Many people would say that barbecue originated in America. So an American was probably the one who invented the barbecue. But others say that if barbecue or grilling has a country of origin, it’s probably Canada. Early natives of Canada were said to be experts in this type of cooking meat. So, who first cooked in barbecue style?
Some sources say it was in the 1800s when the man who invented barbecue turned up on the scene. It was a cowboy who slow cooked his tough and sinewy meat over burning charcoals to tenderize it. Cowboys then were rationed with the lesser quality beef parts. However, they also got beef and pork ribs from time to time. But in particular, who invented the barbecue? Is there a specific cowboy name? No one knows. What is sure is that America has a long history of grill or roast cooking.
The Taino Indians
Experts say it is quite likely that the Taino Indians were the ones who invented the barbecue. They were natives living in the Bahamas. They hunted animals for food and cooked them in various ways. Among them is called “barbacoa” in the native dialect. It is done by smoking meat using a specific utensil where meat is placed while being grilled or roasted on fire. Indeed, the Tainos were likely to be the people who invented the barbecue.
In French, “barbe a queue” refers to roasting or grilling a whole pig. Literally, “from beard to tail,” it means the pig will not be chopped up and cooked over fire. Instead, it will be cooked whole with head, body, and tail intact. Only the innards will be disposed of. Looking at this closely, one might conclude that the French my have been the ones who invented the barbecue.
William Dampier used the term “borbecu” in 1699 referring to a frame of wooden sticks, but it was a makeshift bed he was talking about. At least the French used the term in cooking. In 1690 Aphra Behn used the word “barbicu” in a figurative sense, referring to a type of cooking. In 1773, the diary of one Benjamin Lynde from Massachusetts mentioned about some “barbacue” party he attended with the Browne family. The French may have the term more accurately, but the question remains: who first cooked in barbecue style?
The Tainos—The Winner
More people are of the opinion that the Tainos were the ones who first cooked in barbecue style. Though this still isn’t official.