The idea of grilling has been around in the Americas since before the colonial era. The idea likely began with the Arawak people who roasted meat on a wooden structure which was called a barbacoa in Spanish. For a long time the word was used to describe the structure on its own rather than the technique of grilling. In time the term developed a whole new meaning, namely the pit style method of cooking which had been used in the Southeastern United States. The primary processes were simply used to slow cook pigs but throughout time and in distinct areas of the country, it became commonly used to cook hamburgers and hotdogs, too.
E. G. Kingsford devised the revolutionary charcoal briquette. He was a family member of Henry Ford and noted that there were a lot of wood scraps being thrown away during production of Fords Model T. Kingsford came up with the idea of establishing a charcoal factory next to the assembly line with the function of selling the charcoal within the Ford name to all the Ford dealerships. After Kingsford passed on, the name of the company was switched to Kingsford Charcoal Co to honor him.
The first hemispherical grill design was created by George Stephen and he named it “Sputnik”. Stephen was a welder who was employed by Weber Brothers Metal Works, a metal manufacturing shop whose priority was melding steel spheres together in order to generate buoys. To help fix the issue of finding ash on his food after he grilled it, he came up with buoy body of the grill. He then fabricated another hemisphere to use as a lid and thus the creation of the Weber grill and later Weber-Stephen Products Co. was born.
William G. Wepfer and Melton Lancaster of Little Rock, Arkansas designed the outdoor gas grill and at the moment they were working for the Arkansas Louisiana Gas Company. Wepfer was a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and as the Director of Marketing, had the duty of finding new ways to stimulate ARKLA residents to purchase natural gas. This gave Wepfer the thought to acquire a basic charcoal grill and redesign it in his garage using natural gas as fuel for the new grill.
About the Author:
Peter Weston is an avid BBQ fan, and a writer for Best of the West charcoal, smoking chunks and bbq flavor sprays. He enjoys fishing, camping and softball, and he especially enjoys outdoor grilling with natural charcoal, avoiding propane grills whenever possible.