What is Barbecuing? Types & Tips to Make It Better

What is Barbecuing?

Barbecuing is a cooking method that originated from the English word “barbecue”. It involves cooking food with live fire, typically using low heat and slow cooking.

Whole chickens, turkeys, and cuts of meat like ribs and shoulder are often used in this process. These types of meat are tougher and require the low, gradual heat of a barbecue or slow cooker to make them tender.

Barbecuing involves both direct and indirect heating, making it a popular method for outdoor cooking.

Key Takeaways 

  • Barbecuing involves cooking food with live fire, typically using low heat and slow cooking, making it a popular method for outdoor cooking.
  • Barbecued meats have a lower fat content, producing healthier meals with decreased bad cholesterol levels.
  • The intense, savory flavor of good barbecue is unmatched, and before serving, meat is frequently further seasoned with rubs, spice blends, and sauces.
  • In many cultures around the world, barbecuing is a preferred method of preparing meat and poultry, with regional variations in seasonings, sauces, and mops.
  • There are three types of barbecuing: direct cooking method, indirect cooking method, and cooking with wood chips in a smoke environment.
  • To make barbecuing better, clean the grill first, don’t move the food, and don’t flatten or squeeze meats.

Understanding Barbecuing

Understanding Barbecuing

There’s nothing quite like the rich and savory taste of a good barbecue.

Unlike grilling, which involves fast-cooking food over an open flame, barbecuing requires a slow and steady approach, cooking meat cuts slowly over indirect heat.

Even the toughest of meats can transform into succulent tenderness after hours of cooking over a wood, charcoal, or gas flame.

The fire infuses the meat with a deep, smoky flavor that elevates it to new heights.

To add even more flavor, many barbecued meats are seasoned with a variety of rubs, spice blends, sauces, or mops before being served.

Barbecue has a long history and is a popular method of preparing meat and poultry in many cultures around the world.

The term “barbecue” is believed to have originated from the Arawak language of the Caribbean, with the Spanish invaders adopting the technique and naming it barbacoa.

Barbecue has regional variations, especially in the Southern and Midwestern parts of the USA, where the types of seasonings, sauces, and mops used can vary significantly.

In Australia, it’s referred to as a “barby,” while South Africans light up a “braai.” In Brazil, it’s known as churrasco, and Argentinians have perfected the art of the Asado.

Although barbecue is often associated with American cuisine, it’s enjoyed all around the world.

In India, a tandoor is used for barbecue cooking, while Asian-style barbecue can involve quick-cooking thinly sliced meat and seafood on a hot grill or slow-roasting methods, such as Chinese char siu, Yakitori from Japan, or bulgogi from South Korea.

In summary, barbecue is a delicious and versatile cooking technique that has a rich and diverse history. No matter where you are in the world, you’re sure to find a unique take on this beloved culinary tradition.

Types of Barbecuing

Direct Cooking Method

The most popular method is direct cooking or grilling directly over a heat source.

Steaks, kebabs, and fish fillets can all be prepared using this method. Not all foods are suitable for it.

You May Also Like:  Using Tea in Indian Cuisine: Things to Know

Large cuts of meat and sugary marinades have the propensity to burn before the food is fully cooked.

To achieve the best results in these circumstances, the indirect cooking method should be used.

An Indirect Method of Cooking

This method of cooking is incredibly simple. The grill is either lit with the fire burning on one side and the food cooking on the other, or the grill is lit with coals banked on both sides and the food cooking in the center.

Without using this method, the outside of a whole chicken, leg of lamb, or another substantial cut of meat will burn before the interior has a chance to fully cook.

Only one of the two burners on your gas grill should be lit. If your barbecue has three burners, turn on two of them—the front and back or left and right—and cook the food in the middle.

Closing the barbecue lid is crucial. This method of cooking is a component of the recent barbecue trend in food. Cooking indirectly takes longer and requires less concentration.

Cooking with Wood Chips in a Smoke Environment

To impart the aroma of a wood fire to food, try using different kinds of wood chips. Mesquite and hickory are the most common varieties. They are conveniently available in big boxes or hardware stores.

It is a flavourful choice for red meat, poultry, and fish, and it is excellent for pork. Not all types of wood are suggested for grilling.

Some are capable of emitting toxic substances. If you are unsure of the source of the wood, avoid using it.

Tips To Make Barbecuing Better 

Clean the Grill First 

Keep tonight’s chicken breasts from tasting fishy-charred due to the salmon skin from last night. In between uses, clean the grates with a strong metal brush. (When the grill is hot, this is simplest).

Don’t Move the Food

For most meats, one flip is ideal; in general, the fewer times you flip something, the better. When it’s time to flip the meat, it will naturally unstick from the grill if it’s stuck to it.

Don’t Flatten or Squeeze Meats 

Yes, I am aware that the sizzling flame that results from squishing a burger with a spatula is alluring. But did you know that fat is what ignites that flame explosion? The juicy flavor is what fat is, by the way. Avoid pressing meat because doing so will remove its flavor and moisture.

Have a Spray Bottle on Hand for Emergencies

When it comes to cooking, flames are not your food’s best friend. If your food is exposed to flames, it can lead to charring and an unpleasant taste.

However, you can easily prevent flare-ups without compromising the heat by keeping a spray bottle of water nearby. This simple tool will allow you to quickly dampen any flare-ups that occur during cooking.

With this trick, you can ensure that your food is cooked to perfection and has a delicious taste. So, keep a spray bottle of water on hand the next time you cook, and you’ll be able to prevent any unwanted charring or burning of your food.

