Steven Raichlen's Barbecue! Bible

BBQ History


HOT ROTISSERIE ON A COLD NIGHT Above is a photo postcard from our friend Marc Meltonville who runs the Historic Kitchens program at Hampton Court Palace. Yes, back in the 17th century, you had to crank the spits by hand. You'll never taste better roast beef!

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DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT HISTORY So where does the term "barbecue" come from? In 1516, a Spanish explorer named Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo y Valdes encountered a band of Taino Indians cooking in this manner on the island of Hispanola--today, the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Asked what they called the grill, they responded, "Barbacoa". So the original meaning of the term barbacoa was, indeed, a grill. Note a couple of interesting things: 1. When...

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WHO MADE THE FIRST BARBECUE? Scientific evidence suggests a distant human ancestor called Homo erectus staged the first barbecue. The discovery of live fire cooking 1.8 million years ago profoundly affected hominid behavior, nutrition, brain development, and even the look of the modern human face. The oldest fire pit that's been discovered to date is in the famous Wonderwerk cave in Langeban, South Africa. There, researchers discovered traces...

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