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What is "real BBQ"?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thought this was interesting after reading a thread debating this topic. 



Revisionists have tried to shrink the definition of the word to mean barbecue cooked in steel closed "pits" similar to the method practiced at modern barbecue competitions, which they call "real" barbecue and which they claim is low and slow, cooked with indirect heat and smoke. In practice, many of them are now cooking with high temperatures and wrapping the meat in foil, which is another culinary method entirely called braising.

When they speak of "real barbecue" they are thinking of the popular style of low and slow smoke roasting as developed in the American South. Alas, they are forgetting that barbecue is practiced around the world in different ways, and that the majority of the public just doesn't agree with them.



post #2 of 23

Personally I think it is a pointless argument as the term Barbecue has meant different things over time, by geographic region and by country. Try this...Barbecue : Any food cooked over or by a heat source than produces great Smokey flavor along with heat and brings Joy to all that take part in the event and consumption of said wonderful food...


BBQ was one thing in the Southern US but you would be throwing fists with Dad or just about any Man in the Northeast during the 50's, 60's and 70's if you told them their 4th of July Family gathering with copious amounts of Burgers, Dogs and Steaks on the Weber, wasn't a Barbecue!


I don't care what they call it...I'm with Andrew Zimmern...If it looks Good...Eat It!...JJ



post #3 of 23

If you ask 99% of the people over here in the UK what is meant by BBQ they will tell you how they light a pack of instant light charcoal in a £20 BBQ they bought from B&Q (our equivalent to Home Depot) in order to incinerate the outside of some burgers and hot dogs after having first consumed several beers.


I usually use the term Real BBQ to differentiate the smoker cooked BBQ method from grilling and whether it is technically accurate or not to the purists, "real BBQ" to me can be "hot roast" or "low and slow". It needs to be a process where the food is lovingly tendered, treated with respect and cooked in an enclosed charcoal pit or oven - brick or steel. I apologise in advance to anyone on here who is committed to cooking with gas but I personally do not include that in the category of real BBQ. Gas BBQs are the outdoor equivalent of the old hostess trolley - you would not cook in them but they are fine to keep things warm.


I think I better duck now before I get lynched :-) 

post #4 of 23

I think that a lot of people don't separate the BBQ cuisine concept from an event type "Barbecue". it's pretty much interchangeable in most conversations. in chicago the terms "cookout" and "barbecue" mean the same thing to most, further confusing it.

post #5 of 23

Ditto Jimmy and Dewetha


here's my take on "Q"


post #6 of 23

Ok...That covers the opinions of a bunch of Yankees and a Brit...What are the Southern Boys going to say!?!...icon_lol.gif...JJ

post #7 of 23
i am of the fallowing of a true bbq is not meat meets fire but the friends and family that gather i know im not really giving much to the debate just had to add how i feel
post #8 of 23
Originally Posted by beaummiler View Post

i am of the fallowing of a true bbq is not meat meets fire but the friends and family that gather i know im not really giving much to the debate just had to add how i feel

I agree totally . If someone says " wanna go to a BBQ?" I am there. It could be a burnt weenie sandwich or a whole hog hoe down. It is all good! yahoo.gif

post #9 of 23

BBQ is slow and low. Anything else done on the grill is.....well, grillin'. Both events require barley pop

post #10 of 23

I'll be objectively subjective!


BBQ means slow'n'low over smoke.


Hot'n'fast grilling is not BBQ.

Crockpot pulled pork is not BBQ.

Slow cooking in a conventional oven is not BBQ.

Shrimp broiled in seasoned butter sauce is not BBQ Shrimp, that is Shrimp Scampi.

post #11 of 23

I grew up believing that BBQ is the type of cooking that grew out of the practice of digging a hole, or "Pit", in the ground and building a fire in it, then slow-roasting large hunks of meat over the fire pit.  Isn't this how our Smokers/Cookers came to be named "Pits"?


I agree with others that the your perspective of the term "BBQ" is regional.  I'm a southern boy, so my BBQ background reflects that perspective.



Edited by SeenRed - 4/20/13 at 7:16pm
post #12 of 23
I think the word first was "barbacoa" and had to do with the way indigenous peoples cooked food when Europeans first came to the islands. I remember hearing the etymology in a TV show but don't recall the details. Guess I'll have to visit the dogpile.

