Barbecue (also barbeque, BBQ, bar-B-Q and barbie) is a method and apparatus for char grilling food in the hot smoke of a wood fire, usually charcoal fuelled. In the United States, to grill is to cook in this manner quickly, while barbecue is typically a much slower method utilizing less heat than grilling, attended to over an extended period of several hours. The term as a noun can refer to the meat, the cooking apparatus itself (the "barbecue grill" or simply "barbecue") or to the party that includes such food or such preparation methods. The term as an adjective can refer to foods cooked by this method. The term is also used as a verb for the act of cooking food in this manner. Barbecue is usually done in an outdoor environment by cooking and smoking the meat over wood or charcoal. 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.

Most etymologists believe that barbecue derives from the word barabicu found in the language of the Taino people of the Caribbean and the Timucua of Florida, and entered European languages in the form barbacoa. The word translates as "sacred fire pit."[1] The word describes a grill for cooking meat, consisting of a wooden platform resting on sticks. Traditional barbacoa involves digging a hole in the ground and placing some meat (usually a whole goat) with a pot underneath it, so that the juices can make a hearty broth. It is then covered with maguey leaves and coal and set alight. The cooking process takes a few hours. It has been suggested that both the word and cooking technique migrated out of the Caribbean and into other languages and cultures, with the word (barbacoa) moving from Caribbean dialects into Spanish, then Portuguese, French, and English. The Oxford English Dictionary cites the first recorded use of the word in the English language as a verb in 1661, in Edmund Hickeringill's Jamaca Viewed: "Some are slain, And their flesh forthwith Barbacu'd and eat." It also appears as a verb in the published writings of John Lederer, following his travels in the American southeast in 1672.[2] The first known use of the word as a noun was in 1697 by the British buccaneer William Dampier. In his New Voyage Round the World, Dampier writes: And lay there all night, upon our Borbecu's, or frames of Sticks, raised about 3-foot (0.91 m) from the Ground.[citation needed] Samuel Johnson's 1756 dictionary gave the following definitions:[3] "To Barbecue – a term for dressing a whole hog" (attestation to Pope) "Barbecue – a hog dressed whole" While the standard modern English spelling of the word is barbecue, local variations like barbeque and truncations such as bar-b-q or bbq may also be found.[4] The spelling barbeque is given in Merriam-Webster OnLine as a variant spelling,[5] while the Oxford English Dictionary states that barbecue is "often misspelled as barbeque".[6] In the southeastern United States, the word barbecue is used predominantly as a noun referring to roast pork, while in the southwestern states, cuts of beef are often cooked.[7] The word barbecue has attracted several inaccurate origins from folk etymology. An often-repeated claim is that the word is derived from the French language. The story goes that French visitors to the Caribbean saw a goat being cooked whole and described the method as barbe a queue, meaning "from beard to tail". The French word for barbecue is also barbecue, and the "beard to tail" explanation is regarded as false by most language experts. The only merit is that it relies on the similar sound of the words, a feature common in folk-etymology explanations.[8] Another claim states that the word BBQ came from the time when roadhouses and beer joints with pool tables advertised "Bar, Beer and Cues". According to this tale, the phrase was shortened over time to BBCue, then BBQ.[9] The related term buccaneer is derived from the Arawak word buccan, a wooden frame for smoking meat, hence the French word boucane and the name boucanier for hunters who used such frames to smoke meat from feral cattle and pigs on Hispaniola (now Haiti and the Dominican Republic).[10] British Asian style halal barbecue including chicken kebabs, marinated chicken wings, sweetcorn and assortment of vegetables. In British usage, barbecuing refers to a fast cooking process directly over high heat, while grilling refers to cooking under a source of direct, high heat—known in the United States and Canada as broiling. In American English usage, however, grilling refers to a fast process over high heat, while barbecuing refers to a slow process using indirect heat and/or hot smoke (very similar to some forms of roasting). For example, in a typical U.S. home grill, food is cooked on a grate directly over hot charcoal, while in a U.S. barbecue, the coals are dispersed to the sides or at significant distance from the grate. Its South American versions are the southern Brazilian churrasco and the Argentine asado. Alternatively, 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 U.S. "barbecue" restaurants, but nevertheless, many consider this to be a distinct cooking process called hot smoking.