Barbecue can be found in many forms all across the US. There are regional differences, with devotees hailing each style as supreme, from the Carolinas and Tennessee to Texas and Oklahoma. Along with jazz and blues, barbecue is one of the few things that truly has its roots in the United States.
The most pervasive barbecue style is certainly the common backyard variety, with 75% of US homeowners owning BBQs. Year round, these enthusiasts can be the king of their grills, delighting friends and family during holidays, sporting events, or just for the simple love of the meat. While grilling and smoking meat is a universal practice worldwide, barbecue culture as it exists in the US, with all its related techniques, lingos, styles, and equipment, is uniquely American.
It is no surprise then that July 4th, America’s Independence Day, has the BBQ at the heart of its celebration rituals.
In recent years, this cornerstone of American life has slowly been making its way to Israel, where the simple charcoal grilling of meat is colloquially known as “al ha’eish” — “on-the-fire.” American immigrants Eytan White, Ben Sack and Rachel Schonwald are looking to broaden that scope, by bringing the diversity of American BBQ culture to the Holy Land.
This coming Wednesday July 4th, Israel BBQ (www.IsraelBBQ.com) will be hosting a festive “all-you-can-eat/drink” public street party powered by Coleman barbecue grills in partnership with the Times Of Israel and the Dancing Camel Brewery.
In the same way that Israel BBQ looks to expand American grill culture around the country, the Dancing Camel was founded in 2005 by American immigrant David Cohen as Israel’s first microbrewery with a similar mission, to bring American beer culture with him on aliyah.
Eytan White, originally from New York, made aliyah as a lone soldier and is the co-founder and head chef of Israel BBQ. Eytan has been working to expand American eating traditions in Israel for some time, having formerly owned the popular WINGS restaurant, serving American-style Buffalo wings on Herzl Street in Tel Aviv. With hot sauce in his DNA, Eytan will also be running a mega spicy wing eating competition spectacle at the Tel Aviv July 4th BBQ.
When asked why American immigrants in Israel still celebrate Independence Day, co-founder and head grill master Ben Sack, originally from Texas, said, “The Fourth of July isn’t about America as a country as much as it is about celebrating the American core values of freedom and democracy. That is why we can passionately honor the Fourth while in Israel. We think the Fourth is something people all over the world from any nationality can honor, by grilling lots of fine meat for friends and family.”
With a lot of fanfare surrounding the recent developments in the US-Israel relationship, many Israelis may be extra excited to celebrate July 4th this year, but co-founder Rachel Schonwald originally from Oklahoma said, “Americans do not celebrate July 4th for the love of any specific politicians, political parties or policies.” Rather, “we celebrate America and American culture around a BBQ because both have the ability to transcend politics and bring people of all backgrounds together.”
Whatever your reason for wanting to attend Israel’s largest public July 4th celebration, we look forward to seeing you all there.
For tickets: https://TelAvivJuly4th.