Monday, June 2, 2008

Ramblings: BBQ Nomenclature

BBQ Nomenclature

Like most niche hobbies, BBQ has a language that is employed by its enthusiasts. These terms, labels and phrasings are often as foreign as ancient Hittite to the outsider. In general, that’s not a problem. If you aren’t part of that clique, you have no need to familiarize yourself the terminology. Unfortunately, it may seem a bit byzantine for the person moving from occasional griller to BBQ hobbyist.

We are going to have a series of articles that we will entitle our BBQ Lexicon. These articles will have roughly six BBQ specific terms each and will provide a basic definition for each. While serious enthusiasts will have these terms as part of their existing vocabulary, we hope that this Lexicon will help those that are new to the hobby and will foster their enthusiasm.

Each installment will attempt to have at least one entry dealing with equipment and one dealing with a type of food.

Let’s start at the beginning:

– Cooking over a high heat, usually over open flames. Best suited for steaks, burgers and the like.

BBQ – Cooking at a low heat for a long time. BBQ is usually prepared using wood based fuels and is cooked using indirect heat (see below).

Indirect Heat – The use of heat that is not directly exposed to the food. Devices for providing indirect heat include welded plates in offset smokers that conduct the heat and smoke away from the food to something as simple as arraying the heating source (such as coals) on one end of the grill and the food on the other.

ABT – A jalapeƱo pepper that has been cored, stuffed with a mixture (usually cream cheese based), wrapped in bacon and cooked in a smoker for a considerable amount of time. The variety of ABT styles is staggering when you consider how simple the basic recipe is. The heat is reduced by the removal of the seeds and the core, allowing even the more delicate palettes to enjoy this dish.

Fatty – A sausage that has been removed from it’s casing, stuffed with other ingredients (such as cheese or hard boiled eggs), seasoned and smoked.

Offset Smoker
– Offset smokers are found in the ‘cost effective’ and the expensive variety. The smokers found in most chains and retail for under $250.00 and are usually simple affairs that require more attention than higher end versions (as you might expect). These smokers usually have two barrel shaped areas, one that holds the food and one that holds the fuel. The area holding the fuel is the smaller of the two and is often called the firebox. The two barrels are horizontal, lending these smokers a visual that is similar to the typical backyard grill.


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