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Honoring All Things Barbecue During National Barbecue Month

Just how big is barbecue in the United States? While some foods get a day dedicated in their honor, barbecue merits the entire month of May! It’s not surprising when you consider the deliciousness, versatility, and satisfying nature of this toothsome treat. There’s no better time to pay homage to the beloved national pastime of barbecue than during National Barbecue Month. If you’ve ever wondered how barbecue reached its culinary star status, read on for the scoop.

Barbecue month

One part ribs, one part pulled pork, all parts delicious.

The Beginnings of Barbecue

Most people in the U.S. associate barbecue with the South, but the origins of this favorite food — along with its etymology — are actually up for debate. While some attribute the word “barbecue” to a West Indian term for cooking meat over hot coals (“barbacoa“), others credit its name to a French term meaning “from head to tail” (“barbe a queue“).

While that particular mystery may never be solved, here’s one illuminating fact: The food many Americans accept as barbecue in this day and age are only a distant cousin of the original.

Barbecue involves far more than slathering meat in the nearest barbecue sauce and tossing it on the grill. Rather, it’s an art and science in which flavor is imparted and magnified through a long, intense process consisting of cooking the perfect combination of meat, smoke, fat, juices and spices over an open flame for hours.

Regardless of its ambiguous etymology, we do know that barbecue really took off in the South in the pre-Civil War era when pigs were an affordable, available, and favored food source. In fact, entire communities would gather to slaughter a pig and share the meal. So came to be the traditional Southern barbecue celebrated today everywhere from neighborhood parties to church picnics.

Tracing Tasty Traditions

While the concept of barbecue may seem sweeping, the truth is that it comprises four distinct regional styles. Memphis, Carolina, Kansas City, and Texas are each famous for barbecue in their own succulent, signature style. While it’s possible to dissect the differences found within the aptly named “barbecue belt,” the best way to truly understand the varying styles and flavors is to taste for yourself.

One last thing to keep in mind: Just because eating your way through barbecue country may not be part of your vacation plans this year doesn’t mean you have to go without. Today’s gourmet mail order food offerings deliver the country’s best barbecue, along with all of the fabulous fixin’s, straight to your door.

The best part? Most options can be prepared on the grill or pit for the perfect party meal, but they can also be warmed in the oven on low-key evenings or if the weather puts a damper on your party plans.

Barbecue month

Burned ends: the “crown jewel” of Kansas City Barbecue.

Spring heralds the return of sunny days, breezy nights, and plenty of opportunities to experience the unique joy of an American tradition: Good, old-fashioned barbecue. Why wait until the last minute when you can start planning a mouthwatering menu with a little (okay – a lot) of help from FoodyDirect? Shop foods, gifts and more today.