The BBQ in England does not have quite the same connotation as it does in other countries. Elsewhere it is an occasion, whereas in England, the BBQ is often simply dragged out when the sun shines and meat is cooked on it until it resembles the remains of a bonfire. Where did this tradition come from?
It is well known that human kind has cooked food over an open fire for thousands of years. It is thought that the word "barbecue" was taken from the word "barbacoa", which was used by Western Indians to describe the sacred fire they used to cook meat. Spanish people still use this word today to refer to a BBQ.
Some of the first English settlers in the US learnt how to cook meat in pits over hot coals, and the word "barbacoa" was used to describe this until the settlers eventually adapted the word into "barbecue". The technique of cooking meat this way caught on very quickly with the settlers, who accepted the cultural importance of this method of cooking.
However, when the technique came back to England, it did not have the same cultural significance. It did not become popular until many years later. In fact, some British people thought that this method of preparing a meal was "un-British". Even though it was popular on mainland Europe, it took a while before it caught on in the UK.
In recent years, the BBQ has become a firm favourite during the summer months. Each year, DIY stores see rising sales of both coal and gas BBQ units. When the sun shines, many families will take the opportunity to invite people round and prepare a meal for them this way. While many people will stick to burgers and sausages on the BBQ, some people are aiming a little higher and using the BBQ technique to prepare other cuts of meat and fish, giving them a culinary edge.
The BBQ has now become a favourite catering option in England for the informal wedding breakfast, with more and more couples opting for a hog roast for their guests. This takes the simple family BBQ to a new level. Most people are surprised by the range of menu options that come with a catered BBQ, and it can be a fun way of celebrating a special occasion.