Famous Fat Dave uncovers the history of the Southern American tradition known as the Barbecue. On July 4th, the barbecue is huge in America, and you will learn this right here.
Barbecue history lesson takes us to Central Texas dance halls
4 of 8 Above: Cooks cut beef at the Millheim Harmonie Verein Community Barbecue near Sealy. Below: The traditional menu at the Millheim Dance Hall gathering includes beef and pork shoulder and mutton ribs. J.C. Reid Show More Show Less
5 of 8 Cutting the pork at the Millheim Harmonie Verein Community Barbecue. J.C. Reid Show More Show Less
6 of 8 A plate of barbecue with beef and pork shoulder and mutton ribs at the Millheim Harmonie Verein Community Barbecue. J.C. Reid Show More Show Less
7 of 8 A sign inside the dance hall at the Millheim Harmonie Verein Community Barbecue. J.C. Reid Show More Show Less
8 of 8 Chris J.C. Reid, barbecue columnist. Melissa Phillip/Staff Show More Show Less
Texans love their history. We've all made the family road trip to San Antonio to visit the Alamo. If you went to school here, you made it through that rite of passage known as seventh-grade Texas history. And if you love barbecue, you might find yourself standing over a backyard grill with friends, debating the origins of barbecue in Texas.
The prevailing theory originates in Central Texas. In the 1800s, German immigrants opened meat markets associated with the big cattle ranches of the region. Cows would be butchered and the meat sold to local residents during the week. On Sunday, whatever meat was leftover - remember, there was no refrigeration - was cooked and sold to ranch hands and cotton-field laborers. The German immigrants used smoking techniques from their homeland to cook the meat.
Not so fast, says Houston food writer Robb Walsh. In researching his most recent book, "Barbecue Crossroads," Walsh concluded that the earliest barbecue in Texas can be traced to Southern plantations.
Immigrants to the earliest colonies of East-Central Texas brought the barbecue traditions from the Old South, including techniques used by slaves as well as Native Americans, Walsh contends.
Kenney 4th of July BBQ: 11 a.m. July 4 at the Kenney Agricultural Society Hall, 444 Hall Road, Kenney.
Sons of Hermann - Washington Lodge BBQ: 11 a.m. Oct. 19 at the Sons of Hermann Lodge, 9499 FM 1370, Washington
Where to eat beef ribs in Houston
Killen's Barbecue: 3613 E. Broadway, Pearland 281-485-2272
Occasionally on the menu, usually weekends (call ahead):
Corkscrew BBQ: 24930 Budde, Spring 832-592-1184
The Brisket House: 5775 Woodway, Houston 281-888-0331
Eventually, this tradition of cooking meat over coals in open pits would manifest itself in the "community barbecue," when people would come together on special occasions to cook meat from surrounding farms and ranches. Teams of cooks would laboriously tend fires burning in pits dug into the ground, turning the meat, sharing stories and catching up on the latest news. It was a social event, meant to strengthen community ties and pass on traditions to a younger generation.
That tradition still exists in Texas. Recently, I traveled to the Millheim Dance Hall's annual community barbecue outside Sealy, just a few miles from the original San Felipe colony founded by Stephen F. Austin.
Historically, community barbecues were associated with social organizations. For the original Czech, Polish and German settlers of Texas, one such group was the "harmonie verein," or singing society. These would eventually combine with the long tradition of dance halls in Texas.
Many of the old Texas dance halls would include a long, brick-lined trough on the property where the community barbecues would take place. The Millheim Dance Hall is one of the few that still exist with the barbecue pits. Every Father's Day, the Millheim Harmonie Verein, founded in 1872, holds a community barbecue to raise funds for the dance hall. It's an experience Walsh describes as a "Texas barbecue time machine."
The barbecue pits at Millheim are about 75 feet long and 5 feet wide, concrete-lined and partially sunk into the ground. The night before a barbecue, wood is packed tightly into the pit, set on fire and burned down to hot coals. Rectangular wire baskets holding the meat are placed over the coals for direct-heat cooking. For the Millheim event, the menu included beef clod (shoulder), pork shoulder and various cuts of mutton (sheep).
The choice of meats is historically significant. In the event's earliest days, animals were slaughtered and cooked all at the same time. Delivering and butchering large animals wasn't feasible, so smaller animals like baby pigs, lambs and calves were used. Beef shoulder is now used instead of veal, but otherwise the menu is true to history.
