These BBQ Stats Will Make You Conquer the Cookout

A “grills gone wild” special.

 

People have been barbecuing in the Americas since long before the United States existed. In 1526, Spanish explorer Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés used the word “barbacoa” to describe frames that South American tribes used to cook their meat. Two and a half centuries later, in 1773, George Washington—who had a large smokehouse at Mount Vernon—wrote of hosting “a Barbicue of my own giving at Accatinck.”

Now, of course, a lot of us are doing it.

These are not good days to be a farm animal—particularly a farm animal whose parts end up as hot dogs.

Speaking of which, just in case you think you might ever have a shot at winning Coney Island’s annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, consider the competition:

Fun stuff. But there are environmental and health costs to our grilling habits. The Environmental Protection Agency offers these equivalents of the amount of carbon that would be released into the atmosphere if we all fired up our ‘cues on July Fourth.

Holy cow meat! On the other hand, you’ve got to cook the stuff sufficiently. According to the US Department of Agriculture, one out of every four hamburgers turns brown before it’s been cooked to a safe internal temperature.

Then again—so many conundrums!—cooked meat contributes to our cancer risk. The good news is that Portuguese and Spanish researchers have found that soaking pork chops in beer before grilling them reduces carcinogens in the cooked meat. Which is also good news because it means…more beer. But here are the sobering facts.

Fires and the grim reaper aren’t the only nasty things in store this holiday weekend.

So quit chewing on your grill brush. And finally, as every American should know, being this stupid is downright un-American:

 

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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