I had my face in the sunshine yesterday and it felt great. Spring has sprung and summer is here. Of course, that makes me want to get the grill going full speed ahead. Summer makes me think of eating outdoors and barbecues. The most-used modern definition of this is the grilling of meats or other foods over an open fire. It used to be made with charcoal briquettes. But now more often than not with a convenient gas grill. Such a shame—the charcoal brings that charcoal flavor and the smoky aromas.
Barbecue is more than a meal. It is an event. People gather for good barbecue in backyards, beaches and parks. We like the smell, we tell stories and drink while barbecuing.
When the first Spanish explorers arrived in the new world they found people preserving meats in the sun. This is an age-old and almost completely universal method. The chief problem with doing this is that the meats spoil and become infested with bugs. To drive the bugs away the natives would build small smoky fires and place the meat on racks over the fires. The smoke would keep the insects at bay and help in the preserving of the meat.
Tradition tells us that this is the origin of barbecue, both in process and in name. The natives of the West Indies had a word for this process: “barbacoa.” Some people believe that this is the origin of our modern word barbecue.
Few things are more reminiscent of summer than the smell of meat on a grill. Americans in particular have an appreciation of the rich flavors of food cooked over a flame. Seventy-seven percent of U.S. households own barbecue grills, firing them up more than 2.9 billion times a year. Barbecue societies are springing up all over the country—and the world—and millions of people flock to barbecue contests each year.
Everything that is typically called barbecue has a couple of things in common. Barbecue requires meat. Sometimes we grill vegetables as well. But unless you are a vegetarian you always have meat.
Barbecued meats are almost always served with a barbecue sauce. There are many versions of such a sauce, but it is usually based on tomatoes and contains any or all of the following: wine, onions, garlic, herbs, mustard, brown sugar and other seasonings. I’m going to add blueberries!
In my line of work, I sometimes depend on my instincts and gut feelings. So, when I was asked to write about barbecue—Maine style—I immediately thought about Maine blueberries and Maine potatoes! When I throw New England into the mix, I add corn on the cob! So those are the ingredients I am going to use to make my barbecue today!
Combine the following liquids:
Add the following items: