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"Q" - using the letter instead of the word "barbecue"?

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This seems so silly but any time I see or hear someone use "Q" instead of "barbecue," it sounds like an affectation to me. But I don't travel in those circles so perhaps someone can clue me in. Is "Q" just being super cooler than anything else? :)

(I warned you this was silly!)

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  1. There is no "Q" in barbecue.

    1 Reply
    1. re: chileheadmike

      I'm aware of that :)

    2. I think it's just briefer, not cooler. And kind of no consequence to me.

      2 Replies
      1. re: mcf

        And that may be. But it seems somehow like "Frisco," "LaLa Land," "The Big Apple," etc. That the only people who use those terms don't live there. Does that make sense??? :)

        1. re: c oliver

          I guess, but honestly, I think it's possible to overthing this stuff.

          Just saynzall. :-)

      2. Very Texan. Texans avoid words with 3 or more syllables, including the word syllable.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Veggo

          Veggo, I know you've spent a lot of time here in Texas, but I never here that in SE Texas where I'm from. We never say let's go get some Q or have you tried the Q there. Also, never see it in print. Where I do see it on Chowhound is places that are longing for good BBQ, but lacking quality and depth, specifically the Toronto board and the Northeast, excluding New York City where they have made strides albeit at ridiculous prices.

          1. re: James Cristinian

            Good to know. So maybe a little like the "Frisco" thing. A little bit of wannabe perhaps :)

            1. re: c oliver

              I agree with that.

            2. re: James Cristinian

              Yes, NYC has made incredible strides in its BBQ. But the rents are so high the prices are ludicrous, except for a few places.

            3. re: Veggo

              To be fair, the word 'syllable' has way too many 'bles.

            4. Fingernails on a blackboard.

              10 Replies
              1. re: MGZ

                Oh, praise be! :)

                Now I've never hung out with "pitmasters" and the like but do they use that term?

                1. re: c oliver

                  Way I see it, most guys with callouses on their palms don't shave everyday, and say words, not spell 'em. That bein' said, I'd never order "Q" off a menu, especially when it's part of a salad or a slider, but it's ok to leave a message on your girl's phone that says, "Sweetie, the 'cue should be ready 'round five. Is Momma comin'? And, tell your Sister's man he better not bring that fancy-ass beer again!"

                  After all, cookin' half a hog for more than half a day deserves more credit than some lame Twitter shorthand, no?

                  1. re: MGZ

                    Now that I can agree with! Except I still wouldn't say even "cue." But if someone talks like that all the time - and there's not a darn thing wrong with that - then it doesn't sound 'off.' But when someone mostly speaks the king's English and then drops into that jargon, it just sounds affected. And now that I'm getting into this type of cooking, I want to speak 'correctly.'

                    1. re: c oliver

                      I've seen and heard some serious barbecue folks use 'cue, Q in writing (I may have done this once, though it's def not my style, either) and really, it doesn't bug me the way, say Frisco does, frex.

                      Writing, I think I'll shorten to bbq if I shorten at all, but I don't think bbqers are the most persnickety linguists I've encountered.

                      1. re: mcf

                        And a topic for another thread, is what does the word even mean? I tend to use the words "grilling" or "smoking."

                        1. re: c oliver

                          Yes, that's been under discussion often. As expected, no consensus. :-)

                  2. re: c oliver

                    Yes, I've heard old school smokeheads use the term Q.

                    1. re: chileheadmike

                      JMF said below 'cue not Q but I guess if being said rather than written, one wouldn't know or care :)

                      1. re: c oliver

                        In the immortal words of Grandpa Fred: [Y]ou don't spell it, son, you eat it."

                        1. re: MGZ

                          My grandfather and my mermer on my Aunts in laws

                          Merer " Shit they are coming over to see the baby too"

                          Grandfather " oy just keep em eating and we wont have to talk to them"

                2. But what do they say for quiche? Oh, I forgot. Real men don't eat quiche.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: GH1618

                    Now THAT could be called Q! Just seems kinda faux-folksy. I'll be waiting for JMF to weigh in.

                    1. re: c oliver

                      What's wrong with quiche?

                      'Cue not Q... it's just lazy short talk. Regular ole folks, people in the bizz, whatever, everyone says 'cue. No big deal

                      1. re: JMF

                        Cool. So 'cue' but not 'Q'. Excellent. Now use it in a sentence as they used to say in school :) I can't see myself saying "I'm making 'cue for dinner tonight."

                    2. re: GH1618

                      WRONG- I can't believe that phrase became so viral, damn near everybody likes quiche

                    3. I prefer the abbreviation BBQ instead of just Q. I have another term that irks me. When cooking on a grill and no BBQ sauce is involved it is 'grilling', not barbecuing.

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: ChiliDude

                        That's the way I feel. We rarely use sauce and we call that grilling. For brevity's sake, when written I think BBQ is fine.

