BBQ Glossary

If you’re new to grilling, or even if you’re not, the lingo can get a bit overwhelming at times. We’re committed to helping you throughout your grilling journey – from beginner to master. To help you along, we’ve put together a terminology guide that will familiarize you with the special lingo of outdoor cooking.


BBQ, Bar-B-Q, Barbecue, Barbeque – A noun, and also a verb. It doesn’t matter how you spell it, just go out and do it.  To cook food over/under/beside coals/gas/wood etc. or an open fire. Original origins highly debated.


Bark - The crunchy outer layer formed on meat from a combination of rub, the Maillard reaction (which makes meat brown) and smoke. Very delicious!!! Can also be referred to as the crust.


Black & Blue – A steak that is grilled super fast on a crazy hot grill. The outside is charred black and the inside is very rare (a.k.a. blue).


Blind Box - A Styrofoam container in which you turn in your entries at a BBQ competition blind judging contest. The term “blind” is used because the judges don’t know who made the entry.


Boston Butt - A cut from the upper portion of the pork shoulder. Can be bone-in or boneless. It’s most commonly used to make pulled pork.


Brine - Can be either wet or dry. It’s a combination of salt/sugar/spices with or without a liquid. Brines are used to retain moisture in meat.


Briquette - Compressed charcoal.


Brisket point or flat – A beef brisket has two muscles – the point and the flat. The point is the fattier end of a brisket. It can also be referred to as the deckle. The flat is the larger of the two muscles and has less fat. It is ideal for slicing.


Burnt ends – Cubes of smoked brisket usually made from the point. After a brisket is smoked, the point can be removed, chopped into cubes, tossed with additional rub and sauce, and returned to the cooker.


Chub – I use this when referring to a section of sausage or bologna. I placed a “chub” of bologna on the grill.


Chimney – A useful metal cylinder to light charcoal using newspaper or other fuel sources.


Dip – A thin BBQ sauce used to mop meat, usually vinegar based.


Direct cooking - Any grilling that takes place directly over the flames.


Flashback – A flashback can occur in your cooker when there is quick combustion and the vents have been closed. Venting needs to occur to avoid this dangerous situation.


FBA - Florida BBQ Association


Grill Topper - Any pan that has holes or perforations to cook smaller items that may fall through your grill grates.


Grilling – Direct grilling over a heat source. You grill burgers. You do not grill Boston butts. You barbeque Boston butts.


Hot guts - Refers to sausages packed in natural casings. The term originated in Elgin, Texas.


IBCA - International Barbeque Cookers Association


Indirect cooking - A method to cook foods away from the heat source.  You can achieve this by banking charcoal to one side or, alternatively on a gas grill, leaving one of the grates off.


Jaccard - A multi-pronged tool used to tenderize meat.


KCBS – The Kansas City Barbeque Society – the largest organization of BBQ people in the world.


Lump Charcoal – Charcoal that has no added fillers. Lump tends to burn hotter and has less ash.


Marinade - A liquid in which to submerge foods, thereby adding flavor and sometimes helping to tenderize meat.


Membrane - A thin layer of membrane (a.k.a. pleura) that is on the bone side of ribs. It should be removed to produce better results.  The membrane can become tough and can prevent the rub from being absorbed into the meat.


MBN - Memphis Barbecue Network


Mop - A thin sauce that is applied to meats during the cooking process.


Planking - Using wood planks to impart extra flavor to food. Planks are commonly used for many types of fish.


PNWBA - Pacific Northwest Barbecue Association


Rub - A combination of salt/sugar/spices/herbs that is applied to food prior to grilling or barbecuing.


Searing – Browning meat over high heat to form a tasty crust (bark) on the outside. Searing does not seal in juices.


Shigging - Entering another person’s competition barbecue site with the sole intent of stealing their methods.


Shiner - When a rack of ribs has been trimmed too close to the bones. The bones appear and “shine” through the meat. Avoid buying ribs with shiners as they will break apart easily and have been aggressively trimmed.


Slather - A wet rub or mustard applied to food.


Smoke ring - The pink ring around the outside of meat. Nitrates and smoke can cause this coloring. Basically, it’s a chemical reaction between smoke and meat. It adds no additional flavor.


Spatchcock - A term that refers to the method of removing the backbone from poultry so that it lays flat.  It can also be called butterflying a chicken.


St. Louis Cut Ribs - This is a method of trimming a rack of spare ribs so that the shape is rectangular and straight. The skirt meat on the bone side of the ribs is often removed as well.


Texas Crutch – Also known as foiling, a method of foiling ribs with a liquid and/or additional flavorings during the barbecue process to expedite the cooking process and tenderize the meat.

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