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Barbecue, a Haitian Tradition

The word barbecue comes from the Spanish translation of the native Haitian word barbacoa. It seems that the Spaniards, who arrived just a few years after Columbus landed in North America in 1492, found the Haitian natives roasting animal meat over a raised metal framework. A fire was built underneath, and the flames and smoke would rise and envelop the animal meat, giving it flavor.

Oddly enough, the same framework was used for sleeping because it was a means of protection against animals that might attack in the middle of the night.

The Haitian natives called this device a barbacoa. In typical fashion, the word was corrupted into barbecue, the name by which it is still used today.


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