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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, equipment and outdoor cookin' . ** Other cooking techniques are welcomed for when your cookin' in the kitchen. Post your hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures, but stay on topic and watch for that hijacking.


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Old 07-26-2015, 11:18 AM   #1
Rusty Kettle
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Default What is Barbecue?

The more I have learned about barbecue the less sure I am of what it really is.
I have heard it all. Barbecue is meat, rubs, and the heat source doesn't matter.
Although, some say it has to be cooked with wood fires or charcoal. Some say gas and pellets are ok and so is electric. Then some say gas is not bbq it is grilling.

I have heard barbecue has sauce. White sauce for Alabama. Ketchup based sauce in KC. Vinegar sauce for the Carolina's. I think some parts even use mustard sauce.

Myself, my sauce is based on reduced pop, ketchup, vinegar, and mustard. I claim it is a bbq sauce and I try to pull from each style to make one awesome bbq sauce and even add red creme soda. I have one go to rub for home cooking.

To make it more confusing what meat is a barbecue meat? Chicken? Brisket? Ribs? Pork? What about ABTs are those barbecue? Fish? Bologna? SPAM? Pork loin? Sausage? Steak? burgers? Hot dogs?
Just to point it out I have smoked hot dogs and burgers and cooked them low and slow. Also, in PA when you say barbecue it means to most gas grills with burgers and hot dogs as the main event. I have cooked everything low and slow and hot and fast.

So what is barbecue? Is it really a defined style of cooking?
Is it a word used to just describe a gathering of people to eat good food cooked outdoors? Does it have to use sauce?

I think barbecue is really an always evolving process that has no real definition. I feel that it is always changing and always evolving and therefore can not be defined. The more I try to define it the more I realize the word barbecue is not a definable word.

I see so many claims about what real barbecue is but it not only changes region to region but person to person.

What do you think?
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Old 07-26-2015, 11:26 AM   #2
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On a personal level, it doesn't really matter to me, as long as I'm happy with my process and results.
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Old 07-26-2015, 11:44 AM   #3
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Ideally direct wood embers, It all boils down to heat + meat + smoke=BBQ However there is a big chunk of the uneducated population that get it from a Gas grill or a crock pot and a Bottle of Kraft original.
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Old 07-26-2015, 11:47 AM   #4
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I had always thought of barbeque as low and slow indirect cooking while grilling was hot and fast direct cooking, but in recent years I've heard people define both styles of cooking as barbecue so I'm not certain either. That being said I think you're laying the ground work for a heated battle to enuse.

One thing I doubt very many would disagree on is the idea that sauce is NOT required for it to be barbecue. I don't know of anyone who would claim Memphis dry ribs aren't barbecue.
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Old 07-26-2015, 12:02 PM   #5
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Ford, Chevy or Dodge? If I call it BBQ then to me it IS BBQ.
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Old 07-26-2015, 12:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AZRaptor View Post
I had always thought of barbeque as low and slow indirect cooking while grilling was hot and fast direct cooking, but in recent years I've heard people define both styles of cooking as barbecue so I'm not certain either. That being said I think you're laying the ground work for a heated battle to enuse.

One thing I doubt very many would disagree on is the idea that sauce is NOT required for it to be barbecue. I don't know of anyone who would claim Memphis dry ribs aren't barbecue.
About the sauce comment I have had someone disagree with me that dry ribs are bbq and have said that it is not bbq without sauce. Interestingly enough he is a transplant from Texas... I really didn't know what to think of that one.

I love dry ribs myself. I think sauce can overpower the flavors easily so no sauce prevents that. I only make sauce for comps and family and friends. I prefer all bbq dry rubs only.
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Old 07-26-2015, 12:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tpope View Post
Ford, Chevy or Dodge? If I call it BBQ then to me it IS BBQ.
Exactly that is what I am trying to say that it can't be defined because everyone defines it differently.
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Old 07-26-2015, 12:14 PM   #8
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Old 07-26-2015, 12:20 PM   #9
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Interesting that most gas grills are called "BBQ grills" and have even heard smokers called the same. It gets even more muddy when you add a "grill" to the firebox of a smoker.
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Old 07-26-2015, 12:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bludawg View Post
Ideally direct wood embers, It all boils down to heat + meat + smoke=BBQ However there is a big chunk of the uneducated population that get it from a Gas grill or a crock pot and a Bottle of Kraft original.
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Old 07-26-2015, 12:42 PM   #11
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BBQ is meat cooked slowly using wood as a heat source. BTW, our "hot and fast" is still relatively low and slow.


Then you get regional differences. For instance. HERE, in NC, bbq MEANS pork cooked slowly using wood/wood product. Everything else is "smoked chicken or smoked brisket or smoked lamb".... ect. Another thing about NC(not sure about other areas) if you see something referred to as "barbecued X" or "barbecue X" such as barbecued chicken. It most likely is something cooked in a crock pot, roasted in the oven, or grilled with BBQ sauce added.


As I'm learning a new language to help me on a coming trip I'm finding that it's a LOT like BBQ. Saying something in one region using the same language can mean or come across completely different in another region of the same country speaking the same language. LOL!
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Old 07-26-2015, 12:44 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rusty Kettle View Post
About the sauce comment I have had someone disagree with me that dry ribs are bbq and have said that it is not bbq without sauce. Interestingly enough he is a transplant from Texas... I really didn't know what to think of that one.
Yeah, we periodically excommunicate the blasphemous. Sounds like one must have taken refuge near you.
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Old 07-26-2015, 12:45 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smoke ninja View Post
That's BBQ, a totally different subject than barbecue.
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Old 07-26-2015, 12:52 PM   #14
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To me, barbecue is the process of using wood as a seasoning. It's not smoking meat, which adding a heavy smoke flavour. It's much more sublime. It's smokey but it isn't. It's a flavour that's a science to learn and an art to master.
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Old 07-26-2015, 12:53 PM   #15
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At one time it was clear what it was but now like many things it's so muddied up with what isn't bbq .
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