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When is National Barbecue Month?
The month of May is always National Barbecue Month

Are there other related Holidays?  Yes!
Barbecue is all about the sauce! - See National Sauce Month
National Hamburger Month
National Hot Dog Month

What is Barbecue?
Wikipedia tells us that "Barbecue or barbeque (abbreviated BBQ, Bar-B-Q or Bar-B-Que or diminuted, chiefly in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom to barbie, and braai in South Africa) is a method and apparatus for cooking food, often meat, with the heat and hot gases of a fire, smoking wood, or hot coals of charcoal and may include application of a marinade, spice rub, or basting sauce to the meat." "The term as a noun can refer to foods cooked by this method, to the cooker itself, or to a party that includes such food."  "The term is also used as a verb for the act of cooking food in this manner. Barbecue is usually cooked in an outdoor environment heated by the smoke of wood or charcoal, or with propane and similar gases." "Restaurant barbecue may be cooked in large brick or metal ovens specially designed for that purpose."

See Grilling & BBQ Directory for topics like these:
Whats the difference between Grilling & BBQing?
Grilled Steak with mushroom salsa
Charcoal Grill Tips
Gas Grill Tips

Barbecue has numerous regional variations
"In many parts of the world. Notably, in the United States, practitioners consider barbecue to include only relatively indirect methods of cooking, with the more direct high-heat methods to be called grilling."

"In British English usage, barbecuing and grilling refer to a fast cooking process directly over high heat, whilst grilling also refers to cooking under a source of direct, high heat--known in the US and Canada as broiling." "In US English usage, however, grilling refers to a fast process over high heat whilst barbecuing refers to a slow process using indirect heat and/or hot smoke." "For example, in a typical US home 'grill', food is cooked on a grate directly over hot charcoal; while in a US 'barbecue', the coals are dispersed to the sides or at significant distance from the grate."

"Alternatively, an apparatus called a smoker with a separate fire box may be used." "Hot smoke is drawn past the meat by convection for very slow cooking." "This is essentially how barbecue is cooked in most US 'barbecue' restaurants, but nevertheless many consider this to be a distinct cooking process called smoking."

"The slower methods of cooking break down the collagen in meat and tenderize tougher cuts for easier eating."

American South
"In the Southern United States, barbecue initially revolved around the cooking of pork." "During the 19th century, pigs were a low-maintenance food source that could be released to forage for themselves in forests and woodlands." "When food or meat supplies were low, these semi-wild pigs could then be caught and eaten."

"According to estimates, prior to the American Civil War Southerners ate around five pounds of pork for every one pound of beef they consumed." "Because of the poverty of the southern United States at this time, every part of the pig was eaten immediately or saved for later (including the ears, feet, and other organs). Because of the effort to capture and cook these wild hogs, "pig slaughtering became a time for celebration, and the neighborhood would be invited to share in the largesse."  "These feasts are sometimes called 'pig-pickin's.' The traditional Southern barbecue grew out of these gatherings."

Each Southern locale has its own particular variety of barbecue, particularly concerning the sauce.

See also:
Spice Rubs /Marinate your meat  / Common Herbs & Spices / Gas Grill Tips /
Types of Sandwiches / Grilling & BBQ / Types of sauce / Barbecue Breakfast  /
Whats the difference between Grilling & Barbecuing?  / Charcoal Grill Tips
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Resources: This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses some material from Wikipedia/article barbecue / barbecue and other related pages.