Encyclopedia > Barbecuing

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Barbecuing is cooking food with indirect heat and smoke, usually over an outdoor open flame of charcoal or natural gas. Barbecuing should not be confused with grilling which is cooking using direct heat.

With direct heat grilling, the food is placed directly above the flame or source of heat. With indirect heat barbecuing, the food is off to the side and almost always under a cover, frequently with added smoke for additional flavor. Direct grilling is rapid cooking at a high temperature, while indirect barbecuing is much slower at a low temperature.

The barbecue chef's motto: "Low and slow is the way to go."

For example, in a typical home grill with two separately controlled burners, grilled foods are placed over both burners, while if barbecuing, one burner is turned off and the food is placed over the cold burner and heated from the side. The meat is turned several times to ensure complete cooking.

This method of cooking breaks down the collagen in meat and turns tougher cuts into easy eating.

In Australia and the United States, barbecue or barbeque is also a general term for an outdoor celebration or gathering. The grill is often treated as a male province.

Barbecue is traditional food in the Southern United States with many different regional variations. Typically meat is covered with barbecue sauce which can be tomato or vinegar based. Vinegar-base sauce is typical of Southern barbecue while tomato-based sauce is Western style.

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