Grilling season is still alive and well moving into September, with college football starting up and Labor Day weekend upon us. While you’re digging out your apron and polishing your tongs, have you ever stopped to wonder what your neighbors are cooking up? What about your distant neighbors? Say, three states over?
Now you can satisfy that curiosity; Google recently compiled the data of the “most-uniquely searched grilling recipes by state,” and the results may be unexpected.
Lobster Tail in Texas and Pineapple in Alaska
Google’s survey splits states into vegetables, shellfish, fish, steak, and other. The map shows a large number of central states searching up grilled vegetables; Alabama likes squash, while Colorado is into corn. Hawaii likes eggplant, and Iowa asparagus.
The biggest little state, Rhode Island, gets ambitious with some swordfish, along with Massachusetts and New Hampshire. In addition, Delaware has big dreams, searching for, specifically, the perfect steak.
Furthermore, there’s a good mix of regions looking to grill chicken, pork chops, and burgers, such as South Carolina, Nebraska, and Indiana.
Check out a full breakout of the most popular foods to grill in each state below:
The History of Grilling
With Labor Day weekend upon us and the season coming to a close soon, it’s important to look back on the history of our favorite past-time and thank our ancestors for the gift of grills.
Grilling can be dated back to the 17th century, to the Arawak tribe of South America and the Caribbean. They “used sticks to create a flame over a fire and place the meat on it,” which they called “barbacoa.” This directly translates from Spanish to “barbeque.”
As for modern times, in 1897, Ellsworth B. A. Zwoyer patented the first charcoal briquettes. Henry Ford, however, became more famous for starting the Kingsford company; he used “wood scraps and sawdust from the assembly lines of his cars to create the charcoal.”
The late 1940s saw a boom in the industry; those early grills were known for “burning the meat and creating a large amount of ash.” But, George Stephen, a welder, refined the design in 1952; he introduced the dome shape we know today. He created the design “using the top half as a lid to seal in the flavor and help distribute heat more evenly.”
The charcoal grill was used regularly until the 1960s with the invention of the gas grill. Melton Lancaster and William G. Wepfer from the Arkansas Louisiana Gas Company created a grill that ran on propane; this made cooking on a grill more expensive, but also made it easier and more enjoyable. Grills have advanced further over the years; some use ceramic burners and infrared radiation, while the George Forman grills from the top and bottom.
Certainly, the act of cooking meat on a grill differs greatly in America from their beginnings in the Caribbean, and some cultures do still practice the original methods of roasting meat over open flame or in pits. But remember, especially on days like Labor Day, there’s really never a bad time to gather with loved ones and fire up the grill!