The meat is cooked overnight by members of the verein and other volunteers. Once ready, another team slices the meat, which is placed in foil bins and served buffet style. Everything is accompanied by the "gravy" - don't call it barbecue sauce - made from copious amounts of crushed tomatoes and onions.
The quality of the barbecue is only one component of the experience. Locals arrive, buy a plate of barbecue and stand at picnic tables under shade trees eating and catching up on news. A polka band plays nearby. Raffles and silent auctions occur inside the dance hall. The volunteer cooks hold their places near the pits, beers in hand, surveying the scene, weary after a long night of cooking for their friends and neighbors.
Enjoying Steak with Ribs of cow makes a perfect match, heat your coals and woods, and broil your steak on the grill. Rib-Eye and Japanese Vague(Highly Expensive) are famous for their best taste and amount of fats. Toss it, Grill it and serve it. Ribs are also another best part of the meat to enjoy even without any spices, just garlic, butter, and rosemary can give it an endless taste. Enjoy their tenderness and juice in your mouth, don’t forget to call your friends and family on this epic Independence Day Party.
Chicken Drumsticks covered in spice, broiled to perfection, can give you a whole new experience, and Bite-Size pieces on the grill served with some smoked bell peppers and some salt.
Biden Says You May Be Able to Have a Barbecue 'in Your Backyard' by the 4th of July
(CNSNews.com) - President Joe Biden, in his first televised address to the nation as president, set out the "next steps" for managing the coronavirus pandemic, setting a July 4 goal for Americans to gather with their "loved ones," but(!) -- "that doesn't mean large events with lots of people together."
Biden called for "national unity" in following the rules set by health officials:
"Unity is what we do together as fellow Americans, because if we don't stay vigilant and the conditions change, then we may have to reinstate restrictions to get back on track. And please, we don't want to do that again. We've made so much progress. This is not the time to let up. Just as we were emerging from a dark winter, into a hopeful spring and summer is not the time to not stick with the rules."
Biden promised that all American adults will be "eligible" for vaccination no later than May 1: "Let me be clear, that doesn't mean everyone's going to have that shot immediately, but it means you'll be able to get in line beginning May 1," he said.
Biden said his administration soon will issue further guidance on what you "can and cannot do" once you're fully vaccinated. And then he set the July 4 goal:
I need you to get vaccinated when it's your turn and when you can find an opportunity and to help your family, your friends, your neighbors get vaccinated as well. Because here's the point. If we do all this, if we do our part, we do this together, by July the 4th, there's a good chance you, your families and friends will be able to get together in your backyard or in your neighborhood and have a cookout and a barbecue and celebrate Independence Day.
That doesn't mean large events with lots of people together, but it does mean small groups will be able to get together. After this long, hard year that will make this Independence Day something truly special where we not only mark our independence as a nation, but we began to mark our independence from this virus. But to get there, we can't let our guard down. This fight is far from order--from over. As I told the woman in Pennsylvania, I'll tell you the truth.
On July 4th with your loved ones is the goal. But a goal---a lot can happen. Conditions can change. The scientists have made clear that things may get worse again as new variants of the virus spread. We've got work to do to ensure that everyone has confidence and the safety and effectiveness of all three vaccines.
'Listen to Dr. Fauci'
"So my message to you is this," Biden continued:
Listen to Dr. Fauci, one of the most distinguished and trusted voices in the world. He's assured us the vaccines are safe. They underwent rigorous scientific review. I know they're safe. Vice President Harris--Harris and I know they're safe. That's why we got the vaccine publicly in front of cameras so--for the world to see so you get to see us do it. The first lady and the second gentleman also got vaccinated.
Talk to your family, friends, your neighbors, the people you know best who have gotten the vaccine. We need everyone to get vaccinated. We need everyone to keep washing their hands, stay socially distanced, and keep wearing the mask as recommended by the CDC, because even if we devote every resource we have, beating this virus and getting back to normal depends on national unity.
Biden recounted all the losses over the past year -- people dying, businesses failing, time lost with friends and relatives, jobs lost, schools closed and children stuck at home.
"And there's something else we lost. We lost faith in whether our government and our democracy can deliver on really hard things for the American people," Biden said, not crediting the Trump administration with delivering the life-saving vaccines in record time. Instead, Biden credited "science."
