top of page
  • jr81568

May is National Barbecue Month

Source: Giphy

May is National Barbecue Month and a good time to cook on the gas, charcoal or electric grill and eat outdoors. The traditional meats used for barbecuing are pork and beef. Today consumer and barbecue experts cook sausage, pork, brisket, lamb, chicken and fish for outdoor barbecues. There are many different barbecue sauces and ways to cook barbecued foods.

History of The Barbecue

When Christopher Columbus traveled the ocean he discovered an island where the local tribes cooked meat over an indirect flame. It was called barbacoa and it meant an original barbecue. In 1540 a tribe located in Mississippi cooked pork using this method. Some barbecue cooks believe only pork not other meats make an authentic barbecue.

Pork was a popular choice for early barbecues because pigs were less expensive to raise and feed than cows. The technique of adding sauces to meat comes from the British colonies. North Carolina has vinegar based sauces that comes from the British liking tart or acidic sauces.

In 1845 pioneers found barbecuing an easy and popular way to cook meat. Immigrants brought different types sauces and cooking methods to the states. This made barbecuing more diverse and popular with many groups. When the US won the Revolutionary War, many families celebrated with several days of barbecuing outdoors. George Washington's diaries were filed with entries about barbecues with family and business associates.

Thomas Edison and Henry Ford were credited with inventing the charcoal briquettes. This made barbecuing easier to do at home. The barbecue boom of the 1950's spread to many regions in the US and other countries. Barbecuing became popular in the UK, Germany, and Australia.

Regional Styles of Barbecuing and Sauces In The United States

Photo Source: Raw Pixel

There are many different regional styles of barbecuing and sauces in the United State. Some regions will roast or smoke a whole pig and use all the meat and parts. A whole pig will feed a large group of people and is economical too. Other regions specialize in beef, sausage, chicken, lamb, and other meats.

Memphis and Kanas City Barbecue Style

Memphis is known for barbecued pork, ribs and the city has more than 100 barbecue restaurants. Located on the water many of the ingredients for the sauces come by boat. In West Memphis they barbecue the whole pig and serve it with a peppery acidic sauce and accompanied by coleslaw. Pat Martin a chef owns six barbecue restaurants in West Memphis.

Kanas City is known for a thick sweet and spicy sauce. Black Americans brought their barbecue and cooking style to this region. Henry Perry began a barbecue restaurant located in an all-black segregated neighborhood. He trained the next generation of pit masters like Arthur Bryant.

West North Carolina and Eastern North Carolina

West North Carolina has sweet and spicy sauce that goes well with pork. In Eastern North Carolina they roast the whole pig over wood or coals. They serve it with a peppery vinegar sauce and the pork has a shiny appearance.

Texas Style

East Texas serves beef and pork smoked over low heat and cooks it very slow. They serve many of the meats in sandwiches. . Central Texas just seasons the meat with salt and pepper and cooks it on low heat and very slowly. The meat cooked this way does not use sauces. This method produces a well balanced flavorful meat.

Georgia and South Carolina

In Georgia they have a thriving barbecue business and serve pork, brisket, smoked sausage, and chopped chicken. They smoke meats and poultry overnight. In South Carolina they are known to smoke the whole hog and offer a tangy mustard barbecue sauce. This sauce is called Carolina Gold Sauce. The state has a thick tomato based sauce, and tomato based sauce with vinegar and pepper.

South Carolina Chicago

South Carolina has a tomato based sauce, pepper and vinegar sauce, and tangy mustard sauce. They often barbecue the whole pig. In Kentucky mutton is a popular meat to roast and their cooking method uses hickory wood and coals. They have a peppery vinegar sauce too. Other meat they cook in Kentucy are turkey breast and cured ham. Chicago barbecue restaurants often cook the meat rare and use wet and vinegar-based rubs.

Ways to Barbecue Meats, Seafood, and Poultry

  • Gas or Propane Grill

  • Electric Grill

  • Charcoal or Wood Fired Grill

  • Smoker

  • Pellet Grill

Recipes For National Barbecue Month

Sausage With Kanas City Style Barbecue Sauce

This recipes uses molasses or honey. In this recipe I used very little sweetener to make it more spicy than sweet. You will need a saucepan for the sauce, grill or oven, measuring spoons, pan to grill sausage, potholders, container for sauce, knife to cut sausage and paper towels.

Source: Giphy


1 or 2 pound package of sweet Italian sausage

1 tablespoon olive oil or avocado oil

1 cup of tomato sauce

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons lemon juice or concentrate

1 tablespoon paprika or chili powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon spicy mustard

1 teaspoon honey or molasses or 1 tablespoon or more if you like it sweet


Defrost the sausage and slit the sausages down the middle to help them cook faster. Add the oil to a pan and with a paper towel rub it into bottom. This keeps the sausage from sticking.

In a medium sized saucepan add the tomato sauce, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, black pepper, mustard, and honey or molasses. Add more honey or molasses if you like the sauce sweeter than spicy. Over low heat cook the sauce 20 minutes to 30 minutes stirring constantly. Add water or broth to if needed.

Light the gas or propane grill and let it heat up for a few minutes. Put the sausage in the pan on the grill and close the lid. Cook over medium high for about five minutes. Add sauce to the sausage on both sides using a spoon or basting brush. Turn the sausage and close lid and cook another five minutes. Lift up lid add some broth if the sausage seem to be sticking

Leave the lid up and cook another 10 minutes until the sausages are well cooked. Serve with potato salad and Cole slaw. Serves 2 to 4 people.

Potato Salad with Sweet and White Potatoes

Animation Source: Giphy


2 sweet potatoes

2 white potatoes


1 tablespoon oil

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 medium onion diced

4 strips of bacon cooked and diced

1 teaspoon spicy mustard

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon oil

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


On the stove in a medium sauce pan or large one fill it with water. Cut the potatoes into chunks. Bring the water to a boil, add oil, and cook for about 30 minutes until potatoes are cooked. Drain in a colander and remove skins from the potatoes and discard.

Cut potatoes into bite sized chunks and put in bowl. Cut onion ends off remove peel and cut into bite sized pieces. Cook the bacon strips in the oven on a baking sheet with parchment paper at 350 degrees for five minute or more until crispy. Remove and dice fine add to potato salad. Mix in the mayonnaise, mustard, oil, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper, Mix well with spoons.

A trick if potatoes are not cooked enough are to put the bowl in microwave and cook about five minutes and let cool before serving.

Spicy Cole Slaw

Animation Source: Giphy


2 cups of prepared Cole slaw mix

1/4 cup or more mayonnaise

1 teaspoon spicy mustard

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste


In a bowl measure the coleslaw and mix well. Add 1/4 cup of mayonnaise or more if needed, 1 teaspoon spicy mustard, cayenne pepper, lemon juice. and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and refrigerate until serving. Serves 4.

Reference Sources:

The Evolution of American Barbecue by Natasha Geiling, Smithsonian Magazine 2013

Syles of Regional Barbecue, Lauren Wicks, Tasting Table Feb. 2023

10 views0 comments


bottom of page