From Charcoal to Community: Tracing the Origins of Barbecue Culture

From Charcoal to Community: Tracing the Origins of Barbecue Culture

Have you ever wondered where common words like "charcoal," "barbecue," "briquettes," "steak," and "grill" come from? The origins of these words reveal fascinating insights into the evolution of language and human culture. 

The words "charcoal", "barbecue", "briquettes", "steak" and "grill" are a part of our every day language. Have you ever thought about their origins? Let's trace them as far as we can. We have a surprise word in the end for you as well!



Globaltic Birch Charcoal

The word "charcoal" has its roots in the Old French word "charbon," which in turn comes from the Late Latin word "carbo," meaning "a piece of burning wood or coal."
The Latin word "carbo" itself is believed to have been derived from the Proto-Indo-European root "ker", meaning "heat", "fire".This root has also given rise to words like "ignite", "incendiary", and "char."


Glosado Junior

Globaltic Glosado Junior

The word "barbecue" has a somewhat disputed origin, but the most commonly accepted theory is that it comes from the Taíno word "barbacoa." The Taíno people were indigenous to the Caribbean and Florida regions and used "barbacoa" to describe a framework of sticks set upon posts and used for cooking meat over an open fire.

The term was first recorded in English in the 17th century as "barbecue" and referred to the process of slow-cooking meat over an open flame. Over time, the word evolved to encompass both the cooking method and the social event surrounding it, usually involving large amounts of food and outdoor festivities.



Globaltic Hexagonal Briquettes

The word "briquette" comes from the French word "brique", which means brick. This is because briquettes are small blocks of compressed coal dust, sawdust, or other combustible material that are shaped like bricks.

The word "brique" is ultimately derived from the Latin word "brica", which meant "a tile or a piece of roof." This Latin word was also the origin of the English word "brick," which is a similar building material.

Briquettes have been used as a fuel source for centuries, but it wasn't until the 19th century that they began to be produced on a large scale using industrial methods. In the early 20th century, Henry Ford even started producing briquettes made from sawdust and scrap wood from his automobile factories.


Raw steak

The word "steak" is derived from the Old Norse word "steik", which means "to roast on a spit". The word was later adopted into Middle English as "steik" or "steke", which referred to a large, thick slice of meat or fish that was roasted or broiled.

The root of the Old Norse word "steik" is believed to be "steikja", which means "to stick" or "to pierce", likely referencing the practice of skewering meat onto a spit for roasting.


The word "grill" is derived from the Old French word "gril", which meant a grate or a gridiron. The Old French word, in turn, came from the Latin word "craticula", which meant a small gridiron or a grating.

The Latin root of "grill" is "cratis" which meant a wickerwork or a lattice. This Latin word has also given us the English words "crate", "crater" and "grate" among others.

Bonus: Community

Globaltic Community

The word "community" comes from the Old French word "communité", which in turn comes from the Latin word "communitas." The Latin word was formed from the prefix "com-" which means "together", and "munus", which means "duty" or "obligation". The original sense of the word "communitas" was a sense of obligation or duty shared by a group of people.

Over time, the meaning of the word "community" has evolved to refer to a group of people who share a common geography, interest, culture, or other traits. The UK barbecue community is a strong one and that's why we decided to create our own group of like-minded barbecue enthusiasts. 

Our Facebook Group is where we focus on all the products we do and how our customers produce some magical food. Questions, Advice and Inspiration. With the Grilling ethos of Every Day a Schoolday, if you've not joined our special group yet, you should!

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