When most people think of cooking they imagine a pristine kitchen with people in white coats and silly looking hats poring over hot pots, pans, and ovens to make delights that send your mouth on a journey of taste. They think of pastries and cakes that come about as the byproduct of the combination of some seemingly nonsensical ingredients and a special alchemy to turn them into towers of sponge and cream. Certainly the last thing that most people think of as 'cooking' is to toss a slab of meat onto a hot barbecue grill/smoker over an open fire and scorch it within an inch of its existence.
But for some people, that is exactly what cooking is. No fancy little pastries or delicately arranged plates for these people. Give them good honest food that has been cooked over an open fire or on a barbecue grill/smoker and they are the happiest they can ever be. Some people may turn up their noses at the very thought of being so 'crude' but when you consider the history behind barbecuing meat you cannot help but realize that perhaps the fancy chefs may have it wrong.
While our ancestors may not have had a barbecue grill/smoker in their caves, mud huts, or other simple dwelling; what they did have was fire. Fire was the first and probably one of the most important inventions that humanity ever discovered. It not only protected them from the wild animals that roamed the darkness, kept them warm when it was cold and wet, and brought light into the dark places; it also allowed them to cook their food for the first time. It may seem a simple thing but consider for a moment the difference between a raw piece of meat and a cooked one. For starters the raw piece of meat may be filled with random parasites the living animal may have been harboring that could now infest the poor person eating. Secondly, cooked meat is much easier to digest and saves the body a lot of time during digestion. It was a win-win situation.
People were cooking over open flames for a long time. It was a while before permanent settlements developed and the concept of the stove or oven was introduced. Even then, it was only when electricity and gas became prevalent and safe to use in the latter part of the second millennium that stoves and ovens that do not use fire were installed into homes (and gas stoves and ovens still use fire to some degree). Barbecue grill/smokers are just a herald to the early days of cooking and the barbecue is a tribute to our ancestors. Just because the cuisine of a barbecue is not daintily placed on a plate or made in the classic tradition does not mean it is any less a form of cooking. There is sometimes more talent and skill needed to not burn something on an open flame than it is on stove where everything can be controlled.