Apr 10, 2019 The Custom BBQ Gift Set: Great Ideas to Fire Up the Company Grill
The oldest form of cuisine known to civilization is fresh meat roasted over open flames. That’s right, 300,000 years ago our ancestors were tossing a rack of fallow deer onto the fire. The allure of char-grilled food still exists.
There are charcoal grills, gas grills, and electric barbeques. There are weekenders and serious pitmaster contenders. There are low and slow artisans and fast fire grillmasters.
Nothing welcomes warm weather like setting up the BBQ. A custom BBQ gift set is a perfect way to thank clients and employees with something useful. A well-chosen set of tools is a beautiful and tasteful way to promote your business.
Want to learn more? Read on.
The History of BBQ
Since the discovery of fire, man has been cooking food over an open flame. However, the delicious invention of BBQ or barbacoa is credited to natives of the New World. A Spanish explorer noted that Caribbean natives cooked their meats on a raised wooden grill over fire in 1526.
The uniquely American traditions of the barbeque as a social event, cooking technique, and flavor were well-established by the time the first laws were passed in the Colony of Virginia. In 1650, the punishment for firing your gun at a BBQ was a harsh day in the stocks.
In the time of George Washington, his diaries note that he hosted a three-day BBQ party. When Abe Lincoln’s parents got married, their wedding reception was a BBQ. Andrew Jackson hosted the first White House BBQ in 1829.
All Barbecues Are Not Created Equal
There are many styles of BBQ. Each kind has its own unique flavors, tools, and meats. Let’s explore the major types.
By far it is the most commonly consumed BBQ-style food in the U.S. Backyard chefs use electric, gas or charcoal grills to quickly sear and cook steaks, hot dogs, burgers and more. This style of BBQ is easy to adapt to local tastes.
A gift of a long-handled spatula to flip burgers or tongs to turn hot dogs is appreciated. Think about a good-quality apron to protect clothing and sturdy heat-proof gloves. Pre-mixed BBQ spices are an easy crowd-pleaser.
For a casual griller, the time from flame-to-table is short. Medium to high heat for a short time is how food is cooked. Most of the flavor comes from marinades or seasonings.
One of the great regional styles of the U.S. is the Texas-style brisket. When you mention BBQ in Texas, you aren’t talking about a quick char on both sides of the meat. What a Texan wants at a BBQ is a hunk of beef brisket cooked very slowly over smoke (up to 18 hours) with a simple seasoning of salt and cracked black pepper.
Done well, brisket is juicy, tender and has a complex smoke flavor. Texas-style meats are basted with a thin glaze to moisten the meat while it smokes. This glaze, or “mop sauce” is secret to every pitmaster, but contains things such as beef stock, Worcestershire, tomato sauce and spices.
Texans prefer to smoke over oak or mesquite wood. They do not tend to serve their meat with sauce. Pitmasters use a barrel smoker or pit to impart flavor to their briskets and ribs.
Going Whole Hog
The Carolinas (North and South) are famous for their love of the pig. Where the war breaks out is over the choice of sauces. In the northeastern part of the area, the whole porker is slowly smoked and served with a bright, peppery vinegar-based sauce.
The northwestern portion prefers to smoke just the shoulder and likes a tomato-based sauce served on the side. South Carolina folks also smoke the whole hog like their cousins to the north. They prefer Carolina Gold sauce, a tomato and mustard-based sauce with a thicker consistency.
Whole hog aficionados often have custom-made barrel smokers or even smoke trailers to efficiently cook a 150 lb porker.
Nothing Beats Kansas City
Kansas City spans two states and all kinds of meats. Sausages, ribs (pork and beef), pork shoulder and beef brisket are enthusiastically embraced. Meat is lovingly slow-smoked over hickory wood for a full flavor.
The true taste of Kansas City is the “burnt ends” of beef brisket. A thick, sweet and tangy sauce allowed to cook with the fatty meats until it forms a crisp crust. The meats are then served with more sauce.
Kansas City’s oldest and most renowned BBQ joints still use outdoor pits to smoke their meats a full 16 hours or more.
Memphis Rubs Ribs
Memphis is deep in pork country. Similar to North Carolina, pork shoulders and ribs are heavily smoked, then coated in a tomato-based sauce. The secret to Memphis-style is in the BBQ rub.
Salt, pepper, sugar and other secret ingredients are part of the pitmaster’s mystery. Dry ribs are coated, then smoked to the perfect bite. The meat should have a bit of resistance and chew, but come off the bone cleanly.
One of the most famous barbecue competitions in the world happens every May in Memphis.
A BBQ Gift Set Is All-American
A BBQ gift set is as multi-cultural as the panoply of BBQ styles. BBQ tools are multi-taskers. You can use them for any style of cooking over coals.
Here are some other BBQ types you might not know about, but really should try.
Alabama Style Sauce
This mayonnaise-based white sauce is mixed to a thick, creamy consistency and served with lightly smoked pork or chicken. The mayonnaise, vinegar, and black pepper is the highlight of a heavenly chopped meat sandwich.
Some cooks might smuggle a bit of horseradish into the sauce, while others eschew spice for a bit of lemon juice.
