Many people misuse the term barbecue. It has come to be
applied to anything cooked on a grill, or even in the oven if a spicy tomato based sauce
is applied. Barbecue is not a dish, or a cooking device, it is a method of cooking.
There is a distinct difference between grilling and
barbecueing, however. Grilling is done over the direct heat of a fire. The object is to
sear the outside and concentrate the juices on the inside. The grilled flavor is
caused by the searing, or browning, of the outside of the food. The process is similar to
that which forms the brown crust on a loaf of baked bread. Grilling is a healthful method
of cooking because additional oils or fats are seldom used, and as the food cooks the fat
renders out and drips through the cooking grate.
Barbecue on the other hand is the process of cooking meat
at low temperatures for long periods of time. The best definition I have seen comes from
Chris Schlesinger, owner and chef of The East Coast Grill restaurant in Cambridge, MA.
BBQ Pit by David Klose,
A process whereby a large cut of tough meat is cooked
by the smoke of a hardwood fire at low temperatures (210 degrees or less) for a long
period of time, with doneness determined by the meat's tenderness.
Chris Schlesinger, Foreword to Smoke and Spice
It's not difficult
to get a spirited debate started as to whether true BBQ can be cooked on a standard
grill. Of course, for that matter, it's not very difficult to get a heated debate going
about nearly any aspect of BBQ. There are some techniques that can be used to achieve some
pretty admirable results with a standard grill. As for the stuff cooked in the oven, or
the crockpot, soaking in BBQ sauce, it is just plain old baked or stewed meat. It bears no
resemblance to real BBQ whatsoever, so don't kid yourself.
Garry's Home Cookin'
Eat first, ask questions later!
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