"The development, manufacture, distribution of vaccines in record time is a true miracle of science," Biden said. "It's one of the most extraordinary achievements any country has ever accomplished."
Biden hailed passage of the Democrats' $1.9 trillion stimulus plan, mentioning that it will provide checks of $5,600 for "a typical family of four earning about $110,000."
"In the coming weeks and months, I'll be traveling, along with the first lady, the vice president, the second gentleman, and members of my Cabinet to speak directly to you, to tell you the truth about how the American Rescue Plan meets the moment. And if it fails in any place, I will acknowledge that it failed, but it will not," Biden promised.
"If we all do our part, this country will be vaccinated soon, our economy will be on the mend, our kids will be back in school, and we'll have proven once again that this country can do anything, hard things, big things, important things."
The Democrats' bloated "rescue" plan passed without a single Republican vote. Republicans didn't mind sending relief to families and businesses, but they did object to all the pork projects added into the bill, making it way more expensive than it needed to be.
Despite shutting Republicans out of the fifth "rescue" plan by refusing to negotiate, Biden ended his speech with a familiar plea for unity:
"My fervent prayer for our country is that, after all we've been through, we'll come together as one people, one nation, one America. I believe we can and we will. We're seizing this moment in history, I believe, will record we faced and overcame one of the toughest and darkest periods in this nation's history, the darkest we've ever known.
"I promise you we'll come out stronger with a renewed faith in ourselves, a renewed commitment to one another, to our communities and to our country. This is the United States of America, and there's nothing, nothing, from the bottom of my heart I believe this, there's nothing we can't do when we do it together."
4th of July BBQ Made Easy
On the menu for this easy backyard celebration:
BBQ Chicken Sliders
Corn & Avocado Salad
Watermelon & Cherries
Cherry Mint Lemonade
I love hosting dinners, but I don’t like to get stuck in the kitchen the whole time and miss out on socializing. When throwing a backyard BBQ the great thing is that you can all gather together around the grill, but sometimes that can even be too much fuss. That’s why these BBQ chicken sliders are made in the crockpot and require zero effort!
But don’t worry they taste amazing as if you slaved over a hot smoker all day! The chicken is layered with pickles and sharp cheddar cheese on a Sister Schubert’s roll for a divine flavor.
Pair these sliders with my corn and avocado salad for some tangy heat and cool off with a refreshing slice of sweet watermelon. This menu really is the best 4th of July BBQ made easy!
BBQ Chicken Sliders
3/4 Cup vinegar based BBQ sauce
1/4 Cup of Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce
Bag of Sister Schubert’s rolls – 2 or 3 per person
Sharp white cheddar cheese like Cabot – one slice per slider
In a crockpot on high mix the chicken thighs with the 2 types of BBQ sauce. Cook about 2 -3 hours until meat is falling off bone and can be shredded. Remove skin and bone then shred. Leave on warm until ready to serve. You want most of the liquid absorbed, so the sliders don’t turn to mush, so if need be boil off some of the sauce.
Heat the rolls via instructions and slice open. Layer on a spoon full of BBQ chicken, a slice of cheese, and a couple of pickles. Spear with pick to hold together.
Corn & Avocado Salad
5 Ears of fresh corn on the cob with husks
2 Large Avocados pitted and cubed
1 Cup cherry tomatoes cut in half
1 Tsp diced pickled jalapeño
3-4 Sprigs of cilantro – chopped
First step to make this salad is to grill the ears of corn. Remove the outer layers of husk, but leave several of the inner leaves to cover corn on grill. When you pull back the husks brush off the silks. Place on the grill and rotate often until tender. It usually takes about 30 minutes.
Once corn is cooked and cooled off enough to handle shear off the cob. Dice up the onion. Cut up the tomatoes, avocado, jalapeño, cilantro, etc. Mix all together in large bowl. Squeeze the lime juice in and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste. If you like spicy dishes, add more jalapeño or some red pepper.
There is nothing to do to the watermelon but slice and enjoy! As a reminder, cut it so it is easily handled in wedges or remove the rind and cube for eating with a fork.
Cherry Mint Lemonade
I hope I’ve provided you with tons of inspiration for a backyard celebration this Independence Day, and proven a 4th of July BBQ made easy is simple and festive!
