Summer is obviously the official season for barbecuing and there are lots of new grills, advanced technologies and fancy tools help us create the perfect meal. But step back to a time when barbecuing involved just fire and meat. Bring the whole family and join likeminded travelers at these cookouts where centuries-old techniques and traditions grill up delicious food rooted in ritual, where good company and beautiful Oregon scenery combine for a perfect meal.

Situated on a dirt road first defined by cattle ranchers over a century ago (now known as the Oregon Outback Scenic Byway), the Cowboy Dinner Tree is the original barbecue. Ranchers pushing cattle from Eastern Oregon towns would stop here at the halfway point to rest and eat dinner. Today you can dine on the same beans and home-baked bread, though a farmhouse now sits here in replace of the chuck wagon. Meat lovers should bring their appetite for the fire-grilled steaks (almost two pounds and aged for tenderness) and whole chickens. Though visitors today use motor-powered vehicles to get here and you sit at a table rather than an upturned log, the experience is just about the same as it was years ago: A truly authentic Western frontier affair complete with a hearty meal and good company.

Head out to Depoe Bay on the Oregon Coast September 18th for the annual Indian Style Salmon Bake. Emulating traditional Native American cooking, over 2,000 pounds of freshly caught salmon will be slow roasted on alder stakes. Enjoy delicious salmon and watch as local tribes perform with traditional dances and song.

Dutch ovens, the thick and cast iron (usually) pots that have been used for outdoor cooking vessels for hundreds of years take center stage at the Pioneer Challenge Dutch Oven Cook-off in Eagle Creek on September 11. Hundreds of participants come with their creative concoctions—from hamburger soufflé to homemade bread and decadent desserts—in hopes of winning first prize. Attendants are winners already; they get to taste all the delicious treats!

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