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A tradition long loved by the American people, Barbecue, and the grills used to make it have a long history in Tampa, Florida. Originating in the Caribbean and Florida with the Arawak and Timucua people, The method of slow cooking meat on a wooden slab used by the natives spread like wildfire. The practice was adopted by the Spanish settlers and spread with them throughout the new world. While the method remains considerably the same, the BBQ grills used to create these delicious masterpieces have changed dramatically over the years.

The Early Years

Beef steak on grill - Tampa grillThe earliest known form of BBQ Grill used was simply a frame of sticks lifting the meat somewhere around three feet above the fire. Requiring exceptionally long cooking times, the meats were often cooked overnight. These stick frames gradually evolved into what became known as “pit smoking,” where large holes were dug in the ground, a fire built in the hole, with a latticework of sticks supporting the meat.

Cooking in this manner was popularized because of its ability to tenderize the meats and add a distinct flavor. As time passed and technology developed, so did the method of cooking. A divergence began to emerge between Barbecue grills and Barbecue smokers.

The smokers followed the more traditional pit cooking method while adopting a Horno style cooking apparatus. As the pace of life sped up, the smoking method of Barbecue began to decrease in popularity due to its large time requirement and gave way to the rise of the BBQ Grill.

The Industrial Revolution

The search for more efficient uses of time and materials led to all kinds of innovative changes as the 1800s came to a close. The rise of the automobile and the assembly line led to an overabundance of waste. Henry Ford, in an attempt to find a use for wood scraps from his Model T assembly lines, stumbled across what we now call charcoal. Invented in 1897 by Ellsworth B. A. Zwoyer, Henry Ford began producing and selling Briquettes from the scrap wood in his factory (Pop Mech).

The Briquette gave rise to an early form of BBQ Grill, the Open Brazier Grill. Initially used for heat, the open brazier barbeque grill pivoted smoothly to the backyard Barbeque scene. The use of more direct heat, and the ease with which the briquettes burned reduced the time it took to barbeque drastically. But the quality of meat once cooked was also, unfortunately, decreased as well. The open brazier grill often burnt the meat and dried it. Making it tough and tasteless at times. Despite its popularity, a more effective replacement was much needed.

Modern Era

hamburgers on modern grill - Tampa grillThe modern Era of Barbecue Grills in Tampa, Florida, began with the conception of the Weber Grill. In 1952 George Stephen invented the Kettle grill, not far off from a Brazier, but with a lid, and added vents to feed the fire properly. The Weber Grill changed the way the Barbeque Grill performed. The cover trapped in moisture and smoke, bringing out the classic barbecue flavor once more, with the speed of the brazier cooking.

With the perfect combination of speed, ease, and tender flavor, The Weber Grill forged the way for the BBQ Grills of the future. Before long, the Charcoal Briquette gave way to bottled propane, Which had forged the way for the highest quality barbecue grills of the day.

The Propane grill has been the grill of choice for many years for its ease of use and clean-up. The flavor of the meat is terrific upon removal from the grill, and it reduces the time needed to grill once more through the reduction of start-up and clean up times. While still the most popular option of the day by far, propane is slowly giving way to the rise of natural gas grills with their added versatility.

Today the leading Barbecue grills in Tampa Florida are found at Paradise Grills. They combine centuries of experience in Barbecue to create a premium Barbecue experience. All their grills are set up to work on natural gas or propane. Yet come with removable ceramic briquettes for achieving more indirect heating. With smoking, rotisserie, and griddle options, you don’t need to sacrifice flavor for speed anymore.

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