Do you ever wonder where and when the concept of outdoor grilling and cooking came into play? While it’s a favorite pastime for many homeowners today, during the Bronze Age, grilling was a novelty. Soon after the discovery of fire, some of the earliest “grills” were created. In fact, archaeologists found evidence of grills as early as 2300 BC.
Let’s fast forward to the 1600s. The first accounts of outdoor grills in the Western world come from the West Indies. The island natives coined the term “barbacoa,” which generally refers to meats or whole sheep slow-cooked over an open fire. Colonial settlers and explorers adopted this practice and brought the idea of barbecuing to the southeastern United States, and so the era of grilling for pleasure was born.
Southerners experimented with slow roasting whole pigs and other types of meats caked in unique sauces and wood chips, resulting in a tender, flavorful meals. Even our nation’s first president, George Washington, recounted in his diary May 27, 1769 his first barbecue social gathering in Alexandria, Virginia. Andrew Jackson planted “barbecue trees” on the Whitehouse’s grounds as fuel for his presidential cookouts.
In the late 1800s, the first “briquette” was patented by Ellsworth B.A. Zwoyer, but didn’t turn heads until E.G. Kingsford, a relative of Henry Ford, created the modern-day charcoal briquette in the 1920s. From there various versions of the charcoal grill were created. However, in the early 1950s, the first outdoor gas grill was invented by Don McGlaughlin, owner of the Chicago Combustion Corp., known today as LazyMan. And, in 1958, the first natural gas grill was manufactured. It was only then that backyard grilling and entertaining became a staple among the American lifestyle.
Since the 1960s other grills and cooking stations have emerged, from propane barbecues to fire-clay smokers. All the while, outdoor gatherings continued to play a role in everyday life. It wasn’t until the late-1990s that outdoor kitchen cabinet manufacturers such as Danver Stainless Outdoor Kitchens entered the scene. The idea of creating a built-in space that could house all types of grilling products for a one-stop-shop experience appealed to homeowners. It meant that they could enjoy socializing with friends and family while preparing a meal, without having to cart utensils and other grilling products back and forth.
Today, outdoor kitchens can be created to match any homeowners’ lifestyle and design preference. From various cabinet door styles available in a multitude of powder coat finishes to technologically advanced grilling products and accessories, outdoor kitchens and living spaces have become extensions of the home; they are a place made for entertaining and enjoying America’s favorite pastime.