BBQ for Independence Day
No one really knows when or why a tradition of celebrating Independence day around charcoal grills started. If you ask me it is a “borrowing” of the American modern 4th of July tradition (also) of unknown origin.
BBQ was not invented in America and no one knows who invented the barbecue. The word ‘Barbecue’ might come from the Taino Indian word ‘barbacoa’ meaning meat-smoking apparatus. ‘Barbecue‘ could have also originated from the French word “Barbe a queue” which means “whiskers-to-tail.” When all parts of an animal where used for preparing meat dishes on fire or smoke. (wiki)
Ancient man song by Daphne Sarnat from: http://daphodil-music.co.uk/the-ancient-man-song-number-8/
We have to go way back to prehistoric times to dig out the origin of slow cooking on fire Barbecue. Fire’s general use, according to paleontological and archaeolgical records, began only about 40,000 to 50,000 years ago. But after cooking, many undesirable substances present in plants and vegetables are deactivated and starch and other nutrients in the plants become absorbable by the digestive tract. All of the major domesticated plant foods, such as wheat, barley, rice, millet, rye, and potatoes, require cooking before they are suitable for human consumption.
From: Cambridge World History of Food, Kenneth F. Kiple and Kriemhild Conee Ornelas [Cambridge University Press:Cambridge] 2000 (p. 1571)
It is possible that men first ate meat that had been charred or cooked by virtue of being caught in a natural forest fire (a positive accident). They might have otherwise eaten raw meat, if necessary, but we can also imagine that our earliest digestive systems rebelled against eating raw meat.
Nowadays, to barbecue means to slow-cook meat at a low temperature for a long time over wood or charcoal. In America, barbecue (or BBQ) originated in the late 1800’s during Western cattle drives. The cowboys were not allowed “perfect cuts” of meat, mainly brisket that required many hours of cooking to tenderize. As they sat after sunset around wood fires, meat and other foods were prepared on charcoals.
There is a romantic notion regarding “Cowboys and Indians” the open plains and the wild prairie, an Indian tribe cooking meat over fire after the hunt (smoking and drying the rest for future use), town folks eating huge steaks at the local restaurant as portrayed in the John Ford 1962 movie The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, including a fight over meat, with Ranse (James Stewart) waiting table, Liberty (Lee Marvin) making trouble, and Tom (John Wayne) booting Strother Martin, in an outrageous confrontation over a steak. I was always amazed by the sheer size of the “wild west” huge steak cuts.
My old Weber grill has long lost its legs but still performs miracles for BBQ grilling all you need is a good bunch of red hot charcoal wood or charcoal briquettes and your prepared or marinated meat, fish, seafood, vegetables etc.
We had :
* pork spare ribs prepped in advance finished on the grill
Indonesian Sate Beef (sate marinate and sauce)
Tandoori Lamb chops in tandoori paste marinade (everyone’s favorite, though not in a tandoor)
Mediterranean style Lamb chops (garlic, thyme, mint, rosemary)
some Basmati rice for the south Asian fare, and grill roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes with salad as side dishes
2010 – Simon Bize Bourgogne Blanc Les Champlains
The 2010 les Champlains turned to be a great bottle of wine worth every penny of its relatively low cost. The great nose soars from the glass in a blaze of green apples, with some peaches and citrus blossoms, with a floral note of acacia blossoms. On the palate the wine is substantial and elegant, pure and full of fruit, good length keeping fresh all the time. Wait 10 minutes for the wine to settle down than a gush of green apple peel on the Nose with apple, pear, some tropical fruit. This is not a great wine by definition or pedigree although it comes from a single lot above Savigny les Beaune in Côte de Beaune, Bourgogne. It is an (AOC) with slightly less than 15 per cent chardonnay grapes with no Grand Cru vineyards within the appellation. Great value for money.
Simon Bize is a terrific producer continueing a family tradition since 1880 and making wines in a more meticulous manner around 60 years (early 1970’s)
Dugat Py, Gevrey Chambertin, Coeur du Roi 2003
Dugat Py claim for fame comes from the American wine import industry as a true modern day Burgundian superstar. I know this is not my favorite wine making style in the Burgundy area, too much effort on colour, fruit and tannin concentration, Usually I personally prefer the less purple more light reddish translucent traditional elegant wines with a “true” Bourgognian touch, we had the Dugat Py, Gevrey Chambertin Coeur du Roi 2006 a few weeks ago and the wine was still too firm even too tight and failed to open to its full potential even after a long time (the rest of the case will have to wait in my cellar for at least another 5 years I am patient), Yet Dugat Py wine complement juict fatty BBQ meats more than extremely delicate and elegant Gevrey, and so it was chosen; A Dugat Py, Gevrey Chambertin, Coeur du Roi 2003, now at its 10th year (an enigma that has to be solved I also have a case of these…) On the first sniff I was relieved, the wine had some other undertones of the soul and soil of Bourgogne that overcame the strength and power the wine was intended to reflect. Great smell of cherries more than strawberries with lovely wet soil and mushroom scent, on the palate flavour is luscious fruit with pleasant fresh compost/hay or cabbage (on the pleasant side) traces, seasoned with thyme and mint overtone evolving so well. Full to medium body with a full feel and a very long palate, tannins still not round enough for my taste but I was impressed and content with the choice.
We thought we would not celebrate this year with a BBQ, as it happened we did, in a company of three, a grilled holiday lunch, cooked on charcoal with the moon smiling at us up in the afternoon sky, great wines and company, and my very own tarte Tatin to end the meal.