DENVER, CO — Our ancient ancestors started barbecuing before they started talking—that's how profoundly significant the act of roasting food over an open fire is to very core of who we are. In fact the art and tradition of barbeque is so ingrained and so sacred to some modern men – there is still no talking involved.
Anthropologists say cavemen may have started roasting meat some 1.4 million odd years ago, but language development didn't occur until 200,000 B.C or later. That's about a million years of not having somebody tell you when to flip the burgers.
One of the greatest barbecue innovations in human history is undoubtedly the creation of bread some 10,000 years ago. For millennia, man enjoyed barbeque with only his hands. Bread changed all that... Consider the hamburger, one of America's most popular barbecue creations. A hamburger would simply be a flat meatball if not for the bun to keep ketchup off fingers.
"Bread is as essential to barbeque as the meat on the grill," says chef Todd English. "Adding the right kind of bread, bun or roll enhances the taste profile of your barbecue creation."
Bread also contributes a low-fat, low-calorie source of energy to the barbecue menu, according to Judi Adams, MS, RD and president of the Grain Foods Foundation. "Grains are essential to a healthy and well-balanced diet, and provide us with the energy we need to enjoy the great outdoors."
Barbecue is the great American class-leveler, and every region of the country has its favorite style of barbecue. Favorites such as "pulled pig" are well-known iconic delicacies of Southern cuisine. Culturally we assume a Southern dominance on the influence of barbecue, but the reality is that folks in the Northeast are the heaviest barbecuers in the nation, according to the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association.
The next most frequent barbecuers are folks in the North Central region of the country, followed by the South and the Western U.S.
Not surprisingly, the most popular holiday weekend for barbecuing is July 4th, with Labor Day and Memorial Day close behind, according to the HPBA.
Wherever you find the BBQ enthusiast, you'll find these basic personality types:
• VEG-HEAD: For the vegetarians who always feel somewhat out of place at their family's Memorial Day barbeque.
• BURGERDOG: You know the type – "kids-at-heart" – who can't imagine anything better than the basics: a flame grilled hamburger with ketchup on a plain bun. Getting BurgerDogs to break from tradition may seem impossible – but not with Todd's new recipe.
• FAIRWEATHER GRILLERS: Grilling is good – as long as the weather cooperates. For this group, there is definitely a season for barbequing. These folks certainly wouldn't be caught holding an umbrella at the grill – or worse – grilling in the snow! Fairweather grillers have moved beyond burgers and dogs... to chicken and pork.
• CAVEMAN: Fire is good! Barbeque is a year-long sport for this mostly-masculine crowd. These guys invented the Man-burger and foot-ling hot dogs. But as for the ultimate caveman meaty sandwich - check out Todd's new recipe.
• GRILLING GURUS: The outdoor kitchen was inspired by this group of grilling gurus and food enthusiasts. It's likely that these folks have every barbeque gadget and accessory- from fish baskets to pie irons. There isn't anything this group hasn't tried on the grill.
About the Grain Foods Foundation
The Grain Foods Foundation, a joint venture of members of the milling and baking industries formed in 2004, is dedicated to advancing the public's understanding of the beneficial role grain-based foods play in the human diet. Directed by a board of trustees, funding for the Foundation is provided through voluntary donations from private grain-based food companies and is supplemented by industry associations. For more information about the Grain Foods Foundation, visit www.grainpower.org.
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