Summertime for Americans is grilling time. It is perfect time to bond under the warm rays of the sun, share a delicious meal and a few cold beers with friends and family. Barbecuing has become a tradition for Americans, however, it has gone through a lot of changes since its early days.
As we progress toward modern times, the modes of cooking and food consumption have constantly evolved. These activities have earned a social meaning, it is not about the food anymore, but the good party being thrown depicts power, wealth, and sophistication.
Aside from the discovery of writing, the discovery of fire was one of the important developments in the history of humanity. The fire had many advantages during those times. It was used to fend off attackers, light their villages, and can be an instrument of war.
1.6 million years ago, the fire was first used. Although our ancestors were fond of eating raw, meat should be consumed as soon as possible to prevent it from rotting. Today, cooking can be another way to store food for later consumption.
Barbecuing did not originate in the United States, the first ever to create a device that can grill food were the Japanese. Shichirin is a small cooking stove that is made out of the ceramics, it can be used inside or outside of the house.
According to historians, barbecuing was brought to the American land, not before the 18th century. After World War II, grills and the art of barbecuing evolved. The spherical-like grill came in the 1950s, and the high-tech grills were invented in the 1990s. Barbecue Bazaar, a company that sells grills in Perth, has many articles on its site going deeper into the history of grilling.
HOW DID OUTDOOR GRILLING EVOLVE?
01 The evolution of Outdoor Grilling
There is nothing more American than grilling outside in the summertime. Outdoor grills are best for parties and enjoying the heat of the sun. However, this outdoor activity did not originate with the Americans. Ever since the fire was discovered, people have been partaking in outdoor cooking. It all started from the days of the caveman all the way to the present charcoal grilling.
02 The Discovery of Fire – 1.6 Million B.C.
The fire was discovered by man and was immediately used for cooking meats. Archaeologists have uncovered bones and sticks with char marks on them. This discovery indicates that man had grilled mammoth meat over a fire on a stick or right through the bone.
Shichirin is a small ceramic griller used by the ancient Japanese. The convenience of the griller allowed them to use it in their homes or on the streets.
04 Asuka Period – Ancient Indus
Arwark people from South America and Caribbean Islands were believed to be the ones who had the idea of barbecuing. For a long time, grilling has been utilized, however, the Asukas was the one who imparted the idea of cooking meat slowly over a fore with low flame.
Tandoor is an ancient grill or oven that was first utilized in Pakistan, India, and Iran. It was the first cooking device to generate heat that went over 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
06 Colonial United States – 18th Century
The period when the true American grilling and barbecuing style came to life. Pit barbecuing was introduced to the Carolinas by the settlers. Pit barbecuing cooks food beneath the earth for at least 14 hours or more. New forms of barbecuing were developed.
Germans arrived in America, mustard was introduced in all barbecuing in the South. Up until today, the tradition still exists.
08 Hamburg Steak
Hamburg steak was one of the first hamburgers and was introduced to the eating stands of New York City. The target customers of the vendors were German soldiers who loved beefsteak formed like a patty, which became the tradition of hamburgers in America. Hamburgers then became the most popular food for grilling in America.
09 Salt and Vinegar – Late 19th Century
The settlers from Scotland seasoned their meat with salt and vinegar. Their tradition was introduced to South Carolina, and salt and pepper were formulated into a basting sauce.
10 Camping Fun – Late 1890s or Early 1900s
National parks were created for camping trips. Americans became interested in going outdoors and take their family on camping trips and grill outdoors together.
11 Charcoal in 1987
Ellsworth Zwoyer filed the first patent charcoal grill, called charcoal briquette. E.G. Kingsford took the idea and publicized it. Henry Ford allowed Kingsford to use wood scraps from his factory to make charcoal briquettes. Americans became interested in grilling at home.
12 Sputnik in the 1950s
As the suburbs grew, an iconic spherical-like grill was invented. George Stephen was the inventor and his neighbors named it Sputnik, people put their backyards with the grill.
13 Gas Powered Grills in the 1960s
Melton Lancaster and William Wepfer invented the first gas grill, they modified the existing charcoal grill in a way that they can promote the natural gas of Arkansas Louisiana Gas, the company they are working.
14 High Tech Grills in the 1990s
The most advanced grill up to this date is the infrared grill. It ignites both natural gas and propane that causes the ceramic tiles to become very hot and produce infrared radiation. The radiation ensures that every inch of the food is heated and cooked at the same time.