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01 September 2019


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JP Billen

Didn't it start in the Caribbean? Lots of Jamaicans in England.


JP Billen

IMO Caribbean barbacoa is quite different. It is fully developed in things like "jerk" chicken. US BBQ is derived from methods of smoking meat to preserve it in the absence of refrigeration and to tenderize tough parts of the animal It is largely IMO of Scotch-Irish derivation originally in Appalachia and then spreading across the South and West. Have you ever smoked a brisket or ribs? Have you ever watch
BBQ pitmasters?"

Andrei Martyanov (aka SmoothieX12)

Doing Beef Back Ribs tomorrow with Jack Daniels BBQ sauce (I also do my Friend Mr. Daniels in purely liquid sour mash form) and french fries (curly). Two things the United States beats the world pants down hands down:

1. Breakfast: hash browns, sunny side-up eggs and incredible variety of meats from bacon to chicken fried stakes. Nothing, I mean, nothing comes even close.

2. BBQ. Meats, especially beef. American meat cuisine is the best in the world, period.

P.S. Ivar's Clam Chowder is another thing but I feel New England rage coming up, so, I'll shut up.

The Twisted Genius

Meat, especially pig, was hung in the rafters to smoke in my great-grandmother's Lithuanian house. This was probably close to American BBQ. The house was a thatched roof log cabin without any kind of chimney or vent. The smoke from the cooking and warming fires slow cooked/smoked the meats and drove the insects out of the thatch. I have no idea if this was common in other parts of Europe. My grandfather did a similar thing in a shack behind our barn in Connecticut. A neighboring Lithuanian family had a stone smokehouse on their farm which was in regular use.

The best BBQ I've had locally is at ZZQ in Richmond. It's quickly gained a national reputation for its Texas style BBQ. My younger son and I stop there whenever I'm in town. I would never put sauce on their meat. It's just too good in its unadulterated state. Not only is their brisket spectacular, but their hot gut sausage will put you into a shamanic ecstasy.



Mo's in Pismo Beach, CA - "Mo's knows BBQ. But he don't know fish and he don't know chowda." Make it a mandatory stop on Highway 101 (merges with the famous Hwy 1 here) when cruising SF to LA.

William RAISER

I don't watch TV here in France, but I doubt the show has made it here. You can find a little BBQ here but not much. The French who have eaten it like it. My wife (very French) loves BBQ ribs and always searches them out when we visit in the US.

The Twisted Genius

Andrei, I'd like to add to your thoughts about breakfast. I always looked forward to breakfast in the field in the 25th Infantry Division. Served out of mermite field containers, I'd have a big plate of scrambled eggs, hash browns and SOS (chipped beef in well peppered white gravy on plain old white bread toast). I'd mix it all together. Our company mess sergeant took pride in mixing in enough real eggs with the powdered eggs to eliminate the green tone of pure powdered eggs.


Only country comes close is Canada.


The British do barbecue but it tends to be a pretty basic and unappetizing piece of speed searing. I should imagine the French regard it (probably quite correctly) as yet another example of Anglo-Saxon barbarism. The Australians are meant to be good at it. (I think the weather plays a fairly big factor in barbecuing. British barbecues are notorious for getting swept away in floods of rainwater).

I love slow cooking of meat, but do it in the slow oven of my Aga. I also like pretty simple food which I've either grown for myself or hunted or foraged for. Great ceps last week!


maybe it's a baltic nation thing. My father came from east prussia, not that far away, and smoking meat was not something I have never heard of from him or my grandmother. They had a farm, with a colonian wares shop and a bar on the farm. Also didn't find such things in an east prussian cookbook.

What I heard from my grandma about cooking was more pragmatic: When unexpected guests came a farmhand was send to the fishlake near the house to catch a fish, which then was prepared and served for dinner.

And then there were of course local traditions like Königsberger Klopse and, of course, matjes (the east prussian way - potatoes, onions, salt and butter - is closer to dutch than swedish).

She also told me that pikes are tasty - but rather nasty even after being caught - one of them, in a late act after being caught, wrapped itself around the forearm of a farmhand, badly bruising it.


I have several relatives in Sweden that now BBQ regularly. This is something they learned when visiting me in Florida. I learned by being on a team that won a National contest in Sebring, FL many years ago. I have an Oklahoma Joe "beast" on my pool deck that I use quite often.

