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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb What sets barbecue apart from other cooking methods is how heat reaches the food. Kristine Nolin, The Conversation, 3 June 2022 People barbecue all over the world, and under that umbrella comes grilling. Kristine M. Kierzek, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 1 June 2022 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Each tiki torch in the set of four stands five feet high and holds 12 ounces of oil for an approximate six-hour burn time—long enough for a barbecue that extends late into the evening. Rachel Klein, Popular Mechanics, 21 June 2022 Gunfire erupted early Monday at a park in the East Harlem neighborhood of New York City, where police said a group of people were having a barbecue when multiple shooters opened fire. Bill Hutchinson, ABC News, 20 June 2022 Police were called to the 2500 block of Patron Drive after a dark-colored SUV drove by and fired about 20 to 30 rounds on a family barbecue, San Antonio Police Department Chief William McManus told reporters. Angela Alcala-bach, San Antonio Express-News, 19 June 2022 At least two people were killed and five others injured in a drive-by shooting on a family barbecue late Saturday, police in San Antonio, Texas said. Yuliya Talmazan, NBC News, 19 June 2022 Runners were still able to complete the 5K virtually and a large group gathered near Anchorage’s Ship Creek for fun, contests and a barbecue. Chris Bieri, Anchorage Daily News, 15 June 2022 On most weekends the Lady Lowrider Car Club cruises to a car show, sets up its cars, props up a canopy and starts a barbecue. Palabra, oregonlive, 13 June 2022 Attractions at the free event include live music, a freedom march, food vendors, special performances and a Fathers Day barbecue. al, 10 June 2022 Buying a fancy tie, treating dad to a baseball game, or cooking up a backyard barbecue are just a few of the ways Americans will celebrate their dads on Father’s Day, June 19. Bea Lewis, Sun Sentinel, 9 June 2022 See More

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.

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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Time Traveler for barbecue

Time Traveler

The first known use of barbecue was circa 1689

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Statistics for barbecue

Last Updated

15 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Barbecue.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for barbecue


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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