of the main forms of United States public celebration, especially in celebration of July 4. As barbecues continued to be held through the times of U.S. expansion the traditions began to migrate with the people. Today barbecues held in different regions of the country vary in cuisine but the cuisines all hold the same concept of cooking outside and over a fire. Barbecues today have taken on new meaning yet again with the emergence of competitive barbecue. Competitive barbecue competitions are held throughout the country in which people will compete by cooking barbecue and having it judged by the events judges. The constraints of what one may barbecue and the qualities that are judged vary by competition. Usually competitions are held in big open areas where spectators will be admitted as well and barbecue is served to all.
Barbecue cooking using smoke at low temperatures
Grilling is done over direct, dry heat, usually over a hot fire over 500 °F (260 °C) for a few minutes.
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Grilling may be done over wood, charcoal, gas, or electricity. The time difference between barbecuing and grilling is because of the temperature difference; at low temperatures used for barbecuing, meat takes several hours to reach the desired internal temperature.
is a cooking method that uses dry heat where hot air envelops the food, cooking it evenly on all sides with temperatures of at least 150 °C (~300 °F) from an open flame, oven, or other heat source. Roasting can enhance flavor through caramelization and Maillard browning on the surface of the food. Roasting uses indirect, diffused heat (as in an oven), and is suitable for slower cooking of meat in a larger, whole piece. Meats and most root and bulb vegetables can be roasted. Any piece of meat, especially red meat, that has been cooked in this fashion is called a . A roast joint of meat can take one, two, even three hours to cook—the resulting meat is tender. Also, meats and vegetables prepared in this way are described as “roasted”, e.g., roasted chicken or roasted squash.
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The masonry oven is similar to a smoke pit; it allows for an open flame but cooks more quickly and uses convection to cook.
Barbecue-baking can also be done in traditional stove-ovens. It can be used to cook meats, breads and other starches, casseroles, and desserts. It uses direct and indirect heat to surround the food with hot air to cook, and can be basted in much the same manner as grilled foods.
A pit barbecue is a method and constructed item for barbecue cooking meat and root vegetables buried below the surface of the earth. Indigenous peoples around the world used earth ovens for thousands of years. In modern times the term and activity is often associated with the Eastern Seaboard, the “barbecue belt“, colonial California in the United States and Mexico. The meats usually barbecued in a pit in these contexts are beef, pork, and goat.
It is possible to braise meats and vegetables in a pot on top of a grill. A gas or electric charbroil grill are the best choices for
barbecue-braising combining dry heat charbroil-grilling directly on a ribbed surface and braising in a broth-filled pot for moist heat. The pot is placed on top of the grill, covered, and allowed to simmer for a few hours. There are two advantages to barbecue-braising; it allows browning of the meat directly on the grill before the braising. It also allows for glazing of meat with sauce and finishing it directly over the fire after the braising. This effectively cooks the meat three times, which results in a soft, textured product that falls off the bone. The time needed for braising varies depending on whether a slow cookerpressure cooker is used; it is generally slower than regular grilling or baking, but quicker than pit-smoking.