60+ Best Fourth of July Recipes to Celebrate Independence Day
July 4th is almost upon us! The summer holiday is synonymous with grilling out, watching fireworks and decorating your 4th of July party with plenty of red, white, and blue! From the basics (corn on the cob, coleslaw, and pasta salad) to more out-of-the-box dishes that still feel ultra all-American, we've rounded up some of the best dishes that your celebrations can&rsquot do without.
Is it even a cookout if there aren't burgers on the grill? This spicy version will cause fireworks of its own.
Maybe George Washington chopped down that cherry tree because he was trying to get enough fruit to make this delicious salad. That's how we like to think of it, anyway.
Cooking for folks that are avoiding red meat? This Buffalo-sauce-flavored burger is a beef-free crowd-pleaser.
The jalapeño-infused liquor gives this margarita just enough warmth to keep guests sipping, while the watermelon keeps it refreshing.
Serve this sweet fruit salad, and you'll be taking home an empty bowl.
The best part of this green salad&mdashbesides the flavorful crunch&mdashis that it absolutely won't wilt. You'll be making it all summer.
Give your standard potato salad a serious upgrade with everyone's favorite BLT flavors.
Corn salad is so good, it shouldn't be this easy to make. This recipe takes just 15 minutes.
This is not grandma's pasta salad. But maybe it should have been!
Top your dog with one of three flavor-packed fixin's: tangy horseradish, spicy chiles, or zesty pickle and onions.
What’s So Patriotic About Cookouts?
Monkey Business Images/Thinkstock
Cookouts are essential to Fourth of July celebrations. But why? In 2011, Will Oremus investigated this American tradition. The original is reprinted below.
We tend to hold it as a self-evident truth that the proper way to celebrate the country’s independence is with a backyard barbecue. The country’s leading barbecue trade association reports that the Fourth of July is the nation’s most popular outdoor cooking holiday, with Memorial Day a distant second. When did throwing hunks of meat onto an open fire become patriotic?
In the early 1800s. Colonists in Virginia had been getting together in the summer to smoke large animals over a pit since before the nation’s founding in a tradition they apparently imported from the West Indies. (The word “barbecue” comes from the Spanish “barbacoa,” which is believed to derive from a word used by the indigenous Taino people of Hispaniola to describe a wooden rack used for smoking meats.) The practice spread in the first half of the 19 th century as political leaders began staging rallies to mark Independence Day (which was not yet an official holiday) to draw crowds, they held massive barbecues, often roasting whole pigs or even oxen.
The Democratic-Republican Party, which enjoyed strong support in the southern states, found Independence Day cookouts particularly congruent with its ethos. Pushing agrarian virtues and states’ rights, party operatives used the rallies to extol the Declaration of Independence and celebrate the barbecue as an expression of regional pride. Elsewhere in the fledgling nation, there are reports of Americans commemorating the occasion with less familiar fare, including turtle soup, which enjoyed popularity in Philadelphia, Boston, and Charleston.
In the 20 th century, as the nation’s population shifted from the country to the city and then the suburbs, the Independence Day cookout morphed from a public free-for-all into a family affair. Magazine advertisements of the pre-World War II era encouraged families to stage their own “backyard barbecues” with the aid of the newly popularized charcoal grill.
Bonus Explainer: Why do we celebrate America’s independence with frankfurters, wieners and hamburgers instead of with meat named after American cities? Because we’re a nation of immigrants. And besides, the modern hamburger is far enough removed from its namesake to merit its quintessentially American reputation. According to Josh Ozersky’s book The Hamburger: A History, the original “hamburg steak” served to German sailors at food stands along the New York City harbor in the early 19 th century was a semi-cured slab of salted and spiced beef. Today’s version was made possible by a pair of American innovations: the meat grinder and the hamburger bun. Still, it took a while for the burger to shed its Teutonic connotations. During World War I, diners rebranded their patties as “Salisbury steak” or even “Liberty steaks” to avoid any association with the enemy. But by World War II, Americans had made the meat their own and seemed to have no qualms about the etymology of its name. As for frankfurters, which bear a closer resemblance to their German forerunners: Those with qualms can simply call them hot dogs.
Got a question about today’s news? Ask the Explainer.
Explainer thanks food historian Robert F. Moss, author of Barbecue: The History of an American Institution, and Len Travers of the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth.
