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🎶 "And Mister Waiter if you please,
Another rib or two.
And I’ll go strut, strut, struttin’,
Struttin’ with some barbecue."
~ Struttin’ with Some Barbecue, Don Raye, 1928
If grilling meat or vegetables is your game or you are the holder of a secret family BBQ sauce recipe, it's the last of summer in the Northern hemisphere for the quintessential mid-century modern backyard picnic. American style barbecue dates back to colonial times, with the first recorded mention in 1672. George Washington, a diligent chronicler, even mentions attending a "barbicue" in Alexandria, Virginia, in 1769. And although there are dozens of variations of BBQ throughout the US, generally defined by the type of meat and sauce, most agree that there are 4 main barbecue styles - Memphis, Texas, Kansas City, and the Carolinas. Kansas City style barbecue is characterized by slow cooked meats with thick, tomato-based sauces containing a lot of sugar. Memphis style barbecue is similar to Kansas City style, but without as much sugar and generally spicier with sauce often served on the side. Texas style focuses on beef with a dry mustard and chili-powder based rub and strong flavored sauces. Carolina style barbecue focuses on pork with tangy peppery sauces. Folks from all over the world embark on pilgrimages to sample a taste of the Holy Trinity of Barbecue (the slow-cooked brisket, pork rib and sausage)! 🧅🍔 🥩🍡 🌽 🥕
Picnics and barbecues are classic warm weather activities. Barbecue and plaids (particularly red gingham or other tartans) used for picnic blankets and casual sportswear became popular in the 1950s when post-war activities included more outdoor endeavors, such as picnics, barbecuing, and camping.
The English word "barbecue" (BBQ informally) and its variations in other languages come from the Spanish word barbacoa. Etymologists believe this to be derived from the language of the Arawak people of the Caribbean and the Timucua of Florida to refer to the natives' method of slow-cooking meat over a wooden platform.
Although there are dozens of variations of BBQ throughout the US, generally defined by the type of meat and sauce, most agree that there are generally 4 main barbecue styles - Memphis, Texas, Kansas City, and the Carolinas.
And there regional and world championship barbecue contests throughout the nation and worldwide.
For more on these other regional variations, click the vintage barbecue illustration.