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Labor Day: Summer’s Unofficial Send-off

According to the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association (HPBA), there is no definitive history about how the word “barbecue” originated – or why it’s sometimes used as a noun, verb, or adjective. Some say the Spaniards get the credit for the word, derived from their “barbacoa” which is an American-Indian word for the framework of green wood on which foods were placed for cooking over hot coals. Others think the French were responsible, offering the explanation that when the Caribbean pirates arrived on our Southern shores, they cooked animals on a spit-like devise that ran from “whiskers to tail” or “de barbe a` queue.”

Most Americans consider Labor Day a uniquely American experience, but in all reality, Labor Day has its origins in Canada. Stemming from 1870’s labor disputes in Toronto, in 1872 a parade was held in support of a strike against the 58 hour workweek. As a result, 24 union leaders who were responsible for organizing the event were arrested under anti-union laws.

Many events can inspire a good barbecue to take place, from tailgating to birthday parties, or even just a gorgeous weekend, but summer holidays almost require them!

Many are familiar with our Labor Day holiday as being celebrated on the first Monday in September. It is a celebration of the American labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of workers. To children around our country, it is the unofficial end to their summer and to grill masters all over, it means one last salute to the summer cookout. All in all, a fun-filled long weekend is ahead for us all so let’s talk turkey… and steak and veggie kabobs!

Labor Day is one of the top three most popular holidays for grilling. The top four most popular foods to cook on the grill are, in order, burgers, steak, hot dogs, and chicken. Looking for more fun facts?  HPBA states that the side dishes most commonly prepared on the grill are, in order, corn, potatoes, and other vegetables. Lastly, the most popular flavors of barbecue sauce are hickory, followed by mesquite, honey, and then spicy-hot.

Oregon was the first state to declare Labor Day an official holiday. In February of 1887, Oregon was the first in the Union to pass law making Labor Day and officially recognized holiday. It was Grover Cleveland who made Labor Day a national holiday. Making Labor Day an official national holiday as part of his political campaign, in 1894, President Grover Cleveland made good on his promise, and signed a law making Labor Day an officially recognized U.S. holiday.

If your plans for the upcoming holiday include grilling at a barbecue (as it should!) be sure to grab some of the above favorites and review our grilling safety tips. Find the closest propane cylinder exchange or refill to you here so you can be prepared to enjoy your delicious holiday barbecue.

 

 

 

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