I do agree that it is more art than science and the main ingredient is patience. There are no shortcuts to good BBQ.


And now you have done it. War clouds are shimmering over SST, the imprecations of the various troops of Q partisans are rumbling as they bring their long skewers out of the cabinet, re-oil their pit mops and hone their long skinners and their oriental cleavers.
Oh the humanity. Will no one rid us of this troublesome food?

Bill Hatch

I grew up with the whole hawg BBQ tradition of eastern Carolina. In the mid-1980's I had a coworker who was a Texas Aggie whose annual event was a bull roast. I asked him how he'd master the skill of roasting a whole steer. He said that as a college student his fraternity sponsored an annual "bull roast." He volunteered to help the pit master who was an old black lady. Once they had the bull on the spit & the coals hot, she opened a cooler that contained 2 cases of beer. She opened 2 beers & gave him one and told him, "Every hour we have a beer. When the beer's gone, the bull is done."


A few observations 1, There is smoking of hanging meats as carried out in thousands of American farm smokehouses. This is a process that can take months (the longer the better) 2. Then there is barbecue which is smoking meat while cooking it slowly at low temperatures (200 F to 275 f) BTW I grilled a splendid piece of halibut last night, Salt and pepperand olive oil. That is all that was needed.



Good for you.


Searing (grilling)is not barbecue. the French practice the art of "meshwi" (grilling in Arabic). They learned this in N. Africa and it expresses itself most fully in a whole yearling sheep rotisseried in the back garden.


I always loved b'fast in the field. What could be better than standing around with your people eating scrambled eggs with cubed up bacon in it from a mess tin while cold snow goes down the back of your shirt and/or into the food?

Eric Newhill

When I was learning to speak French, I was told that BBQ was derived from the French slang for slow roasting - "La barbe a la queue" - "from the beard to the tail". The French would run the skewer from the goat's mouth (the beard) all the way through to the tail and then slowing turn the goat over a fire covered in various herbs and seasonings.

JP Billen


I do love brisket with ranch beans and slaw. Have not watched BBQ Pitmasters but will check it out for a brisket episode. I'm also partial to Carolina style pork BBQ. None of that sugared up red sauce, just a thin vinegar infused with peppers, whole or flaked or both.

JP Billen

Andrei & Factotum,

None of that nasty cream-based clam chowder is any good, no matter whether it's from NE or the west coast. And the Manhattan variety is overrated also. Best clam chowder I ever had was on Carolina's Outer Banks: no cream and no tomatoes, just clams and veggies in a clear clam broth with spices. My bride asked the restaurant cook what the spices were, he just laughed and said "a little bit of sand is what we use". She, my bride, later figured it out that the clam broth was probably simmered along with a bag of 'crab boil' maybe Zatarain's or a local version. The trick is to add the clams while still in the shell at the last after the vegs were done. Otherwise the clams get overcooked and turn into a tough chewing gum like what they serve in those cream-based chowders.

nick webley

Yes there is a thriving British bbq scene. This last weekend there was Meatopia event imported from USA. There are many British BBQ teams competing in KCBS competitions, Bunch of Swines won Grand Champion in USA Masters bbq competition and there are KCBS rules competitions in Holland every year that attract teams from all over Europe.
Lastly 2 UK BBQ Facebook groups, Countrywoodsmoke UK Bbq and British BBQ.


And to have the front fender of a deuce and a half as a table for the canteen cup of hot coffee.


Sounds like a new restaurant opportunity for a French entrepenuer or daring expat.



I’ve used a wood burning offset smoker for a long while with great results. I personally prefer a dry rub with sauces for dipping. I’ve also used a cookbox that my son made which uses the “luau” principle of a convection oven with the charcoal on a grate above the closed cookbox. That’s good for cooking a suckling pig or a goat when you don’t want the smoke flavor. I like it better than a spit as it retains the moisture in the meat. The animal is butterflied and sandwiched between two grills over a cook pan for the dripping and cooked in the box.

Like jazz and bluegrass I believe bbq is quintessential America.


fred Reminds me of the time I told a Jerusalem Arab with an Irish wife and an Irish passport that he should move permanently and become the Shawarma King of all Ireland.

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