Barbecues have been a White House tradition since Thomas Jefferson. Lyndon B. Johnson, the 36th president of the United States, hosted the first barbecue at the White House that featured Texas-style barbecued ribs. Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter hosted a “pig pickin’” for about 500 guests including visiting foreign dignitaries. Ronald and Nancy Reagan also were avid barbecuers who entertained with barbecues at their ranch. George H. Bush, 41st president, held a barbecue for Members of Congress annually on the South Lawn of the White House, a tradition continued by his son, President George W. Bush. However, that tradition was interrupted on September 12, 2001, the day after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Secret Service agents, who had evacuated the White House a day earlier, cancelled the barbecue and the White House kitchen released 700 pounds of beef tenderloin to feed the hundreds of rescue workers who had traveled to Washington.
When we barbecue
The most popular holidays for barbecuing are, in order, July 4th (76 percent), Memorial Day (62 percent), and Labor Day (62 percent).
What we barbecue
According to HPBA’s 2013 survey data (the most recent year this data was collected),
The most popular foods for cooking on the grill are, in order: burgers (85 percent), steak (80 percent), hot dogs (79 percent) and chicken (73 percent).
The side dishes most commonly prepared on the grill are, in order, corn (41 percent), potatoes (41 percent), and other vegetables (32 percent).
The most popular flavors of barbecue sauce are hickory, followed by mesquite, honey, and then spicy-hot.
How we barbecue
There are about as many styles of barbecuing as there are opinions – everyone’s got their own! Generally speaking, though, there are barbecue styles that dominate in different regions of the country. In the Carolinas, they can’t agree whether sauce should be vinegar, mustard or tomato based, but they can agree on the meat the sauce goes on – pork. In the Deep South, Georgia, Florida, and parts of Louisiana, you’ll find that Cajun cuisine has had a strong influence. Regardless of whether you’re barbecuing beef brisket, pork ribs, rabbit, or trout, chances are your taste buds will get a kick from a spicy marinade, sauce, or rub. In other parts of the South, pork also rules. In sunny California, lighter fare such as salmon is king of the grill. The Midwest is a barbecue hotbed – if you can’t find a meat and sauce combination you like in Kansas City, you can’t find it anywhere.
Nearly half of all owners own the most basic grilling accessories (cleaning brush, tongs, glove/mitts), and many plan to purchase more specialized accessories in the year ahead, such as:
Pizza stone (14%)
Fish or broiling basket (14%)
Cedar or other cooking planks (14%)
Motorized rotisserie (12%)
Grill woks (11%)
Ellsworth B. A. Zwoyer of Pennsylvania patented a design for charcoal briquettes in 1897. After World War I, the Zwoyer Fuel Company built charcoal briquette manufacturing plants in the United States with plants in Buffalo, NY and Fall River, MA.
There are stories circulating that Henry Ford invented the very first briquette in 1920 with the help of Thomas Edison. However, the 1897 patent obviously predates this and Ford and Edison both knew Zwoyer.
Natural lump charcoal costs a bit more than charcoal briquettes, but it burns hotter, which means you use less – and partially burned natural lump charcoal can be reused. Briquettes work better for long cooking periods and they produce more consistent heat.
It’s easy to check how much propane is remaining in your tank. When using a gas grill, be sure to regularly check how much propane remains in your tank. There are several accessories on the market that can easily monitor your propane level without lifting the propane tank. Better yet, keep a full, spare propane tank handy so you never run out of fuel.
There is no definitive history about how the word “barbecue” originated – or why it’s sometimes used as a noun, verb, or adjective. Some say the Spaniards get the credit for the word, derived from their “barbacoa” which is an American-Indian word for the framework of green wood on which foods were placed for cooking over hot coals. Others think the French were responsible, offering the explanation that when the Caribbean pirates arrived on our Southern shores, they cooked animals on a spit-like devise that ran from “whiskers to tail” or “de barbe a` queue.”
Competition barbecuing is one of the hottest hobbies in the country with hundreds of cook-offs held throughout all 50 states. The biggest and most famous are Memphis in May and The American Royal in Kansas City. Both cities stake their claim to being the barbecue capital of the U.S.