What is BBQ? The Top 4 Definitions of “BBQ”- Part 2


By Chef Mick Brown

Courtesy of http://www.BBQCateringConfidential.com (via http://www.BBQRESCUES.com)

This was originally written in 2014 for my big “BBQ Made Easy” Cookbook. Much has happened since then. Hopefully, it will help put ‘All Things BBQ” into better perspective for you. Since my Food Network appearance, and with the growing international popularity of BBQ RESCUES!, this is the perfect time for an Update. And Yes, that Cookbook Project is officially back on track. Stay Tuned…

Upscale BBQ Pork Roast I had at La Petite Cour restaurant in Paris, France.

What is BBQ?

Have you ever considered where the phrase “BBQ” comes from? When you think about it, this could one of the World’s Greatest Mysteries. How did the word “BBQ” spread across the planet? Could it be that- among international languages- it is easier to say “BBQ” to describe tasty food? The all-inclusive term is used regionally around the United States, and in countries all over the world. I could write volumes to describe the million different styles of Grilling and Smoking Food. However, the most common ways food considered BBQ is prepared around the world can be put into 4 Simple Categories.

#bbqgrill #puertvallartamexico
Checking out a sidewalk Mixed Grill at a BBQ Restaurant in  Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

 The Top 4 Ways the Word “BBQ” is Used:

1. Seasoned Foods– Many of these come nowhere near a Grill, but are seasoned with Dry Rub mixtures that possess familiar sweet and smoky flavors; i.e. BBQ Potato Chips, Pork Rinds, Sunflower Seeds, etc…

BBQ Seasoned Sweet Potato and Veggie Chips.

2. BBQ Sauces– They come in a wide variety of flavors and colors all over the world. Most are commonly used to coat Grilled or Smoked foods. Many are also added to Broiled, Baked, Slow Cooked and Fried Dishes; or as Condiments (for French Fries, Baked BBQ Chicken. Fried BBQ Chicken Wings, Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork, etc…)

Loved the Texas style Homemade BBQ Sauces at Bodean’s BBQ in London.

3. Grilled Foods– There are a vast array of cooking styles and techniques that people consider Grilling. From using a Griddle, to a Grill Pan, charring food in a Skillet or Wok, Stovetop and Countertop Grilling Devices. Of course, there is plenty of Outdoor Grilling with Open Flame, on a Grill or in a Pit.

#MoroccanGrilledChicken #MomosLondon
Moroccan style Grilled Chicken with Couscous and all the Trimmings we had at Momo’s in London.

4. Smoked Foods– For some people, food isn’t BBQ unless it has been infused with some form of smoke flavor. This can be done with Liquid Smoke, Wood Chips, Wood Chunks or cooked in a Wood Burning Oven, Terrine or Pit.

Smoked Ribs are very popular at The Joint restaurant in New Orleans.

Of course, there are many exceptions. For some reason, when it comes to Vegetable and Seafood dishes, people tend to refer to them as “Grilled” or “Smoked”, as opposed to BBQ. This is true even when they are cooked using the same techniques as the Meats. The popular dish BBQ Shrimp in New Orleans is sautéed in a skillet and served with a pan BBQ Sauce. A big food chain in Korea is called BBQ Chicken. For them, the term “BBQ” stands for “Best of the Best Quality. While Grilled Chicken is on their Menu, the chain is best known for Fried Chicken. Go Figure…

I probably end up eating something from each of the 4 Categories of BBQ at least every week. Sometimes I get the “Quadruple BBQ Crown” all in one day. Feel free to share your Thoughts or Experiences with foods from The List. We’d be especially interested in seeing your BBQ Photos from around the world.

Until next time, Eat and Be Well.


Mick Brown is a Food Blogger/Purveyor based in Los Angeles, with over 30 years BBQ and Grilling experience. Aside from Caterer and Private Grilling Instructor, his passions are creating Easy Grilling Recipes and searching for the World’s Best Flavors. General Manager of Tastee BQ Grilling Co. and the new California Gold BBQ Rubs. In May of 2015, he won Grill Master Champion on Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen on special BBQ episode “Grill or Be Grilled” (Season 8, Episode 3). He also recently appeared on Bravo TV, catering for the Cast of Vanderpump Rules (Season Finale). He is also author of web blogs  The Adventures of Tastee BQ and  BBQ Catering Confidential. His newest project BBQ RESCUES!, includes a Blog Talk Radio Show, Youtube TV Channel and Podcasts on iTunes. Email- Mick@TasteeBQ.com

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