History of Grilling and Outdoor Kitchens

Today, firing up the outdoor grill is a favorite pastime pleasure during the spring and summer months as people take to the outdoors for leisure and entertaining. It doesn’t matter what you call it; grilling or barbequing; the fact remains that meats are being cooked outside and over an open flame, which always compliments a social gathering of friends and family. In times past, one of the first known experiences of cooking meat outside and over a flame was performed by the Arawak Indians. Christopher Columbus witnessed this cooking method of roasting such things as fish, noticing that they were put on wooden racks above high flames. The Spanish called this style of cooking barbacoa, which was an upgrade from eating raw meats that were caught by hunters before they learned about fire and cooking.

According to Doris Reynolds, who wrote the article “Let’s Talk about Food,” she states that barbequing or grilling in one’s backyard began toward the end of the Colonial period. Today, open flame cooking takes place on grills and backyard pits, mostly during special occasions such as the 4th of July. But, according to the Webster’s New Dictionary, grilling or barbequing didn’t make it to America until 1709. The difference in how this cooking method is used today and in the past is the fact that in the United States, grilling or having a cookout is party time; where before, grilling food so one could eat better tasting food was a necessity, a way of life, because that’s all the people of the past knew as they evolved. It wasn’t about socializing and partying; it was about surviving and living with what they had to work with.

Today, in modern society, there are different types of grilling or cooking the main course over flames. When it comes to grilling outside, you have the Memphis style, the Texas style and the Carolina and Kansas City styles of grilling, which all depend on the kind of sauce that you smother your meats in when cooking. You can bet the Stone Age man or the Arawak Indians did not think about this aspect of grilling their foods when it came time to cook and eat.

All across America, a cookout gathering is either called a BBQ or a grilling event. However, during slavery, the word barbeque often meant “a sacred fire pit” of which mainly pork was cooked. Slave owners used to have “pig pickin’s” barbeques for their slaves and after the freed slaves went north; they took with them their grilling or BBQ traditions that were passed down from slavery.

After being cooped up and trying to stay warm during the winter months; once spring is in the air; all across America, people are breaking outside and firing up the grill when the snow and frost disappear. More and more homeowners are thinking about their outside space and how to utilize it for their entertaining purposes. For those people who want to elaborate on that outside cooking area, making it more than a grill or barbeque area, but an outdoor living space, you have the option of turning your backyard into an outdoor kitchen with the works. This kind of setting can turn your backyard grilling area into an added space of sophistication, elegance as well as comfort, especially when you personalize it with your tastes.

The concept of an outdoor kitchen started with the simple grill. However, with an outdoor kitchen, your grill will be the center of attraction as you go from the standard grill using charcoals to cook with and moving toward elaborate gas grills and other fine, decorative items. Even landscaping can play a big part in your outdoor kitchen. With an outdoor kitchen space, the choice is up to you to go elaborate or simple yet functional and enjoyable as you take delight in outdoor living and entertaining. It’s like adding an extra room to your home.

When planning your outdoor kitchen and grilling area, keep in mind that space and location is important in establishing this entertaining area. Another consideration to take note of is food preparation areas, because you will need counters and cupboards, a sink, refrigerator and outlets for all plug in appliances. When thinking about size, how big will you go to include the dining area? Remember shade is important when you are eating outside. Another factor to consider is the theme of your outdoor kitchen space. What accessories do you hope to add to the space? Accessories for this type kitchen space include such things as outdoor fireplaces, flat screen TVs and bar areas. Planning is essential, it’s just as important as the grill itself when setting up an outdoor kitchen.

For more information on this topic, please see the following links.


Grills and Appliances Outdoor Kitchen Design Grill Recipes Outdoor Cabinets and Accessories