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Derrick Riches

What Does Barbecue Mean?

By September 11, 2013

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We've been over it dozens of times, but it is still worth talking about. The word "Barbecue" might just be one of the most abused words in the language. For some it's a piece of equipment, like a barbecue grill. For others it is a flavor, like barbecue chips or barbecue sauce. Still others maintain that it is an event. Well the real truth about language is that the meaning of a word is what most people say it is. If one of these meanings takes hold that will ultimately be the really, true meaning of Barbecue. So to see where we stand this weeks question is:

POLL: What does "barbecue" mean to you?
1) A Type of Food
2) An Event, Like a Cookout
3) A Flavor, Like "Barbecue" Sauce
4) A Piece of Cooking Equipment, Like a Grill
5) A Process of Cooking
6) All of the Above
7) Other (Please Specify in the Comments)

Photo 2010 Derrick Riches, licensed to About.com, Inc.


August 27, 2008 at 11:31 pm
(1) john willis says:

it depends as to whether you are using the word as a noun , an adjective or ??
it can be a noun if you use it tio mean something–meat– that has been subjected to the process often referred to as barbecueing, in which case it is a verb.
he time, the place, the person, and the ??? are the true basis as to what is meant by the word.
in my part of the south it meant a piece of meat, large in size the had been barbecue4d (cooked) over live coals for a periopd of from 7 or 8 up to 12 or 15 hours and constantly basted with a sauce during the period of cooking , said sauce containing no form of tomato or like product.
when this process is completed there is no necessity for any form of the so-called barbecue saucefound in the store or whereever.

August 30, 2008 at 12:50 pm
(2) Debb says:

Funny, I never thought about how many different meanings the word “Barbecue” has.
The first thought that comes to my mind when I hear the word is meat cooked or grilled with BBQ sauce. Yummmy!

September 9, 2009 at 2:48 pm
(3) Andrew says:

I think it depends a lot on where you live. In Canada, it means a piece of equipment (grill) or an outdoor event (cookout). In Texas where I lived a few years, it means a type of food.

September 10, 2010 at 9:05 pm
(4) phil perrin says:

For years and years,when I thought of barbeque,I thought of sauced meat cooked on a grill. But since I moved to NC,barbeque means one thing. Chopped or pulled slow smoked pig. My neighbor kills me when he asks what I’m barbequing,when actually I’m grilling!

July 12, 2011 at 4:24 am
(5) Chris says:

I saw something about this on T.V. Apparently the word BBQ (at least the original meaning) was from Germany or something and it means from head to tail. That probably just means you can cook a WHOLE animal on it.

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