Learn English – What is Southern Barbecue?

Who doesn’t like food!  Each country and even each region have different foods and styles of preparation.

In this episode I talk about when and how I first learned what Southern Barbecue is, here in the US.

Hey there. Have you ever eaten barbecue? What is barbecue? What I tell you might make you hungry. But sit back, relax, listen, and just try to understand as much as you can.

(Intro: English without Fear, where you can learn to speak English naturally, through listening to stories.)

What is barbecue? Barbecue is both a way of cooking meat outside and the name of a certain recipe, the name of a certain preparation of meat and a special kind of meat. This sounds confusing. If it is, that’s how I felt.

I didn’t grow up in the South of the United States and I always used to think that when people said:

“Oh yes, we barbecued last night.”, I used to think that just meant we grilled, we cooked meat outside. You know, on one of the family-sized small grills . 

That’s how my parents used to speak and that’s how Mike and I used to speak. We would cook meat outside and we would say:“Oh yeah, we barbecued last night.”, meaning we grilled last night. 

In the late 1980s, when we had very young children, we moved to Southeastern Virginia. We lived in a little town and we joined a church. Our first summer at this church, they had a tradition, they had something they did every summer. And that was to have a church cookout, a church picnic, And it was at someone’s house in their backyard. 

When Mike and I received the invitation, when we read the invitation about the church cookout, the church picnic, um, we just thought people would be grilling, would be barbecuing meat, like hamburgers, hotdogs, maybe some chicken pieces on a lot of small grills.

But when we got to the yard, to the house of the people who were hosting, who were, uh, who had the space to invite everybody in the church over, we were surprised. We got there after church about lunchtime. 

We had something we brought to share, not meat. And there was this big, gigantic grill with three men tending it, with three men cooking something. In fact, they had already finished grilling. They had already finished the cooking because they had started in the middle of the night.

Well, just what were they cooking? What had they started in the middle of the night? They had cooked, they had grilled, an entire pig. Yes, a whole pig! I, I didn’t even know that people did that. In fact, when we got there about 12, about lunchtime, 12-ish, they had finished cooking the meat and they were chopping it up. Three men chopping up an entire pig. That’s a lot of work. And they were chopping it up into small, tiny pieces, not big chunks.

What they would…what they did then after they chopped it up is they put the meat in a big huge pot and poured in, mixed in, a lot of sauce, a lot of barbecue sauce. And they mixed it all together and that was what they served. That’s what they called barbecue. They didn’t mean they were grilling meat outside when they said: “We’re having barbecue for our church picnic, for our church cookout.”

They meant this kind of whole entire pig, roasted 12 hours, chopped up into little pieces and then mixed with a special sauce. We learned that THAT is what people mean when they say barbecue in Southeastern Virginia. 

Did we like the barbecue? You bet. We liked it a lot! It was really good. They served it over bread like hamburger buns, but it was messy. It was messy, so we ate it with a fork and knife. But it was really good.

Since then, we have had other recipes of barbecue. In the South, everywhere you go, people make a different sauce. They still use a pig. They cut the pig into small little pieces,  after it’s cooked many, many hours. But the recipe is different because the sauce is different and that’s what makes barbecue ‘Southern Barbecue’ interesting.

But to make things even more interesting, Texas doesn’t use pig. Texas is always different. Texas, when they say barbecue, they mean beef. They use meat from a cow and their special sauce. That is what is called ‘Texan Barbecue’.

Well, what about you? Have you ever tried Southern Barbecue in America? Did you like it? Tell me about it. Leave me a comment below this video. 

And remember, if you would like the written transcript, the words to this episode, go to my website, www.englishwithoutfear.com and there you’ll see how to get all the transcripts plus sign up for my newsletter. Well, that’s it for this episode. I’m Maria from English without Fear. Talk to you next time.

(outro: Thanks for watching. For questions or comments. Here’s my email.)

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