BBQ - Just What is it?
Well in the purest sense it is not just meat thrown on the grill, even if slathered in sauce. Real barbecue is cooked over low indirect heat over a wood fire for a long time, as many as 12-18 hours depending on the cut of meat and temperature. Smoking woods such as hickory, oak, mesquite, and apple are often used for distinct flavor. Grilling is the term for meat cooked fast over high heat and direct flame, such as hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken and steak - traditional backyard fair. There are a number of cooking methods for producing what Americans call BBQ.
In the South, its not barbecue unless its hog, and in some regions, it has to be whole hog. But in Tennessee, Texas, and especially KC which is a melting pot for BBQ, folks will take issue with this line of thinking. Regardless of your region or preference, there is a lot of great food to be had and a lot of variety be it meats, cooking styles, rubs, or sauces. If you enjoy it, it really doesn't matter what the formal definition is!
With that said, barbeque is also an event, a culture, and what you make of it! It is a tie to our past since the days of prehistory and related to our survival as a species. We have always enjoyed gathering around fire, cooking under the blue sky, or moon and stars, sharing food, drink and tall tales. Most importantly, during these gatherings, we share a communion among those dear to us. So, let's expand the term barbeque to include all things cooked and enjoyed outdoors. Whether it be appetizers, meat, seafood, veggies, bread, or dessert (we can't forget the s'mores), we love to Do the Q!