OK - try reading this on wikipedia.
post #13 of 23
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by rabbithutch View Post

I think the word first was "barbacoa" and had to do with the way indigenous peoples cooked food when Europeans first came to the islands. I remember hearing the etymology in a TV show but don't recall the details. Guess I'll have to visit the dogpile.

OK - try reading this on wikipedia.

It's in the link i posted. 

post #14 of 23

BBQ...is a state of mind brothers and sisters!!!


It's relaxing with friends and family around the fire cooking up the worlds most delicious meats and vegetables and serve it up with delectable sauces and sides.  


Mostly it is enjoying the company of friends and family before, during, and after the cooking is done!


Just the opinion of a good ol' Southern boy!



post #15 of 23

I'm certainly no authority on the formal definition of "BBQ", but to me it means closely monitoring both the apparatus (my smoker) and the product (whatever unfortunate animal part currently in the apparatus) closely while being willingly excused by the boss (my lovely bride of 35 years) from performing less desirable chores (mowing, fixing things, etc). The only requirement on my part is to insure that the resulting burnt offering pleases the aforementioned "boss".

Edited by wjordan52 - 4/21/13 at 6:06am
post #16 of 23

I'm from the south: born and raised in Texas, and live in Alabama now.   To me, BBQ means cooking indirectly, low and slow, with live coals.  No propane, no pellet poopers, no elec heating elements.  I have eaten great food from those devices and don't disrespect guys who cook on them.  It's just not for me.


On January 1, 1985 the USDA revised the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 9, Chapter III, Part 319, Subpart C, Section 319.80. It now says "Barbecued meats, such as product labeled 'Beef Barbecue' or 'Barbecued Pork' shall be cooked by the direct action of dry heat resulting from the burning of hard wood or the hot coals therefrom for a sufficient period to assume the usual characteristics of a barbecued article, which include the formation of a brown crust on the surface and the rendering of surface fat. The product may be basted with a sauce during the cooking process. The weight of barbecued meat shall not exceed 70 percent of the weight of the fresh uncooked meat."


KCBS allows pellets but not gas or elec.

post #17 of 23
I belive its pork low and slow over hardwood. Texas came in with the beef after the fact. Yes I cheat all the time with my gosm . But the food is better off my dads wood pit. Love the video. You could be my damm yankey anytime.
post #18 of 23

BBQ is very dependent upon where you live, even within a state. Here in NC there are at least 3 and probably more versions. From vinegar based on the coast to a sweet with a bit of vinegar Lexington style and I would say just sweet here in the mountains. Also chopped (YUK!) and pulled on the coast is a big deal with mostly sliced and pulled here in the mountains with a variety in between. Usually throughout the state, a variety of sweet or vinegar sauces and sliced or chopped or pulled cuts are presented at restaurants. 

Personally I think Lexington style is the best all around. I have lived on the East Coast from Maine to Florida and stayed in KC a few times, but Lexington style sauce with pulled is my favorite bar none. 

Edited by MountainHawg - 4/21/13 at 5:26am
post #19 of 23

Cooked low and slow using hickory and charcoal for the smoke and heat source. That's how we do it here. MountainHawg describes how it is served in these parts which is correct but most use the same method for cooking it.

post #20 of 23

ok, my thoughts are this. I have always been of the OPINION that BBQ required the slathering on of a thick, hearty, and somewhat spicy sauce during the cooking process. The cooking process being over a fire made of wood or wood products, such as charcoal. The type of pit is really not that big of an issue. I do realize that people do refer to the cooking apparatus as being the BBQ. In my mind that is the grill. People began cooking over an open fire many years ago, and after most of the cooking started being done indoors, they would still build a fire pit in order to cook large quantities of meat for large gatherings. I may be wrong, and if I am I will apologize now, but I believe the slathering on of the fore mentioned sauce during cooking actually came out of Texas and Kansas City. Both were large cattle areas and the sauce was used to try and keep the meat from drying out over an open fire. Personally, I call the cooking process a "cook out", meaning of course "cooking outdoors", BBQ is the final product of whatever kind of meat you choose smothered in BBQ sauce and enjoyed. Of course thinking on this just now, it makes me wonder; Why is it called BBQ sauce and not "cook out sauce"?? I have often said that in this day and time we have actually twisted the definitions of many words and terms that we use. This is one that we may never truly get a definitive answer on, simply because it can mean so many things to different people, and different regions. Whatever it means to you the end result should always be the same....................Great food, and great times with all the guests who came!!  ( and maybe a little ribbing to the ones that  didn't show up on all that they missedth_crybaby2.gif)  

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