Memorial Day is here, and with its arrival, we begin the official cook out season, nationwide. That means that each and every day, thousands of people are going to be cooking meals outside over some kind of a fire, whether its wood, charcoal, or gas. That means its a good time to take a look at the whole cook out (or barbecue) culture of America.
In most American families, the kitchen is ruled by the woman of the house. She prepares the majority of meals that are eaten there, whether she’s a good cook or not. Being a good cook is something that many women pride themselves on, too. But, in terms of cooking outside for a cook out…that is a man’s world usually.
The woman may prepare the side dishes, get out the necessary utensils, season the meat, arrange everything beside the grill, get the plates and flatware…but the man is the chef of the grill. It is to him that all compliments will be lavished, for his amazing skill with a slab of meat, hot dogs, hamburgers…or whatever is being cooked…and the fire.
Not all men are created equal in their management of this amazing fire combination. Some have a lot of smoke, others have massive flames shooting up regularly, some serve charred food, and others serve sooted food that is largely uncooked in the center. That’s okay. It’s BARBECUE.
But when that combination of fire and food comes together, it can have mouthwatering results.
Personally, I love the flavors of slow cooked meats, smoky and tender but still juicy. For the ones that use this technique, the art of grilling is taken very seriously. Often, they insist on seasoning the meat themselves, or even marinating it for twenty four hours before placing it on that hot grill. Their grills are fired up early in the morning, and their offerings to the Cook Out are placed upon the grill surface with reverence. All day long, the tantalizing aromas of slowly cooking meat will waft through the neighborhood, often prompting other men to start their fires too.
Among these men, the Keepers of the Barbecue Secrets, there is often passionate discussions revolving around topics such as cuts of meat, dry rubs, wet rubs, sauces, beef, pork, or more exotic meats, special seasonings, wood chips for smoke, brands of charcoal, and even types of grills. Some have secrets they refuse to divulge.
So what are your favorite foods from the grill? Meat? Vegetables? Fruit? Pizza?