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May 25, 2020

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The Great American Pastime

Today is Memorial Day, and while it is a time to be grateful to those who gave their lives to the service, what many Americans will be doing today is barbecuing, or grilling out, if you prefer.

So let's learn a little bit more about this very American and very delicious activity.

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Today's Random Fact:

The most popular holidays for barbecuing are, in order, July 4th (71 percent), Memorial Day (57 percent), and Labor Day (55 percent).

Technically, to barbecue means to slow-cook meat at a low temperature for a long time over wood or charcoal. What most people do in their back yards is more commonly referred to as grilling.

Charcoal briquettes aren't actual charcoal, but a combination of charcoal and other ingredients molded into easy-to-light lumps. Kingsford Charcoal, for example, by far the most popular brand in the US, is made up of bits of charcoal, coal, starch (as a binder), sawdust, and sodium nitrate (to make it burn better).

Bonus Fact:

There is no definitive history about how the word "barbecue" originated - or why it's sometimes used as a noun, verb, or adjective. Some say the Spaniards get the credit for the word, derived from their "barbacoa" which is an American-Indian word for the framework of green wood on which foods were placed for cooking over hot coals. Others think the French were responsible, offering the explanation that when the Caribbean pirates arrived on our Southern shores, they cooked animals on a spit-like devise that ran from "whiskers to tail" or "de barbe a' queue."