What is BBQ?

by Bryan Coonrod

Labor Day has come and gone and one thing that has stuck in my mind is BBQ, not the delicious mouth watering type that my belly loves so much, but what others call BBQ. All weekend long I saw the social networks ablaze with people posting pictures of their grill. The only problem was that there was no BBQ to be seen in any of these photos, only burgers and hot dogs, steaks and fajitas.

When was the last time you had a barbecued hot dog? The pictures and invites continued through Monday all with the same theme ” Hey we are having a BBQ come on over” only no BBQ was offered.

I attempted to counter the influx of these faux BBQ invites and photos with a statement about what I believe BBQ to be ( brisket, ribs, sausage, pulled pork ) only to be barraged with more offers thoughts from others that BBQ was indeed burgers, hot dogs, steaks etc.. 

Barbecue – A meal or gathering at which meat, fish, or other food is cooked out of doors on a rack over an open fire or on a portable grill.

While there is the old southern debate on what BBQ is whether it be brisket, pork or ribs I begin to wonder how anything cooked on a grill has been generalized as being BBQ, is it advertising, or perhaps from how TV and media depicts?

So this is where the debate begins. Do we as Texans have a different take on BBQ? Was this definition in the dictionary made by someone up North? Should there be a noticeable difference when someone says we are having a barbecue or cookout? I know that I am disappointed to be invited to a BBQ only to be given a hot dog.

For myself burgers, hot dogs, steaks and the like fall into the cookout category. I have never gone to a BBQ joint and ordered a steak, a burger or a hot dog let alone seen it on the menu. So now I will open it up to you the readers of craveDFW…What is your idea of BBQ? I know we have readers from all over the USA, so let’s hear your thoughts.

We can even further discuss this on the next BBQ food tour.


Filed under BBQ, beer, Bryan Coonrod, Burgers, fun with food

2 responses to “What is BBQ?

  1. Nylund

    I grew up outside of Texas and thee definition I used for my first few decades of life covered what you’d call a “cookout.” If invited to someone’s place for a BBQ, I’d totally expect hamburgers and hot dogs cooked on a grill (even a gas one).

    Texas does indeed have a different definition, but it is not unique to Texas. The Carolinas, Memphis, Kansas City, etc. are all both similar to Texas style (in the non-cookout sense), but still quite different. The vehemently anti-sauce stance that some in Texas take would be blasphemous in other states famous for their BBQ. One can easily get into squabbles about what “real” BBQ is. It gets even more complex when you consider non-US takes on BBQ (like things done in the Caribbean.) What you’re referring to would probably best be called, “Texas BBQ” by most of the world, but given that we’re in Texas, simply calling it BBQ is common. But, that doesn’t mean that anything outside of “Texas BBQ” can’t be called BBQ. There are probably even disagreements about what makes something a bbq “pit.”

    But it’s not just BBQ that is ambiguous. A grill can refer to both the outdoor grated metal thing and that big slab of hot metal behind the counter of any greasy spoon diner (think of grilled vegetables vs. grilled cheese). Ambiguity in cooking is everywhere.

    I’m also reminded of the term “hash brown.” To me that means the potato has been shredded, riced, or julienned. I get quite annoyed when my “hash browns” arrive only to see that I’ve been served what I’d call something more like “home fries” (ie, big chunks of potatoes). But, in other parts of the country/world, people would find my definition incorrect.

    Regional variations are cool, both in terms of food and language. The important thing is to enjoy the food, not to get too hung up on definitions.

  2. Awesome post, I have got two Westies myself.

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