                        1. re: ChiliDude

                          I eat my bbq dry, not sauced, but without smoke, it's just grilling to me.

                          1. re: mcf

                            That's been my way of thinking always. I don't barbecue a steak, I grill it. Etc.

                          2. re: ChiliDude

                            I use BBQ also but I'm not clear, does BBQ need sauce to be called BBQ and dry rub is just grilling?

                            1. re: James Cristinian

                              No, dry rub is used before smoking, often applied the night before. Smoking makes it bbq, not sauce, though sauce often features prominently in the process.

                              1. re: mcf

                                Thanks, I was having reading comprehension problems.

                                1. re: James Cristinian

                                  Re-reading, I can see how my punctuation mirrors my speech, but makes litte sense on the page!

                                2. re: mcf

                                  Oh, argh. I thought it was smoking, not barbecuing until you added sauce and then it became barbecue. Sigh :)

                            2. I'm particular about barbecue (real wood fire, low and slow, no foil, membrane (on ribs) ON), but the 'Q' doesn't bother me a bit.

                              9 Replies
                              1. re: ricepad

                                Maybe "traditionalist" might better describe you. I think one can be extremely particular but use varying techniques. I guess I'm kinda particular about words :)

                                1. re: c oliver

                                  Yeah, I've been called traditional about barbecue. I've also been called pedantic about barbecue. I've been called a snob, too. Since it's really all about personal preference, I prefer to live and let live, even over the "Q".

                                  It doesn't matter to me if it's "BBQ", "barbecue", "barbeque", or "Q". If there's thin, wispy blue smoke, I'd really like to be there!

                                  1. re: ricepad

                                    Ah, yes, pedantic. I've described myself that way. On occasion. :)

                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      My wife calls it anal.

                                      1. re: chileheadmike

                                        That's when she's referring to YOU. When referring to herself, I'm sure it's "pedantic" :) I actually think this whole smoking thing (only two under our belts so far) appeals to that part of me. Bob's much more a fly by the seat of the pants person but he's embracing this also. Caught him this morning thumbing through "Smoke & Spice."

                                        1. re: chileheadmike

                                          Yeah, been called that, too. I definitely have my opinions about it, but I try not to be an asshole.

                                          1. re: chileheadmike

                                            Persnickety is a nice way of saying the same thing. :-)

                                            1. re: mcf

                                              You're nicer than my wife.
                                              :)

                                              1. re: chileheadmike

                                                Not really, but thanks for thinking so! My husband is always saying "you used to be NICE!" And I say, "really, WHEN??!"

                                  2. now this could just be one of those urban food ledgends I have been taught but the etymology of the word comes from the French de la barbe a la queue ( and do not trust my spelling on that) meaning roughly chin to tail this got bastarized down south to barbque by those actually cooking.. those that were even worse spellers than me would hear this and write brbq. which then became bbq.

                                    34 Replies
                                    1. re: girloftheworld

                                      And I thought it originated with Southern slaves. I like your version.

                                      1. re: c oliver

                                        French, Southern Slaves, German immigrants, Indians, British copycats, it all depends on the region. This is from Southern Foodways Alliance, a very respected group. http://www.southernfoodways.org/oral-...

                                        I hope girloftheworld will agree the best is at the old central Texas meat markets with the great brisket from German immigrants.

                                        1. re: James Cristinian

                                          I dont know my great grandmothers shabbat dinner brisket was hard to beat

                                          1. re: girloftheworld

                                            Every Jewish bubbe's brisket sets a standard. ;-)

                                            1. re: mcf

                                              I'm sure they're great recipes, are they BBQ'd?

                                              1. re: James Cristinian

                                                na- nothing made in the oven qualifies as barbacue barbque bbq whatever

                                                1. re: girloftheworld

                                                  Ah, but a my Bradley smoker works longer as an oven than a smoker :)

                                        2. re: c oliver

                                          what the slave contributed to the outdoor cooking was the eating of the "throw away" parts the ribs for example there is a great chef who does herritage projects on slavecooking and its influence on Southern cooking named Michael Twitty

                                          1. re: girloftheworld

                                            I grew up in the South in the 50s and 60s and the cooking was highly influenced by the African and Caribbean slaves. Those "throw away" meats. Still love it.

                                            1. re: c oliver

                                              Skirt steaks, fajitas, beef no real such thing as chicken, were given to Mexican ranch hands in South Texas and Northern Mexico. Now the best cut, outside skirt, fetches a premium price and can be difficult to find.

                                              1. re: James Cristinian

                                                the cost of short ribs has gone up in the last two years alone..

                                                1. re: girloftheworld

                                                  Imagine what we've seen in the last ten years!

                                                  1. re: girloftheworld

                                                    Another good example. I like to put four or five in with my crockpot roast for fat and flavor. I don't make that dish as often.

                                          2. re: girloftheworld

                                            This appears to cover the bases:

                                            http://www.amazingribs.com/BBQ_articl...

