Where it all comes from: Deconstructing the BBQ

July 7, 2008

The long holiday weekend may be over but summer is just getting started. Most Americans either attended a BBQ or will be sometime in the next few months. And while certain foods are standard fare, there is hardly a thought as to where they all came from. Here’s some info that may give you a little more perspective:

More than 1 in 4
The chance that the hot dogs and pork sausages consumed at your BBQ originated in Iowa. The Hawkeye State was home to 17.6 million market hogs and pigs on March 1, 2008. This represents more than one-fourth of the nation’s total. North Carolina (9 million) and Minnesota (6.7 million) were the runners-up.

6.8 billion pounds
Total production of cattle and calves in Texas in 2007. Chances are good that the beef hot dogs, steaks and burgers on your backyard grill came from the Lone Star State, which accounted for about one-sixth of the nation’s total production. And if the beef did not come from Texas, it very well may have come from Nebraska (4.7 billion pounds) or Kansas (4.1 billion pounds).

Number of states in which the revenue from broiler chickens was $1 billion or greater between December 2006 and November 2007. There is a good chance that one of these states — Georgia, Arkansas, North Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi or Texas — is the source of your barbecued chicken.

About 4 in 10
The odds that your side dish of baked beans originated from North Dakota, which produced 42 percent of the nation’s dry, edible beans in 2007. How about that yummy corn on the cob? Florida, California, Georgia and New York together accounted for 60 percent of the sweet corn produced nationally in 2007.

Pass the Potato Salad
More than half (52 percent) of the nation’s spuds were produced in Idaho or Washington state in 2007.

More than three-fourths
Amount of the nation’s head lettuce production in 2007 that came from California. This lettuce may end up in your salad or on your burger.

Nearly 3 in 4
The chances that the fresh (hopefully not contaminated!) tomatoes in your salad came from Florida or California, which combined accounted for 73 percent of U.S. tomato production last year. The ketchup on your burger or hot dog probably came from California, which accounted for 96 percent of processed tomato production in 2007.

The state that led the nation in watermelon production last year (1 billion pounds). Other leading producers of this popular summer dessert included California, Florida and Texas, each with more than 400 million pounds.

More than 74 million
Number of Americans who said they have taken part in a barbecue during the previous year.
Source: Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2008, Table 1213 http://www.census.gov/prod/www/statistical-abstract.html

Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service http://www.nass.usda.gov


One Response to “Where it all comes from: Deconstructing the BBQ”

  1. pobept Says:

    Grin, Grandpa born 1894, once told me BBQ was developed during the cattle trail drives with all its strong flavored spices, to cover up the smell and flavor of rancid meat!
    Just what he told me, but without refrigeration or ice, feeding a bunch of hungry men and boys, it makes since and for a good story..

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