bar·​be·​cue | \ ˈbär-bi-ˌkyü How to pronounce barbecue (audio) \
barbecued; barbecuing; barbecues

Definition of barbecue

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to roast or broil (food, such as meat) on a rack or revolving spit over or before a source of heat (such as hot coals or a gas flame) barbecuing chicken for dinner
2 : to prepare (food, such as beef, pork, or chicken) by seasoning (as with a marinade, a barbecue sauce, or a rub) and cooking usually slowly and with exposure to low heat and to smoke Barbecuing brisket begins late Thursday night so they can start serving at noon Friday.— Carlos Frías To be really barbecued, ribs must roast slowly over hardwood, which cooks them with a combination of heat and smoke.— Dennis R. Getto I prepared it with a rub rather than a marinade or barbecue sauce. It was the first time I'd barbecued meat seasoned with a rub, and it was very easy.— Margaret Prouse
3 informal : to subject (someone) to harsh criticism or ridicule Republicans now talk of winning 15 to 20 new seats in November, a prospect that has the faithful and the financiers wanting to barbecue Clinton for at least a few more weeks.— Nancy Gibbs et al.

intransitive verb

: to barbecue food barbecuing on a grill There are no shortcuts in barbecuing here. The brisket, for example, is slow smoked with a dry rub for 14 to 16 hours …— Constance Snow


variants: or less commonly barbeque

Definition of barbecue (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a large animal (such as a steer) roasted whole or split over an open fire or a fire in a pit
b : barbecued food eat barbecue
2 : a social gathering especially in the open air at which barbecued food is eaten
3 : an often portable fireplace over which meat and fish are roasted

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Other Words from barbecue


barbecuer noun, plural barbecuers

Examples of barbecue in a Sentence

Verb We barbecued chicken and ribs. We barbecue often during the summer. Noun grill a steak on the barbecue We plan to have a barbecue for the whole family. She invited us over for some beer and barbecue.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Many were already gathered around, helping clean up the mess or preparing to barbecue for the block. Xander Peters, The Christian Science Monitor, 30 Aug. 2021 The skateboarders would often barbecue together at the Burnside park, and Castillo-Pacheco was always there, Barnes said, with a big smile and a cold Modelo. oregonlive, 21 July 2021 But Deirdre has to be mom, dad, coach, buddy, the works; teaching her sons how to barbecue and play lacrosse. Kevin Fisher-paulson, San Francisco Chronicle, 15 June 2021 Millions of Americans will be taking the opportunity to barbecue with friends today. Jamie Gold, Forbes, 31 May 2021 There is also a hamper at the house dedicated solely to barbecue clothes. Chuck Blount, San Antonio Express-News, 5 Apr. 2021 Each offseason, Mulugheta and his clients will work out, watch film and also barbecue with their families. Los Angeles Times, 2 Dec. 2020 When the world started to change in mid-March, barbecue up-and-comer Joe Zavala saw a way through. Anna Caplan, Dallas News, 4 Aug. 2020 The idea of not being able to freely barbecue with friends and family without precautionary measures, or just head out to the beach, is unsettling. Sy Mukherjee, Fortune, 2 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Eclipse was a terrific, lively spot, with more than 32 beers on tap, most from Ohio, plus some terrific barbecue. Susan Glaser, cleveland, 7 Oct. 2021 The first Florida outpost of this Brooklyn barbecue icon will open in October and dish smoked brisket and baby back ribs, cheddar-jalapeno sausage and homemade coleslaw. Phillip Valys,, 6 Oct. 2021 Every restaurant has a real hickory wood-burning barbecue pit. Dallas News, 30 Sep. 2021 Blind Pig, the pizza place at 89 Arch St. in Hartford that mixed Bear’s barbecue meats with pizza, will close on Oct. 3, it was announced on Facebook on Monday. Susan Dunne,, 28 Sep. 2021 Another part has elevated Texas barbecue, with its emphasis on briskets smoked low and slow, into the most popular regional style in the nation. Washington Post, 27 Sep. 2021 Alabama fans will have to find barbecue nachos somewhere other than the corner of the Houndstooth bar patio on the Strip this football season. Ben Flanagan |, al, 23 Sep. 2021 That said, Horn has had an unorthodox journey in the barbecue world, having only began cooking in his twenties. Chelsea Davis, Forbes, 21 Sep. 2021 Sims is the face of the barbecue restaurants that started in 2004 with a single locale in Oklahoma. Kristine M. Kierzek, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 16 Sep. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'barbecue.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of barbecue


circa 1689, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1733, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for barbecue

Noun and Verb

American Spanish barbacoa framework for supporting meat over a fire, probably from Taino

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Buying Guide

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Time Traveler for barbecue

Time Traveler

The first known use of barbecue was circa 1689

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Dictionary Entries Near barbecue




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Statistics for barbecue

Last Updated

7 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Barbecue.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
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More Definitions for barbecue



English Language Learners Definition of barbecue

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to cook (food) on a barbecue : to broil or roast (meat, fish, etc.) over hot coals or an open fire



English Language Learners Definition of barbecue (Entry 2 of 2)

: a flat metal frame that is used to cook food over hot coals or an open fire
: an outdoor meal or party at which food is cooked on a barbecue
: food that has been cooked on a barbecue : barbecued food


bar·​be·​cue | \ ˈbär-bi-ˌkyü How to pronounce barbecue (audio) \
barbecued; barbecuing

Kids Definition of barbecue

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to cook over hot coals or on an open fire often in a highly seasoned sauce



Kids Definition of barbecue (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an often portable grill
2 : an outdoor meal or party at which food is cooked over hot coals or an open fire


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