Boston, New York, Washington and Philadelphia

Back in l987 I travelled to America with some friends and we visited Boston, New York, Washington and Philadelphia. We stayed with friends and family connections along the way and as money wasn’t all that plentiful we were very accepting of all the hospitality we received during our vacation. Certainly, we noticed a huge difference in our eating habits in Ireland compared to the States. I don’t think many people in Ireland had discovered a method of cooking by barbecue but it sure was a popular choice in the States. Almost each evening we were entertained by family and friends and it was always a barbecue.

I don’t think many people in Ireland had discovered a method of cooking by barbecue but it sure was a popular choice in the States.

The weather seemed to accommodate at all times. It was such a different experience for us. We met up with cousins and friends of cousins and at that time they were all coming to an age where they could drive and had to get ready for the road. So they would be studying for the driving test and we would be just amazed at this concept because that didn’t exist here back in the eighties or indeed the nineties. Of course we had a driving test to do but the theory test hadn’t emerged and didn’t for a long time after that. It is always safe to assume whatever the trends are in America we will certainly be following in a few years later.

Indeed it was many years later in Ireland when the trend towards barbequing started. We had a Retail Butchers in Navan in the early nineties and probably around 1993/1994 we were the first butchers to introduce the concept of barbequing and marinades in the town. It soon took off and became a very important part of our summer business. Our children have memories of working in the shop making steak burgers by hand when they were quite young such was the demand for burgers.

The Term Barbecue

“No one is really sure where the term barbecue originated. The conventional wisdom is that the Spanish, upon landing in the Caribbean, used the wordbarbacoa to refer to the natives’ method of slow-cooking meat over a wooden platform. By the 19th century, the culinary technique was well established in the American South, and because pigs were prevalent in the region, pork became the primary meat at barbecues. Corn bread emerged as the side dish of choice, owing largely to the fact that in humid Southern climates, corn grew better than wheat (which was prone to fungal infections). Barbecue allowed an abundance of food to be cooked at once and quickly became the go-to menu item for large gatherings like church festivals and neighborhood picnics”

“Because barbecue doesn’t require expensive cuts of meat — why bother when you’re just going to slather it in sauce and cook it ’til it falls off the bone? — it became a dietary staple for impoverished Southern blacks, who frequently paired it with vegetables like fried okra and sweet potatoes. The first half of the 20th century saw a mass migration of African Americans from the rural South to Northern cities, and as they moved, they took their recipes with them. By the 1950s, black-owned barbecue joints had sprouted in nearly every city in America. Along with fried chicken, corn bread and hush puppies, barbecue came to be known as a “soul food” dish. To this day, there is a strong connection between the cuisine and the African-American community”.

Because barbecue doesn’t require expensive cuts of meat — why bother when you’re just going to slather it in sauce and cook it ’til it falls off the bone?

Weber Brother Metal Works

Weber are celebrating 65 years in business. It all began back in 1952 when Jim Stephen decided to build a BBQ in his back yard to entertain friends and family. He built it from traditional brick and there he began to bbq his food but it went badly wrong for him and instead of bbq offerings he had burnt offerings. This annoyed him so much, it led to him create a barbecue with proper airflow and he would be able to “tame the flames” and thereby cook a perfect steak. This gentleman was working for the Weber Brother Metal Works and he obviously had an engineering ability and so began the first Weber BBQ. It was a huge success in America and still is to this day.

Barbecuing is really a national pastime in America and hence all across Europe now it is a widely used form of cooking and is growing hugely in popularity. The more you experiment with the barbecue the more fun and use you get from it.

Barbecuing is really a national pastime in America

How I like to Barbecue

I like the kettle style barbeque over charcoal, I think there is a much better flavour from the food as opposed to gas. Of course gas is much more convenient and fast and that is what most people require. They don’t really want to be waiting for the charcoals to reach the required temperature before you lash on the food. I purchased a nice weber kettle design last year in Murtagh’s Hardware store in Ashbourne and I am very happy with it. It is also important to have the proper implements to work along with the barbecue in order to prevent nasty burns etc. There are plenty of implements on the market.

I like the kettle style barbeque over charcoal, I think there is a much better flavour from the food as opposed to gas.

Some of the features of the Weber Kettle Plus

  • Porcelain-enamelled bowl and lid
  • Two weatherproof handles – the side handle has an intergrated tool holder
  • Rust resistant aluminium lid with heat-resistant plastic handle
  • One-Touch cleaning system
  • Improved ash catcher that prevents ash from blowing everywhere
  • Lid thermometer.
  • Easy to store when you finish using it after the summer.

I bought this barbeque last year and I had a lot of very good barbeque parties at home.  With a combination of this barbeque and good qaulity burgers and sauages it is a success for everyone.

I wrote my blog last week about the good value we have in our BBQ Pack offer (http://hughmaguirebutchers.com/to-bbq-or-not-to-bbq-that-is-the-question/ which would cater for 8 people. Add a few salads and some baked potato and you can whip up a meal that is different somehow from slogging over a cooker in the kitchen. Children and adults alike really enjoy eating out side at a barbecue and I know the weather here is very unpredictable but we still manage a few barbecues over the summer.