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Barbecue


Barbecue (also barbeque, abbreviated BBQ or Bar-B-Que or diminuted chiefly in Australia to barbie) is a method and apparatus for cooking food, often meat, with the heat and hot gases of a fire, smoking wood, or hot coals of charcoal and may include application of a vinegar or tomato-based sauce to the meat. The term as a noun can refer to foods cooked by this method, to the cooker itself, or to a party that includes such food. The term is also used as a verb for the act of cooking food in this manner. Barbecue is usually cooked in an outdoor environment heated by the smoke of wood or charcoal, or with propane and similar gases. Restaurant barbecue may be cooked in large brick or metal ovens specially designed for that purpose.

Barbecue has numerous regional variations in many parts of the world. Notably, in the South and Midwest of the U.S., practitioners consider barbecue to include only relatively indirect methods of cooking, with the more direct high-heat methods to be called grilling.

For those who distinguish between the terms, grilling is almost always a fast process over high heat and barbecue is almost always a slow process using indirect heat and/or hot smoke. For example, in a typical home grill, grilled foods are cooked on a grate directly over hot charcoal; while in barbecuing, the coals are dispersed to the sides or at significant distance from the grate. Alternately, an apparatus called a smoker with a separate fire box may be used. Hot smoke is drawn past the meat by convection for very slow cooking. This is essentially how barbecue is cooked in most genuine "barbecue" restaurants, but nevertheless many consider this to be a distinct cooking process called smoking.

The slower methods of cooking break down the collagen in meat and tenderize tougher cuts for easier eating.

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