… two million years of human history as seen through the prism of grilling. From Thailand to Turkey to Texas, grilling is apparently a way of life. We live on a BBQ planet.
Barbacoa is a form of cooking meat that originated among the native tribes of the Americas, from which the term “barbecue” derives. They cooked slow and low over a smoky fire. BBQing began with homo erectus, an extinct species of hominid that lived from the end of the Pliocene epoch to the later Pleistocene, about 1.3 to 1.8 million years ago.
Raichlen has a theory that there was a forest fire which roasted a bison or prehistoric deer and uttered the first grunt of gastronomic satisfaction. The discovery that you could cook meat with fire led to massive changes in how humans were built. It led to a tripling of the size of the human brain and a shrinking of the size of the jaw....
In The Iliad by Homer, there’s a scene of an animal sacrifice. A pyre was raised on the beach and a cow slaughtered. The meat was covered in fat and the salt and basted every now and again in red wine. “I’ve made it and it’s delicious,” Raichlen said.Read the rest of Planet BBQ on berfrois (Intellectual Jousting in the Republic of Letters), crossposted with Chloe Veltman’s website