Glossary of BBQ Terminology

  • Baby Back Ribs (or Loin Back Ribs): A small cut of ribs from the pork loin that includes the blade and center section of the loin. Weight should be 2 pounds or less, or as we say in the trade, 2 down.
  • Barbecue: To slow cook meats over indirect heat of hardwood at a temperature of 180 to 250 degrees.
  • Barbecue Sauce: A liquid mixture, usually tomato-based, sweet and sour, with spices. It can be applied to meats during the final minutes of cooking. It is usually served on the side but is not necessary with properly cooked barbecue.
  • Bark: The outside crust of the butt or shoulder or brisket. Bark is enhanced by putting rub and sauce on the meat frequently.
  • Basting Sauces: Thin, flavorful liquids that are brushed onto the meat while cooking to help keep them moist.
  • Burnt Ends: The blackened, somewhat charred pieces of brisket ends that cannot be sliced.
  • Finger Meat: The meat between baby back ribs is called “finger meat”.
  • Finishing Sauce or Glaze: A sweet finishing sauce applied to meats during the final minutes of barbecuing.
  • Marinade: A blend of liquids, spices and herbs that meat is soaked in for flavoring, and sometimes tenderizing, prior to cooking.
  • Mop: A cotton mop used to baste meats while cooking.
  • Pit: The cooking unit used to barbecue. May be a closed container, cement or brick structure, or even a hole dug in the ground.
  • Rib Tips: The breast bone at the top of a slab of spare ribs.
  • Rub: A bbq seasoning with lots of spices that is usually rubbed onto the meat dry, but sometimes liquid is added to make a thick paste that’s slathered onto the meat. Paprika is often the predominant spice, which is why most rubs have a red color. Rubs can be tailored to the type of meat, fish or foul you are barbecuing.
  • Short End Spare Ribs: The last seven or eight ribs in a slab of spare ribs.
  • Spare Rib: One of about 11 ribs from the belly section of the pig.