«

»

Feb 27

The Barbecue Experience

If you read the title and immediately opened the file thinking that this cooking method was included in the outdoor activities section by mistake, don’t be surprised if we tell you that preparing your Sunday’s barbecue festivity is actually a great outdoor activity!

Part of the U.S. outdoor living for decades, barbecue (also known as barbeque, Barbie, or abbreviated BBQ) has evolved from a method of cooking food, most frequently meat, to a social gathering and a great opportunity to exercise a variety of outdoor activities. If you have been present, even once to an outdoor barbecue extravaganza, you are familiar with the scenes. Kids running around, men over the heat and the hot gases of a fire, smoking food served on plastic plates, hot coals of charcoal ready to spread the scent of cooked food around, women preparing the dinner table and running back and forth to the kitchen or utensils area, people discussing, laughing, relaxing. What more could one ask for? Probably nothing, but the fact still remains that when people are asked to state their favorite outdoor activity, they seem reluctant to say “barbecue” since it is actually based on food preparation and does not necessarily involve any type of exercise. Well, one stop feeling guilty of barbecue. Especially if you come from the Southern or Midwest U.S. States, you should be proud of participating in one of the most important social outdoor activities of our time.

Since the heating process is not direct, barbecue is different from grilling, which is almost always a fast process over high heat. Barbecue experts strongly support that since the process used is always slow –indirect heat and/or hot smoke are applied to cook the food– the outcome of a proper barbecue is apparently tasteful and healthier. Instead of smoking the food and directly heating it to the level required for it to be cooked, barbecue’s slower method breaks down the collagen in meat and tenderize tougher cuts for easier eating.

Today, the phrase “let’s throw a barbecue” is used to refer to a casual event, usually outdoors or with an outdoor theme. College students organize barbecue parties frequently using any type of excuse; from announcing an event, like their college football team’s victory to celebrating the end of those dreadful exam periods. Families organize barbecue events to invite friends, bond with distant family members and socialize in general. During these barbecue occasions, two important facts occur that facilitate the outdoor experience. First, people attend a familiar outdoor activity, which can only make them feel relaxed and enjoy the great weather and the company around, and second, exactly because a large number of people gather at a specific location and have to stay there for a certain amount of time (while the food is cooking), other outdoor activities are usually surface. For example, how many times have you been invited to play a friendly Frisbee match while waiting for the meat to be properly cooked? Well, you can see now my point. Regardless of the original purpose of one’s visit to a barbecue place, the barbecue outdoor experience can become one of those times you nostalgically remember during the winter weekends. Having fun and eating fresh is always a good excuse to get involved with a barbecue event. Remember to add some exercise to these fun times and you can now have it all except that annoying guilt part!