Things You (Probably) Don’t Know About the 4th of July
The United States observes its Independence Day on July 4th.
It normally includes massive public celebrations of music, fireworks and food in cities and towns across the country. This year, however, much of the country is avoiding large gatherings, or barring them.
So, we are turning to the ghost of Independence Day past to note some lesser-known history of the holiday.
This day will be remembered in American history, wrote John Adams in 1776. People will honor it with fireworks and celebrations.
He was talking about the second of July.
That is the day the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence from the British. The colonies officially became self-ruling states.
But the date written on the Declaration of Independence is July 4. So, since 1776, Americans have honored July 4 as the country’s Independence Day.
Patriotic to the end
Adams went on to become the first vice-president of the United States of America and its second president. He observed many July 4th Independence Days right up until he died --- on July 4th, 1826. That same day, a few hours earlier, Adams’ lifelong friend, opponent, former vice president, and third president, Thomas Jefferson, also died.
It was the 50th anniversary of Independence Day.
Five years later, James Monroe, the country’s fifth president, also died on July 4.
And one president, Calvin Coolidge, was born on July 4, in 1872.
Most Americans celebrate Independence Day with barbecues, parades and, yes, fireworks. But a few celebrate by eating all the hot dogs they can.
Every July 4th since the early 1970s, a restaurant called Nathan’s Famous has held a competition to see who can eat the most hot dogs in ten minutes. The event involves 30 to 40 competitors divided by sex. Women face women. Men face men.
The competition is held at Nathan’s Famous in the Coney Island area of New York City. The 1916 restaurant grew over the years into a large food business, with many stores.
The undeniable star eater at Nathan’s is Joey Chestnut of California. The 36-year-old has won the men’s championship 12 times, including last year. He also holds the Nathan’s record for most hot dogs eaten in competition --- 74.
New York native Miki Sudo is Nathan’s Famous current women’s champion. She has won the event six times, more than any other woman.
But her opponent, South Korean-born Sonya Thomas has eaten more hot dogs at the event. Thomas set the record in 2011 downing 40 hot dogs in ten minutes. But, that record did not last long. Thomas returned to Nathan's the following year and ate 45.
Nathan’s is holding the hot dog eating competition again this Independence Day. The event is not open to the public because of COVID-19. But, it will be covered live on television and the web.
Where do those fireworks come from?
So, let’s go back to those fireworks, probably the most common image linked to Independence Day. Americans really, really love fireworks. The American Pyrotechnic Association – “pyrotechnic” is another word for “fireworks” – reported that Americans spent $1 billion on ordinary fireworks last year. And, the industry group said it also earned $375 million from sales of professional fireworks.
But although fireworks are in popular use in America, they are rarely made in America. The huge majority is imported from China.
And, most American flags are made there too!
Kelly Jean Kelly and Caty Weaver wrote this story for Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.
Chicken, community served at adapted Fourth of July barbecue
Through barbecue chicken, brief greetings and many smiles, Penngrove residents and volunteers came together Saturday to give back to the community.
The Penngrove Social Firemen held a drive-thru barbecue event to raise funds for maintaining their community clubhouse venue and Penngrove Park, where the drive-thru event was held.
The two facilities are integral community gathering spots in the Penngrove area, said Kim Hanson, secretary of the board directors for Petaluma Social Firemen.
“There's generations of people that have come to rent the clubhouse either for weddings, birthday parties, graduations,” Hanson said.
“The park is open to the public, and there's picnic tables and barbecues and people can have their little gatherings there,” she added.
Over 200 tickets were sold ahead of the event, which offered freshly barbecued chicken, beans, macaroni salad and bread, all made by the Penngrove Social Firemen’s volunteer cooks.
Typically, the community would celebrate this time of year with the decades-old Penngrove Fourth of July parade and the barbecue held after, often with thousands of hungry mouths to feed.
The in-person group celebrations were all canceled last year after the onset of the pandemic.
Hanson says this event will be in lieu of the parade — although Sonoma County has mostly reopened, parade organizers did not have enough time to get necessary permits to hold the parade.
Next year, the Penngrove parade, which usually is a huge source of donations and fundraising for the nonprofit will be back in time for Independence Day.
“We're losing a lot still but we're trying to keep the tradition going,” Hanson said.
“We appreciate everybody participating in our events that we still have,” she added. “We couldn't make it without them.”