Talking Texas Grilling vs. Barbeque

Yes, there is a difference. 

         When it’s summer in Texas and families are taking vacation, pools are packed with children, and the smell of grills lingers in the summer air. On weekends during the summer you can find friends and family gathered in the backyard, at the lake, or at a park, gathered around the grill.

         Most Texans love their cooked meat and will eat pretty much anything that comes off the grill. However, you cannot invite a Texan over “for a barbeque” and have just hot dogs on the grill. When you invite most Texans over for barbeque, it is assumed the flesh of a deceased animal is being smoked for several hours. Why are some Texans so particular with cooking meat on a grill?

         There are several differences in barbequing and grilling that many non-Texans do not understand. Grilling is typically done with charcoal or gas, high heat, and significantly less cooking time. Steak, vegetables, hamburgers, hotdogs, and chicken are foods one would grill. The only exception is chicken, which can be barbequed.

         Barbeque is a tradition that has be passed on for generations. Barbequing is an all-day event that brings together families and communities. The pit is started early in the morning, folks gather around with their morning coffee and begin loading the pit with wood, either mesquite or pecan. Masses of meat are loaded into the smoky pit where it will sit until the outside is blackened and charred. Depending on the protein, cooking times vary but usually briskets are cooked for 12-14 hours. Halfway through the smoking process, the brisket or ribs are wrapped in foil. This keeps them from drying out and the flavor can be amazing.

         Barbequing is more than cooking delicious meat; it is a time that people spend together. In smaller towns, whole communities come together. In a small town I know, men sit around discussing the weather and tell stories while children run outside and women prepare the sides for the feast that will take place. This tradition holds a special place in the hearts of many Texans, and that is why you do not invite a Texan over “for a barbeque” when you are in fact just grilling.

© 2014 Frontier Texas/ Rebecca Kinnison