A barbecue grill is a device that cooks food through the use of heat from below. There are lots of types of grills, with most falling into among three categories: gas-fueled, charcoal, or electric. There is debate over which method yields superior results
History in the Americas
Grilling has existed in the Americas since pre-Colonial times. The Arawak persons of SOUTH USA roasted meat on a wooden structure called a barbacoa in Spanish. For years and years, the term barbacoa described the wooden structure rather than the act of grilling, nonetheless it was eventually modified to “barbecue”. It had been also put on the pit-style cooking techniques now commonly used in the southeastern USA. Barbecue was at first used to slow-cook hogs; however, various ways of preparing food resulted in regional variations. As time passes, other food stuffs were cooked in an identical fashion, with hamburgers and hot dogs being recent additions.
The LazyMan Model AP, the world’s first lightweight gas grill. Taken through the summer of 1954.
Edward G. Kingsford invented the present day charcoal briquette. Kingsford was a member of family of Henry Ford who assigned him the duty of establishing a Ford auto parts plant and sawmill in northern Michigan, a challenge that Kingsford embraced. The neighborhood community grew and was named Kingsford in his honor. Kingsford pointed out that Ford’s Model T production lines were creating a sizable amount of wood scraps which were being discarded. He suggested to Ford a charcoal manufacturing unit be established next to the assembly line to process and sell charcoal beneath the Ford name at Ford dealerships. Many years after Kingsford’s death, the chemical company was sold to local businessmen and renamed the Kingsford Chemical Company.
George Stephen created the iconic hemispherical grill design, jokingly called “Sputnik” by Stephen’s neighbors. Stephen, a welder, worked for Weber Brothers Metal Works, a metal fabrication shop generally worried about welding steel spheres together to create buoys. Stephen was sick and tired of the wind blowing ash onto his food when he grilled so he took the low half a buoy, welded three steel legs about it, and fabricated a shallower hemisphere for use as a lid. He took the results home and following some initial success, started the Weber-Stephen Products Company.
The gas grill was invented in the late 1930s by Don McGlaughlin, owner of the Chicago Combustion Corporation, known today as LazyMan. McGlaughlin invented the first built-in grill from the successful gas broiler called BROILBURGER. These first Lazy-Man grills were marketed as “open-fire charcoal-type gas broilers” which featured “permanent coals”, otherwise referred to as lava rock. In the 1950s, most residential households didn’t have a barbecue, therefore the term broiler was used for marketing purposes to commercial establishments. The gas open-broiler design was adapted in to the first lightweight gas grill in 1954 by Chicago Combustion Corporation as the Model AP. McGlaughlin’s lightweight design was the first ever to feature the application of the 20-lb propane cylinders, which previously were exclusively employed by plumbers as a fuel source.