What is Barbecue?
Barbecue (also know as: Barbeque, BBQ, Bar-B-Q, Bar-B-Que, Bar-B-Cue, ‘Cue, ‘Que, Barbie, Q). There are at least nine spellings and a dozen or so definitions. It is both a noun, verb, and adjective, but at its core is flavor from smoke. To cook food over/under/beside coals/gas/wood etc. or an open fire. Original origins is highly debated.
BBQ is probably the world’s oldest cooking method and that is the only thing about it that is beyond dispute.
Folks can’t even agree on how it is spelled. Is it Barbecue, Barbeque, Barbaque, BBQ, B-B-Que, Bar-B-Q, Bar-B-Que, or Bar-B-Cue? For the record, linguists and historians generally agree that the proper spelling is barbecue because it is derived from the word barbacoa, and that other spellings are colloquial.
The word barbacoa was brought to Europe by Spanish explorers and it first appeared in print in Spain in the 1526. Even though the word originally meant a structure, not the food or the method, it expanded to include both in Europe.
BBQ cooking, in all its styles, is more popular in the US than anywhere in the world.
Summary of the facts:
Today it is practiced over campfires, indoor fireplaces, open pits, in smokehouses, and today millions of people use a bewildering array of steel devices to produce barbecue with a variety of fuels. Thousands of BBQ restaurants produce BBQ very well indoors, typically on gas fired ovens that burn logs for smoke flavor.
BBQ came to mean the following:
(1) food cooked by a BBQ method
(2) a cooking device
(3) an event at which BBQ is cooked
(4) a flavor that is similar to sweet ketchup-based BBQ sauce.
That is the way the word is commonly used by most people. The fact is that, to most Americans, cooking burgers, hot dogs, and steaks is barbecue.
When they speak of real BBQ they are thinking of the popular style of low and slow smoke roasting as developed in the American South. In fact, they are speaking of Charlie’s BBQ.
BBQ is an event, usually festive and outdoors, at which food is barbecued on a BBQ. And finally, barbecue is a flavor produced by cooking with a BBQ, often with a special sauce called barbecue sauce, on a barbecue at a barbecue event.
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