Saturday, August 18, 2012

The History of BBQ

ZeroBear PolyBear, BS, MS, PhD, LLP, MD, etc.


Any treatise on ancient culinary arts
would be incomplete
without a journey down the

smoky pathway to the time
when that most sacred of manly
cooking methods was conceived.

No, Bumbulla,

we’re not talking about the first instance of

crock pot cooking.

Our reference is to the day when

BBQ came into existence.

Let’s drift back to days before

Smoky Joe's Kansas City dry rub,

to times before the first

Texas chuck wagon chef left 
a brisket too close to the bean fire,

even before

King Nebuchadnezzar joined the cub scouts.

Let’s go back to those misty prehistory days

of flying reptiles,

Geckos you could saddle and ride like a horse

and guys named



and Boy George.

Let’s turn the clock back to about One Million BC

and days that predate

Homo erectus


Homo sapiens neanderthalensis,

to that earliest human upright ancestral form

Homo harriestdudas.

Our culinary journey back in time takes us to
the first night of the

full fall moon

and a happy band of naked men,

dancing in fevered ecstasy

around a roaring fire,

Bodies smeared black with mud

and accented with magical, sacred and mysterious markings

- the yellow of ocher and stark white of clay.

Sound comes to us as they mimic the noise of the hunt,
moving to an inner rhythm of the heart,

thrusting their spears

toward the moon

and shouting out the oldest
of ancient magic chants.

“Boom chucka lucka lucka”
“Boom chucka lucka lucka”

“Sally with her red dress on”

The intensity of the dance continues on through the night
as they whirl and swirl around the dying embers,
urging the appearance of the first rays of the sun
and the beginning of the hunt.

Finally dawn arrives

and they don their Mossy Oak cammo vests,
hunter’s orange baseball caps and strike out
to take on the massive

woolly mammoth during his fall migration down I-75
from Michigan to West Palm Beach.

From the moment they leave the safety of the clearing
and hunter’s fire, they will be in his element.

They know this and salute him with one last

Brewski and a bump before taking to the woods.

Our historical recounting now shifts to Hunter Ugga

as he sits atop his Cabelas Tree Climber®
Wooly Mammoth tree stand.

He has been quietly scanning the forest primeval for hours now,

anxiously watching for the signs of an approaching mammoth,
but sadly seeing nothing.

The six cans of Vienna Sausages

 and the pottied meat sandwich he consumed

with the gusto of a hound dog at the campfire last night
are doing a job on his gut and he finally decides
that he can wait no longer.

 He must shinny down to the ground
and go see a man about a dog.

He has barely begun to relieve himself
when he looks up and sees

the biggest beast he has ever encountered,
charging directly toward him,
enraged by the stench of his digestive void.

Ugga is a mighty warrior; a hunter without equal
and he immediately responds to the charge,

running away from the beast for all he is worth,
screaming like a little girl.

This tactic does not deter the beast at all

and the animal continues to close fast on Ugga.
Death by stomping is within only a few feet when
Ugga trips over an exposed root and falls to the ground.
His spear flies free from his hairy hand and at the end
of a perfect two revolution flight, impales itself squarely
between the mammoth’s two beady eyes.

The beast takes one more step and then falls at
Ugga’s feet, dead, dead, dead.

Ugga can’t believe his skill has triumphed yet again.

Within minutes, he has removed his switch blade flint knife

and fashioned a drag sled from a few hickory
and apple wood limbs the beast had plowed
to the ground in its charge.

He covers the beast with a layer of aromatic leaves,
cedar limbs and savory herbs to chase away the flies
and within an hour he is happily making his way back to camp,
pulling the beast along behind him as he sings the sacred song.

“We are the champions my friends.
And we’ll keep on fighting till the end.
We are the champions.
We are the champions.
Da, Da dada da...
Da Da dada da…
Champions, Champions
Da DA dada da”

Ugga has come within shouting distance of his camp
when a sudden thunderstorm passes overhead.
He ducks under an outcropping of rock
as the lightning flashes again and again.

Then, in a flash, disaster strikes.


A lightning bolt has struck the sled and the flames are rising fast.
There is no way he can extinguish the fire and so he watches
helplessly as the sled is reduced to a bed of coals
beneath the fruits of his labor, smoking in the wet leaves
and herbs. He is sadly standing beside the remains
when a strange odor drifts into his hairy nostrils.

What’s that wonderful smell?

Hickory and apple smoke?

Fragrant herbs and spices?

He pulls a morsel away from the tender flank
of the Mammoth and chews thoughtfully.
What has he discovered?

What has reduced this carcass to a flavor suitable for the gods?

You could make a fortune selling this stuff
outside the spring little league tournament.

At this point, his wife and the love of his life,


comes running up the pathway to Ugga,
pulled toward him and the now fully cooked beast
by the fragrant deliciousness of

perfectly smoked mammoth
wafting toward her on the afternoon air.

She takes one look at her husband and speaks.

“Is this all you got?
Alicia’s husband Grog brought home
two of these and a mess of hippo ribs yesterday.”


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