BBQ 101: 13 fun facts about Australia's favourite cooking style

Posted by Steven Tuckey on

Barbecue is more than just cooking food and preparing it for those you know—it’s an experience that will elevate your bond with them. The entire cooking method of barbecuing has a rich history in numerous countries, that continues to be debated about until now since it can’t be determined exactly where it started. More than this, there are many ways to barbecue your favourite food so you need to make sure that you learn more about different styles of BBQing.

Knowing more about barbecue doesn’t have to be difficult though since leading knife company Big Red Knives has compiled a list of the fun facts about barbecue around the world! Check them out below.

1. Shrimp on the barbie is not accurate

The popular line “shrimp on the barbie”, referring to barbecuing in Australia, is not accurate. Australians call them prawns rather than shrimp. It was from an advertisement by the Australian Tourism Commission in 1984 to promote the country to US audiences. However, the line was actually “I’ll slip an extra shrimp on the barbie for you”, rather than the misquoted phrase that Australians don’t use.

2. Barbecue Day: May 16

Since holding barbecue parties is a favourite pastime for most people around the world, whether it’s hosted seasonally, year-round, or every celebration, a day has been marked to celebrate this cooking method! Barbecue day is every May 16 so make sure to prepare your grill, BBQ knives, and party with your friends and family. 

3. Mammoth ribs existed

Back in 2009, Director of Brno University’s Institute of Archaeology Professor Jiri Svoboda and his team discovered a barbecue pit dated 29,000 BC where mammoth ribs were cooked. It was a 4 feet wide roasting pit with heating stones, spatulas, blades, and other tools nearby, which helped in carving and cooking the mammoth!

4. Baby-back ribs were so named because they’re small

There is a common misconception baby-back ribs are named like that because the meat comes from baby animals. However, this is not true since they are only named baby-back ribs because they are shorter than spare ribs. Spare ribs is another interesting name, referring to the remaining rib tips that are leftover from the butchery process once the primal cuts have been made. They are literally the spare ribs from the animal. If you consider a lamb chop for instance, the spare ribs would be connected to the end of these chop bones.

5. Largest BBQ event: Over 45,000 people

While barbecue events were originally made for the public, it’s actually not common these days to host one where a massive number of people will attend. However, Guinness World Records has recorded over 45,000 people attending a BBQ party in Mexico at Nuevo Leo on August 18, 2013. It was an event spearheaded by Estado de Nuevo Leon.

6. Longest barbecue event: 80 hours

Most barbecue parties are hour-long events so people can get their fill of the food and company, however, Guinness World Records recorded an 80-hour BBQ marathon in Georgia, United States. Jan Greeff cooked 200 corn, 104 pieces of chicken, 558 burgers, 1000 hotdogs, and 526 Boerewors, to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Greeff achieved this and raised more than $10,000 in donations.

7. Southerners ate 5 pounds of pork easily in pre-Civil War

Prior to the Civil War, Southern Americans used to eat five pounds of pork for every pound of beef. It’s primarily due to the fact that they have an abundance of pigs since they’re easier to raise than cattle. Moreover, it’s possible to let the pigs leave the farm if they become too expensive, making them less of a problem on the farm.

8. BBQ is a large part of politics

Before BBQ parties became a private event between family and friends, it was commonly held in public and for large gatherings. Since it will take large funding, most people who hold barbecues are politicians for their campaigns and other events.

For example, those who supported the seventh president of the U.S, Andrew Jackson, threw hickory-fired barbecues and distributed hickory canes and toothpicks. This was because former President Jackson’s nickname was “Old Hickory”.

9. McDonald’s was originally a BBQ place

Prior to McDonald’s being a popular fast food joint that primarily sells burgers and fries, it was a barbecue joint named “McDonald’s Bar-B-Que”. It opened on May 15, 1940 spearheaded by Richard and Maurice McDonald. While it was a successful barbecue restaurant, it closed due to renovations and focusing more on hamburgers, milkshakes, and fries, which had higher sales, and still has to this day.

10. Aussie BBQs are an experience

Most barbecue parties around the world are simply a gathering to eat the food and spend some time together. However, Australians take their BBQ events to the next level by playing sports like backyard cricket, card games, and more prior to actually eating. Additionally, while guests are not required to bring food, it’s part of their culture that guests bring something to the gathering, whether it’s something simple as a snack, wine, or more.

BBQ's have become linked with the greater Australian identity, with most celebrating Australia Day gathered around a BBQ. While other cultures have important celebrations involving BBQs, few compare to the dedication and fanaticism of Australians love of the 'Barbie'

11. The Church of Bacon exists

If you want to take up your love for barbecue and bacon to the next level, a United Church of Bacon exists in Las Vegas, Nevada in the United States. While it’s a philosophical church that primarily worships bacon, they also help raise money for charities since they were established in 2010 by John Whiteside.

12. BBQ knives are a thing

Considering that preparing and cooking all your ingredients for a barbecue isn’t easy, especially if you only have one all-purpose knife. To make it easier for you and other BBQ enthusiasts, knife companies like Big Red Knives created numerous knives specifically for preparing your barbecue ingredients. Check them out to make sure your meat, seafood, and more are the perfect slices!

13. BBQ science shortcut to measuring grill heat

Next time you host or cook food at a BBQ, it can be easier since there’s a trick backed by science to know the actual temperature of the grill, depending on how long you can stand the heat.

If you place your hand above the grill and can stand the heat for two to four seconds, the temperature is between 450° to 550°F. If you last between five to seven seconds, the temperature is at 350° to 450°F, and if it’s between eight to ten seconds, it’s 250° to 350°F.

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