Celebrate National Barbecue Month

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In the month of May, the weather starts to warm up, but doesn’t get full-on hot yet. It’s no wonder May is National Barbecue Month. What better month to enjoy your backyard by cooking meals outside? If you love the outdoors, but still want the convenience and elegant ambiance created by our cast stone mantels and range hoods, you’re in luck! Our designs can be customized to fit your exact specifications and that includes custom creations for outdoor use. The custom Cambridge mantel below is just one example of how we can make your outdoor space uniquely you.

outdoor fireplace mantel

Much like our classic old world mantels and range hoods for your home, barbecuing is one of those traditions that bring family and friends together. It also promotes healthy food choices, such as eating fresh rather than frozen or canned foods. To celebrate National Barbecue Month, let’s look at the history of barbecue and try a couple of recipes.

Barbecue History

The history of the term “barbecue” is not fully documented. But it’s usually traced back to the word “barbacoa,” which the Spanish explorers used to describe the native Caribbean people’s practice of slow-cooking their meat over a wooden platform. This method spread throughout the American South, where pork was king. Since big grills could accommodate lots of food, barbecue became popular for large gatherings such as church picnics and family reunions.

While the United States has a wide variety of BBQ options to choose from, some of the top barbecue spots are in the country are:

  • Texas – known for mesquite-grilled beef brisket
  • North Carolina – They go whole hog for vinegar-heavy sauces
  • Kansas City – ribs with a dry rub
  • Memphis – pulled-pork with a sweet tomato-based barbecue sauce, often eaten on a sandwich

Remember: Always be diplomatic about other people’s barbecue styles – many a fight has started over this topic!

A simple barbecue sauce recipe

Whether you’re barbecuing pork, beef, vegetables or tofu, this simple sauce courtesy of the Chowhound website will make your meal delicious.

  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/2 cup water

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring until ingredients are completely incorporated. Reduce heat to low and gently simmer until flavors have melded and sauce has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 30 to 40 minutes.

Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. If not using right away, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

Prefer a drier barbecue? This rub from the Epicurious website is for you:

Basic Barbecue Rub

    • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup sweet paprika
    • 3 tablespoons black pepper
    • 3 tablespoons coarse salt
    • 1 tablespoon hickory-smoked salt or more coarse salt
    • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
    • 2 teaspoons onion powder
    • 2 teaspoon celery seeds
    • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper


Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir to mix. (Actually, your hands work better for mixing than a spoon or whisk does. Use your fingers to break up any lump of brown sugar.) Store the rub in an airtight jar away from heat or light; it will keep for at least 6 months.

If all this outdoor cooking inspires you to add more fire to your life, give us a call about creating a custom outdoor mantel or range hood for your backyard space. We love to bring our customers dream homes to life!

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