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  • Barbecue Fun Facts

  • The Oxford English Dictionary cites the first recorded use of the word in the English language in 1697 by the British buccaneer William Dampier. While the standard modern English spelling of the word is barbecue, local variations like barbeque and truncations such as bar-b-q or bbq may also be found. In the southeastern United States, the word barbecue is used predominantly as a noun referring to roast pork, while in the southwestern states; cuts of beef are often cooked.

    Did you know this?

    • 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.”
    • Woods commonly selected for their flavor include mesquite, hickory, maple, guava, kiawe , cherry, pecan, apple and oak. Woods to avoid include conifers. These contain resins and tars, which impart undesirable resinous and chemical flavors.
    • 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.
    • The most popular holidays for barbecuing are, in order, July 4th (71 percent), Memorial Day (57 percent), and Labor Day (55 percent). 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).
    • May 16th and July 4th are both National Barbecue Day.
    • The most popular barbecue utensils are long-handled tongs (77 percent), followed by forks (64 percent), long handled spatulas (59 percent), and then grill cleaning brushes (63 percent).
    • 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.
    • 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 US.