Almost Slightly Undercook Your Food 

Food continues to cook after it has been removed from the grill due to a phenomenon called carryover cooking. Plan accordingly because the temperature of the food will rise by about five degrees after it has been removed from the grill.

You Can Use These Tools to Develop Into a True Barbecue Expert

If you’re an aspiring barbecue chef, there are a few tools that can help take your skills to the next level.

You May Also Like:  Exploring Versatile Uses of Rice Flour in Indian Cuisine

To handle heavier cuts of meat, a pair of tongs with a long handle is essential. The extended length keeps your arms safely away from the grill, reducing the risk of burns.

A temperature probe is also a valuable investment for outdoor cooking, as it can be difficult to determine when meat is cooked to perfection.

Creating your own herb brush is another easy way to add more flavor to your dishes. Simply tie your preferred herbs to the end of a wooden spoon using twine, and brush your meats with olive oil before grilling.

For grilling flat fish, a grilling basket can be a game-changer. Simply secure the fish inside the basket and place it on the grill for a quick and even cook.

Finally, a pair of grilling gloves made from heat-resistant material is a must-have for any barbecue enthusiast. They provide protection from flames while allowing you to easily move hot pans, food, and coals.

The Key is Preparation

Calculating how much meat you need is essential. A good place to start is with one lamb skewer, one sausage, and one hamburger per person.

The leftovers make for a simple midweek meal if you do over-cater. In contrast to chicken, steak, and chops, burgers and fish don’t typically keep well.

If you’re serving food to children, sausages and skewers are a great idea. So that people can eat as little or as much as they like after the sausages are cooked, chop them up into smaller pieces.

Particularly popular with kids are Chicken, Lemon, Garlic, and Thyme sausages. The importance of sides and condiments cannot be overstated. Cheeses, pies, cold cuts, salads, and cold cuts are always a hit.

Put Some Marinade on the Meat 

By marinating your cuts, you can add flavor instantly. The best way to ensure that the flavors permeate the meat is to marinate it overnight.

Before the meat goes on the grill, make sure to shake off any extra marinade, especially if it contains oil.

Too much sauce increases the risk of burning or flare-up, which gives the meat that bitter, smoky flavor.

Avoid Using the Refrigerator’s Chill

It will take time to lose its chill and warm up to room temperature if you remove the raw meat or fish from the refrigerator at least 20 minutes before grilling.

The meat runs the risk of burning on the outside before it is thoroughly cooked through if it is too cold when it goes on the grill.

Eating chicken, sausages, or any other pork product requires special attention to this.

To ensure that your meat is as rare or well-done as you prefer it, it is still crucial to do this when cooking beef burgers and steaks.

Avoid Over-charring to Avoid Completely Cooking Bone-in Meat 

Nobody wants to eat meat with deep black char on it. To get a nice crust on thicker, bone-in meats like chicken thighs or legs, cook them first on high heat before switching to lower, indirect heat.

As a result, the meat will be able to cook through more slowly without getting too brown on the outside.

Alternatively, think about pre-cooking the chicken for 15 to 20 minutes in the oven before grilling.


The charcoal you choose is crucial. If you are cooking a variety of meat, lump charcoal is a good option because it lights quickly and burns for about an hour.

You May Also Like:  Puti Fish (Pool Barb) in Bengali & Indian Cooking

Briquettes, on the other hand, can maintain a consistent temperature for up to three hours, making them perfect for grilling roasting joints.

Depending on the type of tree, charcoal can impart different flavors to the meat.

While orange wood coal has a rich marmalade flavor that goes particularly well with duck, chicken, and turkey, charcoal made from oak trees can emit subtle smoky caramel tones.

Soak oak wood chips in water and then place them on the hot coals. The steam that the water produces gives the meat a delicious oaky flavor.

Hickory wood chips and this go together especially well with pork. For a sweeter flavor, try apple wood.

Analyze the Meat

One that should go without saying but is nonetheless crucial, especially when cooking for a large crowd.

Meat cooked on a barbecue can be difficult to determine by sight alone.

Consider purchasing a temperature probe or making sure to cut into chicken and pork to see if the juices run clear.

Meat Should be Rested

It’s wise to let the meat rest for a few minutes after it’s finished cooking to your preferences.

This makes it more tender and enables it to reabsorb its juices. On the top rack of the BBQ, away from the flames, on a warmed, foil-covered tray. You should rest it longer the deeper the cut.

As a backup, have your cooking utensils ready. Finally, expect the weather to change for you.

Have your griddle pans and oven ready to finish off any items that get caught in an unexpected downpour, considering how temperamental weather can be.

Uses of Barbecuing in Indian Cuisine 

Most Indian foods were cooked over charcoal ovens called Chulas before the introduction of European and American cooking equipment.

A chula is a brick cube with holes on top to serve as burners and a hole in the front to feed the fire.

The art of building a chula requires meticulous plastering to create the proper draft and a hot, even source of heat.

The plastering and preparation of the oven were traditionally done by women because it was thought to be an art form requiring great skill.

However, the brickwork was traditionally completed by a manservant or bricklayer. Using a pan or cooking directly over the flame are both options available to the cook when using a Chula.

Kebabs are a particular favorite of Indian cooks due to the round shape of the holes in the top and generally a lack of a cooking grate.

This technique is used to prepare a wide variety of meats and vegetables.


Barbecue cooking can be much more adventurous than simply tossing meat and vegetables on the grill, despite what many people believe.

Most meals that can be prepared indoors can also be prepared outdoors with a few modifications to make them suitable for outdoor cooking.

There are many Barbecue recipes available, whether you want to prepare a large gourmet banquet or something that can be prepared very quickly.

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Scroll to Top