Head outside and start up your grill, May is National BBQ Month! This popular outdoor pastime unites family and friends with delicious food that is both affordable and easy to make!
According to the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association, 64 percent of adults say a barbecue is a better way to spend quality-time with their friends or relatives and 36 percent associated barbecues with family tradition.
The exact definition of Barbecue is really unknown, and often up for dispute. In fact, the only undisputed fact about barbecue is that it is more than likely the world’s oldest method of cooking. Depending on where you are even the spelling causes controversy. Is it BBQ, Bar-B-Q, B-B-Que, Barbeque, Bar-B-Cue, or Barbecue? Historians and linguists usually agree that the proper spelling would be “barbecue,” and that all of the other spellings are informal.
Some people would define barbecue as hamburgers and hot dogs. Others would say, “No that is not barbecue, it’s grilling.” Some people think of barbecue as only beef or only pork, while some say it is both, and chicken too. Some people say that real barbecue is smoked with indirect heat, and others say it must only be cooked outdoors over a live fire. (If that were the case then maybe only a dozen or so US restaurants would actually be authentic barbecue restaurants.)
However you define it, it is hard to deny that barbecue is favorite spring and summer pastime. There are several barbecue competitions throughout the US and the world every year, as well as restaurants that dedicate their entire menu to it. Several states and countries even have their own barbecue associations.
According to Meathead Goldwyn at amazingribs.com, “Good cooking needs more than good recipes. The best chefs have developed tricks and techniques that can make major differences in the outcome.” He offers a longs list of tips on how to cook the best barbecue depending on the cooking method you choose. He offers advice on setting up your grill, gas or charcoal, how to get the best out of your smoker, what meat to purchase and much more.
The great thing about having a barbecue is that it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg to host one! Most people think pot-luck when they hear the word barbecue, so invite your near and dear and ask them to bring along their favorite side dish. To make it even more affordable you can make it a BYOB event.
Another way to help with your barbecue hosting costs would be to look for local Arizona grown meat directly from producers, or at farmer’s markets. You can use Fill Your Plate’s “find a farm product” tool to locate markets and producers closest to you. If you are buying in volume, you may be able to get a better price if you go straight to the source. Choosing less expensive cuts will also have a more desirable impact on your wallet, for example, instead of chicken breasts you can use wings or thighs instead. You can read our 7 Tips For Hosting Great Summer BBQ’s On A Budget post to learn even more ways to stretch your dollar and host many fun barbecue events.
If you would like to celebrate National BBQ Month, but don’t have the time to host your own, you can always head to one of our local barbecue joints to get your fill. Joe’s Farm Grill in Gilbert is a great place to enjoy some barbecue, and they even use their own farm grown produce! Another favorite out of Gilbert is Joe’s Real BBQ. The lines for this place are often out the door, and well worth the wait. Trip Advisor also has this list of 30 of the Best BBQ Restaurants in the Phoenix area, and of course you can always jump on-line and find a restaurant closer to you.
Another option would be to attend a local BBQ event, like the Great American Barbecue and Beer Festival taking place May 19th. This event has live music and great food. It will also host food eating competitions and many vendors will be on-hand for browsing and shopping.
Whichever way you prefer it, make sure you take some time to enjoy some barbecued food this May in honor of National BBQ Month! You know we will!!