Barbecue is a cooking method for cooking meat over a fire. This cooking method has its roots in the Caribbean. The first documented examples of barbacoa date back to 1583, but the practice was already being practiced by Caribbean Indians long before this time. Today, modern barbecue competitions feature steel-covered “pits,” which are not very reminiscent of traditional pits.
Different kinds of meat require different preparation and cooking techniques. Some are better suited to grilling than others. For example, a hot dog is better cooked over high heat, whereas a pork shoulder, brisket, or ribs should be cooked low and slow. A good barbecue pitmaster will sprinkle salt all over everything to enhance the flavor.
The term barbacoa has a history dating back to the Middle Ages, when it was originally used for cooking whole animals, such as sheep and “beeves.” Barbacoa originally meant a type of cooking method that involved fire, but it has since expanded to include food. In America, barbacoa is commonly associated with cooking burgers or steaks over a wood or gas-fired fire.
While modern BBQ smokers are the preferred method, a real barbecue pit requires a fire and a cover. A traditional pit may have a temperature of 225 to 250 degrees. By using indirect cooking and low heat, barbecuing turns tough cuts into tender meat.