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Hey! Is this a Barbecue or a Cookout? The Votes are In:

Barbecue or a Cookout?

This has been an ongoing debate amongst Pitmasters and Outdoor Grillers alike. We came across this article from

It asked: “If an outdoor event with a grill serves meat, but no smoked barbecue, is it still a barbecue? The answer to that might depend on where you live. In parts of America, the word “barbecue” is used loosely. Many people around the states call any outdoor event with a grill a “barbecue,” whether or not barbecue — loosely defined as meat cooked with indirect heat — is actually served. But in the South, where folks take barbecue a bit more seriously, if there’s no slow-smoked pork, don’t think about calling that event a barbecue — you’re looking at a “cookout.” In some regions, calling cookouts “barbecues” is disrespectful, insulting to a sacred style of cooking that has strict rules and guidelines — at least, that’s how some folks feel about it.

Are they right? Are “cookouts” just a Southern thing? Are barbecue-less barbecues a non-Southern thing? We wanted to see exactly where barbecue vernacular falls in the U.S. by mapping our readers’ opinions. Help end this debate once and for all. What do you call a backyard event with a grill?”

The South: As expected, Southern states are overwhelmingly in favor of calling grilling events without smoking “cookouts” and not barbecue. Zealous Texans had the strongest views on the issue, with most of the counties voting for the term “cookout.”

The Midwest: The Midwest had the worst voter turnout for the poll, but like the Northeast, the region seems to be a mixed bag of barbecues and cookouts. The farther east people go, the more opinions swing in favor of “cookout” instead of “barbecue.” The reason we divided the map by county was to account for “rogue” cities and areas like Chicago that have a tradition of being culturally out of tune with the rest of the state: With this, Chicago/Cook County is one of the only “barbecue” regions in Illinois.

The Northeast:
The Northeast United States seems to be torn between the terms. Most of New York swings toward barbecue.

The West Coast: In the land where sushi, kale, and avocados reign supreme, if there’s a grill, it’s a barbecue. Most Californians voted for “barbecue” as their word of choice. That trend continues up the coast toward Washington, with a few counties reporting both or neither term.

The Country: So far, most American counties prefer the term “cookout,” with 65 percent of voters choosing it. But the country’s three largest cities (New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago) prefer the term “barbecue.”

WikiDiff defines the difference ” As nouns the difference between barbecue and cookout is that barbecue is a fireplace or pit for grilling food, typically used outdoors and traditionally employing hot charcoal as the heating medium while cookout is (us) a gathering for a meal that is cooked and eaten outside; either a domestic barbecue or a larger social event.”

That leaves us questioning: What about the Wood? The low and slow Techniques?

So: Barbecue or Cookout? How America Defines Grilling Without Smoking. The Results are in.

After more than 3,000 votes, here are the results.

Barbecue (30%)
Cookout (62%)
Neither (8%)

Where we are (New York) we seem to specify – Barbecue Grilling and Barbecue – Smoking.

Well, whatever you are going to call it, have one soon and invite all your Family, Friends, Co-Workers and Neighbors! Happy Cooking! PitmasterCook


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