Main content starts here, tab to start navigating

How Poverty Created Culinary Perfection

a tray of food on a table

BBQ originally was not for the high and mighty.

What you and I call BBQ, our ancestors called survival.

Barbecue is as varied as the people obsessing over temperature. But what is always in common? BBQ uses cheap meats and parts of the animal that our rich ancestral neighbors would avoid.

Brisket, ribs, pork butt, yard bird (chicken) turkey and of course sausage are not rib eye, pork tenderloin or fillet mignon. So poor people did what poor people have done for millennia… they survived.

They took these ‘throw-away’ cuts and said ‘OH NO YOU DIDN’T’ and figured out how to make these unwanted pieces the most-wanted delicacies.

How did they do this? They marinated the pieces that didn’t have much internal flavor and then cooked the fattier pieces over low heat for a LONG time

Low and Slow…say it with me…Looooow and Slooooow

And they brought in the magic ingredient…smoke.

Smoking was originally a form of food preservation, but after time, the pink-rim and distinct flavor became an element that couldn’t be duplicated any other way.

The long period of cooking times would create both a natural marinade as well as a tenderizer.

Cheap, fatty, tough dry meat? No problem…no problem at all.

So now, smoking food is a hobby for middle-age men and food all people love to eat. But we must remember to tip our hat to the people who went before us. They bought the cuts of meat they could afford and just said…’ how do we make this good?’

Their resilience teaches all of us that life can throw us curveballs, but if we put our minds to the issue, we can make something beautiful out of our fight for survival.

I’m not saying ALL of us will come up with something as perfect as brisket… but we can always try.

Until next time…see you in the smoke.

Pit Master