What is a BBQ?

What is a BBQ?

Here we go with the ultimate summer debate! What is a BBQ?

Well, before anyone starts arguing, let's get into the history.
The English word "barbecue" and its cognates in other languages come from the Spanish word barbacoa. Etymologists believe this to be derived from barabicu found in the language of the Arawak people of the Caribbean and the Timucua people of Florida; it has entered some European languages in the form of barbacoa. The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) traces the word to Haiti and translates it as a "framework of sticks set upon posts".
In American English usage, grilling refers to a fast process over high heat while barbecuing refers to a slow process using indirect heat or hot smoke, similar to some forms of roasting. In a typical U.S. home grill, food is cooked on a grate directly over hot charcoal, while in a U.S. barbecue the coals are dispersed to the sides or at a significant distance from the grate. In British usage, barbecuing refers to a fast cooking process done directly over high heat, while grilling refers to cooking under a source of direct, moderate-to-high heat—known in the United States as broiling.

Is it a grill, or a broil?

So here we have a discord, our friends over the pond in America consider what we call a good old BBQ to be nothing more than grilling, or is that broiling? What Americans call BBQ is actually slow roasting in a smoky environment.
So in the UK, we generally use the term BBQ for pretty much any method of cooking meat outside over something burning, charcoal or wood, direct or indirect, fast or slow, lid or no lid, however in America BBQ means low, slow and indirect and we have to admit, they are rather good at it compared to us. (that was painful 😉)

The 7 methods of fire cooking

Looking at other cultures one of our heroes Francis Mallmann suggests that there are actually 7 methods of cooking meat over fire.
Francis Mallmann was raised in the mountains of Patagonia, trained in the great kitchens of Europe, and returned home to become the top chef in Buenos Aires and the biggest star on South American food television. He knows about cooking meat over fire.
Francis' seven fires (and the title of his best selling book and restaurant) are:
1. Chapa - a cast iron griddle or skillet
2. Little Hell - cooking with fire above and below the food
3. Parilla - basically what's called barbecuing or grilling in the US
4. Horno de Barro - cooking in a wood-fired clay oven
5. Rescoldo - cooking food by burying in hot embers and ashes, this method is also called 'caveman style' or 'dirty BBQ'
6. Asador - cooking whole pigs or lambs affixed to an iron cross that faces a bonfire
7.Caldero - cooking in an iron cauldron or Dutch oven.
So, should we reconsider what we call BBQ and be more precise regarding our use of the word like our friends across the pond or be happy to consider anything cooked outdoors to be BBQ, be it grilled (broiled) or one of Francis's seven, or not?
Go easy on each other commenters..