Every year we get to celebrate National BBQ Week on May 27 to June 2. The day’s main aim is to encourage more people to become BBQ masters as they spend time outdoors and enjoy a meal with their loved ones. This popular American tradition has been given a British twist across BBQ outlets and homes in the U.K.
History of National BBQ Week
The word ‘barbecue’ is said to have come from the Caribbean word ‘Barabicu,’ a structure made of sticks used for cooking by the indigenous people of the Caribbean who were called Taino. Food was prepared over an indirect flame and placed to the side or above the fire. It resulted in a charred and smokey flavor. The Spanish explorers who encountered this native cooking style around the 16th century adapted it and called it ‘Barbacoa.’ Traveling north to the U.S., the Spanish brought the technique along with them. Eventually, the cooking method made its way to different colonies and later to different parts of the globe.
It became so popular that in 1755, the word ‘barbecue’ was entered into The Dictionary of the English Language by Samuel Johnson. It was a convenient way to quickly and cheaply feed large groups of people at social events such as political parties and weddings. By the 19th century, it was a staple cooking method in the U.S., especially in Southern states with pork being the meat of choice.
In the U.K., barbecuing is a fast cooking process done directly over high heat. Popular foods to throw on the BBQ include beef burgers, steaks, pork sausages, lamb, chicken, and salmon. Vegetables and plant-based alternatives have also found their way onto the British backyard BBQ. Whether it be on gas or charcoal-powered cooking source, it’s the quality of the meat and produce that makes for a delectable BBQ.
Even more than a method of cooking, BBQ is also a social event. It brings people together for a celebration of food and friendship. That’s something everyone can warm up to.
National BBQ Week timeline
Archeologist Oliver Craig finds barbecue-style roasting at Durrington Walls.
U.S. President George Washington writes in his journal about attending a three-day barbecue.
Henry Ford turns wood scraps from cars into charcoal lighters to use in barbecuing outdoors.
It is recorded that 45,252 people are at the barbecue event organized by Estado de Nuevo Leon, Monterrey.
National BBQ Week FAQs
How much is the BBQ market worth in the U.K.?
According to a BBQ website, there’s been a rise in the BBQ market that includes al fresco eating and entertaining. In 1997, it was worth about 177 million dollars, while in 2020, it was worth over two billion dollars.
Should you bring something to a BBQ?
Most hosts will say, ‘Just bring yourself,’ but it’s always polite not to show up empty-handed to a BBQ; dessert or drinks will be very appreciated.
How popular is BBQ in the U.K.?
Three out of four homes now own some kind of BBQ grill. That’s probably why BBQ and in-home dining are now the U.K.’s top summer home activity.
National BBQ Week Activities
Throw a BBQ get-together
Whether it’s on your balcony or at the beach, a BBQ is always fun. Bring the grill out, and ask friends to bring drinks for an instant party.
Eat BBQ flavored snacks
No space or time to BBQ? Load up on BBQ snacks instead, like chips or popcorn.
Pour BBQ sauce on everything
Use BBQ sauce as a dip for vegetables as a sauce with your meal or as a marinade for your meat. You’ll get that smokey taste without all the work.
5 Fruits You Can Fire Up On The BBQ
The Succulent Pineapple
Slice the pineapple then brush these pieces with some honey or brown sugar.
The Juicy Peach
Whether you keep the skin on or off, try drizzling yogurt on your peaches for a yummy dessert.
The Versatile Banana
Leave the peel on your banana, cut one lengthwise, pour lemon juice and cinnamon sugar, and grill.
The Thirst Quenching Watermelon
Grease your watermelon with some olive oil, sprinkle sugar crystals and garnish it with fresh mint leaves.
The Nutrient Rich Mango
Brush each mango cheek with oil and finish with a squeeze of lime juice when done.
Why We Love National BBQ Week
A meal and a social event
When it comes to BBQs, rarely will you find people just sitting around with a lone chef doing all the work. There’s always a flurry of activity and chatter close to the grill.
It brings out the creative in us
Channeling your inner caveman as you cook food over an open fire is as primal as it gets. There’s something so natural about cooking food over an open fire.
It gets you outside
Fresh air is fresh air, whether you’re at the park or just in your backyard. Any excuse to gather people and share a meal outdoors is always welcome.
National BBQ Week dates