                                            "The word barbacoa was brought to Europe by Spanish explorers and it first appeared in print in Spain in the 1526. Even though the word originally meant a structure, not the food or the method, it expanded to include both in Europe."

                                            and:

                                            "From a culinary standpoint, barbecue is a cooking method that usually involves fire and smoke."

                                            Summarized:

                                            "Barbecue has many meanings. It is a cooking method, usually involving flame for heat. It often involves smoke for flavor. Barbecue is also a cooking device that produces the flame and smoke. In addition, barbecue is an event, usually festive and outdoors, at which food is barbecued on a barbecue. And finally, barbecue is a flavor produced by cooking with a barbecue, often with a sweet ketchup based sauce called barbecue sauce, on a barbecue at a barbecue event. Unless it is cooked on an electric barbecue, without smoke, with any other sauce you like, and eaten alone indoors."

                                            1. re: mcf

                                              I want to slap the person who wrote that summary! Ridiculous.

                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                c oliver. did you read this? It covers the basics.

                                                http://www.southernfoodways.org/oral-...

                                                1. re: James Cristinian

                                                  I did and really liked it.

                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                    From the foodways:
                                                    "Though the word barbecue devolves from Taino, a pre-Columbian Caribbean language, the native method described by the word — the slow drying of sliced, spiced meat, over a low, smoky fire — seems to have been fairly widespread in the eastern Caribbean at the time of European contact, being practiced in what would become Brazil as well as in what would become Virginia."

                                                    which is consistent with the source you don't like

                                                    "The word barbacoa was brought to Europe by Spanish explorers and it first appeared in print in Spain in the 1526. Even though the word originally meant a structure, not the food or the method, it expanded to include both in Europe."

                                                    Some sources have an old illustration of a supposed Taino bbq structure, a wood and twig platform over a bed of coals, with an assortment of meats on top.

                                                    http://gherkinstomatoes.com/2008/09/1...

                                                    William Dampier,... New Voyage round the World of 1699: “And lay there all night, upon our Borbecu’s, or frames of Sticks, raised about 3 foot from the Ground”. (OED citation)

                                                    'barbacoa' is still used in Mexico, usually referring to pit cooked meat, especially a cows head or mutton/goat.

                                                    But if chauvinistic English speakers insist that the only true 'barbecue' is produced in massive steel smoking machines, more power to them. :)

                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                      Barbacoa is all over South/Southeast Texas. It was in the movie Giant. It even caused Mrs. Benedict, Elizabeth Taylor to faint.

                                                      1. re: James Cristinian

                                                        read a book..called The Enchanted and the woman was visitng from England she quipped " What is this obession with the American South always cooking large animals out of doors?"

                                                        1. re: girloftheworld

                                                          The English cooked large animals indoors...

                                                2. re: c oliver

                                                  Some of the info on that site is just plain wrong. That's the same site that says cold smoking is dangerous and deadly. Other info there is very good. But it takes an educated person to pull the wheat from the chaff since it is all written as if it was law.

                                                  1. re: JMF

                                                    Which site are you talking about?

                                                    1. re: James Cristinian

                                                      Amazingribs.com that mcf has recommended a few times in various posts.

                                                      1. re: JMF

                                                        Thanks, JMF.

                                                    2. re: JMF

                                                      JMF, I have a good bit of medical background so it makes me especially nuts when that kind of advice is tossed out as fact. Crazy, do you hear me?????

                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                        Yes, I agree. I have a bit of medical background as well. I was pre-med in college before deciding to become a psychologist and educator. I was a wilderness EMT and rescue worker back in that previous lifetime as well. That and licensed wilderness guide were how I paid my way through undergrad and 4.5 masters degrees. I practically grew up in a hospital, my mother was first a nurse, then psychologist. My father was chief hospital administrator, then ran the region for the State Health Dept.

                                                        1. re: JMF

                                                          my sister wants to be an wilderness EMT

                                                          1. re: girloftheworld

                                                            It's a pretty crazy job. Boring most of the time, and then BAM! overload.

                                                          2. re: JMF

                                                            Looking forward to a dinner (and drinks!) some day.

                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                              drop me an email some time. address on profile.

                                                  2. re: girloftheworld

                                                    gotw-That's not where the word came from. It came from the word barabicu/barbacoa, a Taino native word from the Caribbean. Although others think that it is an Arawak word, again, natives of the Caribbean.

                                                    1. re: JMF

                                                      what? nooo.. I was mislead by the arrogant french pastry chef? say it isnt so! I knew it sounded kind of urband lengendy a bit too neat and tidy..

                                                      1. re: girloftheworld

                                                        I had an arrogant french chef instructor who told us all kinds of nonsense when I was training at the French Culinary Institute. I told him he was full of it, and he kicked me out of his class and tried to get me kicked out of the school. I ended up taking a challenge exam and didn't have to take any more classes with him.

                                                  3. I agree