What’s The History Behind The Charcoal Grill?

Since before the colonial years in America, people have been grilling food. The idea probably originated with the Arawak people who roasted meat on a wooden structure that was referred to as a barbacoa in Spanish. For quite a while the phrase was used to describe the structure on its own rather than the process of grilling.

Throughout time, the name went on to mean the pit style format of cooking being utilized in Southeastern areas of America. It was originally an operation employed to slow cook hogs, but as various methods of food preparation were developed, local variations became commonplace with the addition of hamburgers and hot dogs being later additions to the menu.

E. G. Kingsford developed the modern charcoal briquette. Kingford was related to Henry Ford and discovered there were tons of wood scraps being discarded throughout the manufacturing of the Model T. Kingsford developed the idea of creating a charcoal manufacturing facility next to the assembly line with the aim of selling the charcoal under the Ford name to all the Ford dealerships. After Kingsford passed on, the name of the company was switched to Kingsford Charcoal Co to respect him.

George Stephen is responsible for the style and creation of the hemispherical grill layout which his friends and neighbors jokingly referred to as “Sputnik”. Stephen was a welder employed by Weber Brothers Metal Works, a metal manufacturing shop whose main concern was melding steel spheres together in order to make buoys.

To help resolve the situation of finding ash on his food after he barbequed it, he created the buoy body of the grill. He then fabricated another hemisphere to use as a lid and thus the coming of the Weber grill and later Weber-Stephen Products Co. was born.

William G. Wepfer and Melton Lancaster of Little Rock, Arkansas were the inventors of the outdoor gas grill. Wepfer was a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and as the Director of Marketing, had the responsibility of finding new ways to inspire ARKLA residents to purchase natural gas. This gave Wepfer the theory to acquire a basic charcoal grill and modernize it in his garage area using natural gas as fuel for the new grill.

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