There are certain BBQ terms only someone who loves BBQ and the culture will know.
Like everything BBQ has a language all to its own. Let’s talk about some BBQ terms that will keep you in the know when talking BBQ to the most experienced pitmaster or your backyard BBQ buddy.
3 2 1 Method: This is a popular way to cook fall off the bone ribs. Most commonly used with pork ribs, this means you cook for 3 hours with dry rub, 2 hours wrapped in foil and one hour sauced unwrapped. (Grilled Jawn’s 3 2 1 Rib Method.)
Backyard BBQ: This is just what is says. Firing up the grill or the smoker in the backyard. Backyard BBQ is all about your own taste preference and what you and yours like and making the most of your time with your hobby. (Grilled Jawn is all about Backyard BBQ.)
Bark: You know that beautiful, dark, crusty deliciousness you see on the outside of brisket, pulled pork and other BBQ — That’s the bark. (This is also one of the most popular BBQ terms you will hear.)
Bend Test: The bend test is one way to test if your ribs are done. Grab it with a pair of tongs on one end then shake lightly. The rack will bend down and you’ll see the meat starting to break away.
Blue Smoke: This is one of the BBQ terms you have to witness to truly understand. The blue smoke is the fine smoke coming from your smoker when everything is running just right. Faint to the eyes, you will see a blueish hue to the plume. If you can run your rig over time with blue smoke, life is good.
Burnt Ends: Traditionally made from brisket, burnt ends are the trimmed edges that get cut, cubed and served. Today, burnt ends are made with other meats not just brisket. Check out our Pork Belly Burnt Ends recipe.
Competition BBQ: Cooking for judges to meet a certain judging criteria for various meats (cooks.) Kansas City BBQ Society is the biggest competition society, but there are tons of Regional Contests. It takes a certain breed of person to compete, and it’s not for everyone…but it does look like fun. Shout out to all the teams pushing the BBQ envelope.
Deckle: The smaller muscle of the brisket (also referred to as the point), the deckle is a fatty, marbled cut preferred by brisket aficionados.
Dry Rub: BBQ Seasoning that’s applied before the cook. You can rubs from all places that entail all flavors. (Here’s a list of some of our favorite BBQ Rubs.)
Fat Cap: A thick layer of fat between the skin and flesh. Its presence ensures a piece of meat is flavorful and tender. Whether brisket should be cooked with the fat cap up or down is a long-standing debate among pitmasters.
Hot and Fast BBQ: This is when you up the temperature of the pit / grill in order to speed up the cook. The biggest difference you will see between hot and fast and slow and low is the tenderness and the moisture of the cook. Hot and Fast has its place in BBQ, and over the course of time you will learn when to use which method.
Internal Temp: The internal temperature (IT) is the temperature when your choice of meat is done. Various cuts need various ITs to either ensure doneness or food safety. (One of the must know BBQ terms)
Minion Method: This method allows you to cook for hours without having to add new charcoal halfway through your cook. It works by creating a circle around your charcoal grate with around 2kg of Weber Briquettes and then adding between 1 or 2kg of lit briquettes into the middle of the unlit briquettes.
Money Muscle: This choice piece of pork, located high on the shoulder, is moist and flavorful. A its name implies, it often pulls in the loot during competitions.
Mop: A method to sauce your cook. Most often by using an actual mop of all sizes drenched in sauce.
Probe Tender: When you are able to stick your instant read thermometer into your cook and it slide in as if if were going into a stick of butter. Probe tender is the true way to tell whether or not your cook is ready to get pulled. (NOTE: Probe Tender > IT > Time)
SPG: The truest of all BBQ seasoning — Salt, Pepper & Garlic. SPG is the BBQ Rub of choice for Texas BBQ.
Silver Skin: The white layer of fat that is to be trimmed from your meat. Some silver skin is ok to cook with, but it’s always a good idea to trim and excess silver skin or anything dangling from the cut.
Slow and Low BBQ: BBQ cooked at a low temp for a long time. Larger pieces of meat cooked in this way will quite literally fall apart since they are so tender. If you have the time to cook slow and low make sure you have the patience for the time it will take. It will be worth it.
The Snake Method: The snake method works by running a long ring of unlit charcoal briquettes around the outside of your weber. By then placing a few lit briquettes at one end of your “snake” you are able to keep a consistent low temperature for a long period of time as the lit beads gradually light the unlit beads.
Stick Burner: A BBQ Pit / Smoker that relies on charcoal and wood as its heat source. Maintaining a good consistent temperature with a stick burner is a task, but one that is well worth learning.
Texas Crutch: The Texas Crutch is when you wrap your cook in aluminum foil to help it through the stall.
The Stall: When during your cook that IT does not rise for a long duration of time. This quite commonly happens around 160 degrees. (How To Deal With The Stall)
Whole Hog BBQ: Cooks that use every part of the pig from nose to tail. Nothing goes to waste, as a halved hog is thrown over the fire.
This is a good start of BBQ terms to know for your BBQ journey. Over time, the Grilled Jawn Team will continue to add to the list. If you hear someone use BBQ terms you are unfamiliar with — just ask them. As always the more you know about BBQ the better cooks you will have.
Cheers! Happy Smoking.