California’s Santa Maria Tri-Tip
This BBQ beef roast shows it’s Mexican roots. It’s seasoned with garlic, salt, and pepper, then grilled over red oak. Tri-tip is grilled, not slow-smoked. It’s served with a piquant tomato, chile and lime salsa.
For a true experience, enjoy tri-tip as a sandwich or as a popular local charity dinner, served with ranch beans, green salad, and a roll.
Western Kentucky Mutton
Western Kentucky favors an unusual meat. Mutton is a local flavor, usually served with a deep black Worcestershire, allspice and black pepper sauce. The mutton is slow-smoked over hickory wood and basted to enhance the aroma.
Parts of Kentucky prefer “chipped mutton” sandwiches in which is a blend of the outer layers of smoked meat and an equal amount of pulled pork shoulder meat. The hearty smokiness is tempered with a mix of tangy red barbecue sauce.
Melting Pot Madness
Immigrants from all over add their cultural and culinary imprint to the American BBQ experience. After all, a shish kebab is a Middle-Eastern import, hot dogs bear an uncanny resemblance to Vienna wurst and teriyaki marinade is borrowed from Japan.
Fusion food, especially fusion BBQ is on the upswing. Korean BBQ tacos anyone? How about a Chinese-inspired five-spice hotlink sausage? A Peruvian pork sandwich?
BBQ Rubs, Marinades, and Sauces
Making a gift of great BBQ tools is one thing. A super secret recipe for great BBQ is another. While much is made of the perfect meat, smoke and spice combo, there is no agreement as to what that combo is.
The simplest preparation is the Texas Beef Brisket. It is rubbed with a combination of salt and pepper before smoking. Some people include an equal amount of granulated onion and garlic, some chili powder and paprika to the mix.
Memphis dry rib rubs are combinations of salt, sugar, spice, and magic. Depending on the pitmaster, other ingredients might include paprika, garlic, onion, celery salt, cumin or cayenne. The process involves two coats of rub before smoking.
Some meats benefit from a marinade injection before cooking, but many people skip this step. Marinades and sauces benefit from time allowed for flavors to marry. Flavors just can’t penetrate tough cuts of meat without adequate advance planning.
Branded BBQ sauce and hot sauce with the label of your choice are possible gifts for the real BBQ enthusiast.
The Cornbread Wars
Some people hold a special place for their side dishes. Passion around breads (cornbread, biscuits or white bread) or coleslaw are common.
If you are in a Southern state, a barbecue is incomplete without cornbread. Northerners add an egg, flour, and sugar to their cornbread recipes. Many Southerners only have cornmeal, milk, salt and fat in their cornbread.
Serving a sweet, fluffy corn cake to a Southerner at a BBQ may result in threats of secession. The bread of choice for Texas and Kentucky BBQ fans is thickly-sliced white bread. This bread is served plain and is best for mopping up the lovely meat juices.
The Great Coleslaw Debate
Coleslaw is a traditional barbeque accompaniment, however, much like BBQ styles, there is a certain regional bias. The only common variation is that the mix contains cabbage. There are oil and no oil versions.
There are versions with carrots or no carrots. Some dressings are sweet. Some are mustard-based. Quite a few are mayonnaise-based and a minority is vinegar-based.
Lexington-style slaw has a cabbage base and is tossed in a ketchup and vinegar dressing. It’s a very wet mix and should be made at least a day ahead to allow the cabbage to drain away some moisture. Some people put celery seed and bell pepper into their mix.
Moving northward towards Indiana you find mayonnaise and buttermilk dressings. Some recipes call for processing the cabbage and dressing together in a blender and then draining the water for several hours before serving. The recipes might call for poppy seeds or apples for crunch.
There are no right or wrong answers for coleslaw.
BBQ Is Still One of America’s Favorite Foods
A full 7 out of 10 Americans owns a grill or BBQ. Outdoor entertaining is the most popular form of having guests. A useful bbq gift set of tools, sauces, rubs, and recipes is a guaranteed hit.
Customize the gifts with your logo and a short message and you have the chance for multiple impressions over time. A bbq gift set is appropriate for all kinds of cooking over hot coals. It doesn’t matter if you choose burgers or a whole pig.
Americans have several distinctive styles of BBQ cuisine. Chicken, pork, and beef are staples of the smoke circuit. Preparations as sandwiches, sliced, grilled, cured or chopped meat are common.
Sauces, rubs, and treatment define regional styles, although you can find Kansas City, Texas and Carolina styles in almost any city in the U.S. More interesting are the nontraditional fusion foods created by mixing culinary traditions. These are one way that home trends are keeping BBQ culture alive.
Choose the Perfect Gift Set
Feature your company logo and message on your choice of BBQ gift sets. There are several options available in a variety of price ranges. They make excellent sales premiums or thank-you gifts.
You can coordinate aprons, shirts, tents and promotional gifts with one clear message and professional look. Give events and gift occasions a luxurious look even when budgets are tight. We can help you work within your budget and timeline.
Need more ideas for great gifts and promos? Learn about this year’s trends today! Want to talk with us directly? Call, email or chat with us. Our team keeps regular business hours Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Central Standard Time.