Zeke Freeman
Written by Zeke Freeman

Grilling with Honey: An American Tradition


Few activities evoke American leisure time more than grilling, but can Americans lay claim to inventing the technique? In a word, no. Grilling, when the term is used loosely, dates back to shortly after the discovery of fire by our ancient ancestors—some 500,000 to one million years ago, well before Dad started flipping burgers in the backyard.

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In the centuries since, grilling techniques have evolved considerably. Ancient Greeks introduced trays and griddles to the process, allowing meat skewers to take their rightful place above the coals, while 19th century Americans made grilling synonymous with a newly popular recreational activity: camping. In the United States the practice didn't move out of the wilderness and into our backyards until after World War II, when suburbs swelled with people looking to enjoy their new private green space. 

Honey has gone hand in hand with backyard grilling ever since. OK, fine, we may view the world through amber-colored glasses, but there's no doubt the American sweet tooth has bolstered honey's popularity since those early days. Just one example: The Big Boy Barbecue Book published in 1957 includes a recipe to marinate pineapple in honey before placing on the grill.

Get your grill on

Before long honey popped up in every course of a grilled meal. Honey grilled chicken became a mainstay entree, honey grilled vegetables filled out the sides, and honey grilled peaches made for a sweet end to a summer feast. All of this is not to mention the ever-popular cousin of grilling: honey barbecue. Add honey to your best ketchup-and-Worcestershire concoction and everyone will be licking their fingers in no time.

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With all of these uses for honey, we find it difficult to choose a favorite. But something about seafood—from salmon to shrimp to sea bass—screams summer living. So with that, we'll leave you with our current favorite grill recipe: Grilled Scallops with Summer Salsa. Give it a whirl to see how citrus, seafood, and Star Thistle Honey combine to create the taste of summer.

How do you enjoy grilling with honey? Let us know in the comments below!

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Topics: Raw Honey, Entertaining, Home Chef, Bee Trivia