Friday, May 23, 2014

A Lesson in Southern: Cookout VS. Barbecue

Hello friends. Happy Friday!

Today, a quick public service announcement as we begin the unofficial first weekend in the summer. Today, I'd like to quickly go over the difference between a cookout and a barbecue.

Now, I should preface this by saying my explanations are only true for the South. I know they are defined and named differently in other parts of the country.

A cookout is when you cook outside. The food usually consists of hamburgers and hot dogs. Occasionallly, people will throw in some chicken or vegetables in there...but a hamburgers and hot dogs outdoor meal cooked on a grill is called a cookout. It is also the name of a delicious restaurant that only those of us in the Carolinas are privy to. If you've never had a Cookout barbecue sandwich or a Cookout should just plan a trip to one. :)

A barbecue usually means one of two things in the South: it's the name of the actual meat (pulled pork most commonly) OR it's what you do when you cook said pulled pork (or sometimes beef brisket or barbecued chicken) on an outdoor grill or smoker. So, it's both a verb and a noun. Barbecues in the South are usually bigger deals than cookouts because they require more than just a grill. People go all out for these things with crazy huge smokers and stuff. Also, barbecues are big fundraisers down here for churches and other organizations. If you ever hear the term "pig-pickin" it's basically a barbecue where they roast/smoke the entire pig (head and body and all) and then people "pick" out the meat from the pig carcass. Kind of disgusting if you ask me. But I digress...

So, cookout is more what you do in your own backyard with burgers. A barbecue usually implies something a lot bigger and is mostly pork. Make sense? If you're still confused, I've created a little diagram/guide to help you figure out which one you're doing. :D

What do you call an outdoor meal cooked on a grill? Or do you just say "grilling out"? This is a relatively new term I've heard recently.

Either way, I hope you have a chance to indulge in some delicious grilled food this weekend!


  1. totally confused.
    i know there is some controversy over the terminology.

    out here we call it all BBQ. :)

  2. In New England....its a Cookout!


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