With the Fourth of July weekend upcoming, we know that people across America will be firing up their grills and filling their neighborhoods with the delicious smell of grilled meat. In fact, the Fourth of July is America’s number one holiday for grilling, with an estimated 80% of American’s participating in barbecues throughout the day. But for the Grillaholics like us, the Fourth of July is not just a holiday; rather, it’s a chance for us to put our barbecuing prowess on display, and show our friends and family alike why being a Grillaholic is so worth it (because let’s be honest, your pulled pork that was meticulously seasoned and smoked for 8 hours is going to taste a hell of a lot better on a bun than your brother-in-law’s pre-shaped hamburgers that he picked up from the grocery store).
But why do we barbecue on the Fourth of July in the first place? What does grilled meat have to do with the founding of America? Well in searching for the answers to questions like this, our research brought us to two possible reasons. One answer is long and historical, while the other is short and simple. We'd like to share both with you nonetheless.
Long Answer (The Boring Reason)
The long answer takes us all the way back to the early 1800s, just a few years after the end of the Revolutionary War. During these early years in America’s history, the Fourth of July was a heavily celebrated holiday. To celebrate, entire towns would gather together and have massive public dinners to commemorate the founding of America. Particularly in the American South, these public dinners were feasts, often featuring entire pigs and even oxen roasted over an open flame.
As the success of these “barbecues” continued, they became further ingrained in the tradition associated with the Fourth of July. In the mid 1800s, Fourth of July celebrations had a very set procedure. Townspeople would meet in the center of town, then march to the county courthouse, where there would be an opening prayer, followed by a reading of the Declaration of Independence. After this, all would join together and sing patriotic songs, until a speaker would give a speech on the greatness of America. Following the speech, all were released to a nearby outdoor eating area where a massive barbecue awaited.
As the tradition of barbecuing on the Fourth of July continued, the public aspect of the celebration began to disappear. As more and more Americans moved from the country and into cities and suburbs, Fourth of July barbecues became the more individual tradition that we know them to be today. And thus, we carry on the tradition of our forefathers by grilling burgers and hotdogs, not for entire towns, but for friends and family.
Short Answer (The Actual Reason)
The short answer is much more straightforward:
America is the greatest country on the planet, and barbecue is the greatest food on the planet.
It’s as simple as that.