How many times have you heard the phrase, “We are having a BBQ this weekend..” I know I have said some semblance of those words from time to time, and usually I wasn’t referring to a roasting of meat in a slow smoker. So, I wondered, what is the exact definition of BBQ?
According to the dictionary, BBQ is short for barbecue & refers to “a food dish consisting of a whole (or good part) of an animal (usually pig) slow cooked over a smoldering fire for a long period of time.” This description does not seem to fit my regular habits of Summer food preparation. So what is the exact term for what the average American family does on any warm-weather holiday or event?
Precisely, the act referred to by definition is grilling out. This definition says, “Grilling is a form of cooking that involves dry heat applied to the surface of food, commonly from above or below,” usually on a grill, whether that be gas, charcoal or foreman grill.
So if you live down South, and someone invites you to a BBQ, they are asking if you would like to feast upon yummy ribs, chicken, or pulled-meat of some sort, usually slathered in a BBQ sauce of some sort. The low temperature and the resulting length of time the meat is cooked allows for the food to soak up the smoke and rub flavors, and to become very tender and moist.
Cooking or grilling out involves anything from chicken to steak to veggies or fruit. And of course don’t forget about hot dogs – one of the most classically American things you can chow down on.
Personally, I love both versions of cooking, in equally delectable ways, and despite my best intentions, don’t see myself correcting my lingo for outdoor food preparation! But at least I know the difference between the two now!