Definition of barbecue in English:


(also barbeque)


  • 1A meal or gathering at which meat, fish, or other food is cooked out of doors on a rack over an open fire or on a special appliance.

    ‘in the evening there was a barbecue’
    as modifier ‘a barbecue area’
    • ‘The barbecue area is actually a fully equipped kitchen with sink, refrigerators, and electrical outlets.’
    • ‘On my last day in Australia, my parents cooked me a barbecue in their backyard barbecue area.’
    • ‘I think I forgot to mention that Saturday my family was supposed to have a little gathering around a barbecue pit.’
    • ‘It would be great for starting a charcoal fire for a barbecue, though.’
    • ‘Fundraising meals, picnics and barbecues are great ways of inviting whole communities into Respect.’
    • ‘You may as well gorge out my eyes with burning sabers of methane gas and ceremoniously sacrifice my body over an open barbecue pit in the name of good taste.’
    • ‘In addition, high-speed lifts service all floors of the development and the grounds will be landscaped to include a barbecue area as well as a putting green for golfers.’
    • ‘There are less formal meals, picnics and barbecues and the forthcoming brunch is one of these occasions.’
    • ‘Another helps tame a sloping site by dividing it into usable stairstepping levels, complete with built-in planters and a barbecue area.’
    • ‘At a barbecue food is cooked on a rusty grill which birds have probably used as a toilet on a daily basis since last summer.’
    • ‘Now that fish is the new meat at the best barbecues in town, the curly question is what to serve with it.’
    • ‘The crews cooked up a free barbecue after all the work was done.’
    • ‘Mr Greendale's wife, Kathryn, said her husband had cooked for a family barbecue last Friday, and had later gone to sleep on a rug at the back of the house in Cavill Place.’
    • ‘Here there is another picnic and camping area with toilets and a barbecue area.’
    • ‘‘I'm my own event planner,’ Hargreaves says of his regular Sunday football gatherings, barbecues and pool parties.’
    • ‘The main purpose of the garden would be for open air parties and barbecues.’
    • ‘For barbecues, only start cooking when the charcoals are glowing red with a layer of grey ash.’
    • ‘Everyone has the opportunity to invite neighbours over for coffee, a meal, or a barbecue.’
    • ‘This colorful dish takes about 15 minutes to cook and is great for dinner parties, summer barbecues or even a family meal.’
    • ‘Neighborhoods are putting on open, outdoor barbecues and pancake breakfasts, complete with music and face painting.’
    meal cooked outdoors, … roast
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A rack or appliance used for the preparation of food at a barbecue.
      ‘food was placed to sizzle on the barbecue’
      • ‘Members on one picket line set up a barbecue to cook breakfast.’
      • ‘Time to turn on the barbecue and get things cooking.’
      • ‘They also cooked their own evening meals on barbecues.’
      • ‘Leave to marinate for a couple of hours, then cook on a hot barbecue for about five minutes on each side.’
      • ‘This keeps them firm so they cook evenly on the barbecue.’
      • ‘Of course, all the meals are eaten outside, cooked on the barbecue.’
      • ‘It's good for steaming and roasting and can be grilled or cooked on the barbecue - but watch out, as it tends to stick.’
      • ‘The ribs can be cooked on a medium-heat barbecue for about 20 minutes, but it is easier to control the temperature in an oven to avoid burning.’
      • ‘The women all cook together on dow tarns - wood fire barbecues out the back.’
      • ‘And since he had just saved her from Billy's annual torture of meat at the barbecue, he was obviously nice and a gentleman.’
      • ‘Consider cooking on an outside barbecue grill or use a microwave oven, which does not generate as much heat and uses less energy than a gas or electric range.’
      • ‘‘While we want people to enjoy themselves in the National Park, they should avoid lighting barbecues and fires on the open moorland,’ he said.’
      • ‘Salmon is delicious when cooked on a barbecue; it forms a delicious, caramelised crust and if cooked properly it will stay moist and succulent inside.’
      • ‘Brush the langoustine with a little extra olive oil and grill on the barbecue until cooked.’
      • ‘Mr Kelly asked that everyone coming on the day to bring their own food, which can be cooked on a giant barbecue.’
      • ‘Your guide cooks up evening meals on the barbecue or gas-powered range, while you can contemplate the sun setting somewhere out east of Timor.’
      • ‘There's nothing that can't be cooked on a barbecue and usually there's nothing that isn't.’
      • ‘Complement your healthy summer lifestyle with fresh food cooked on the barbecue.’
      • ‘Although the counter also contains a gas-burning barbecue, the Elledges cook on the grill, with wood or charcoal as fuel, most of the time.’
      • ‘I've cooked on some very nice barbecues and I've cooked on grills that are basically old toilet bowls or tanks with some metal wire draped across the openings.’
      grill, rotisserie
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2North American mass noun Food cooked on a barbecue.
      ‘all the barbecue he could eat’
      • ‘The food is quite good - Mexican, barbecue, chili, shrimp and chicken-fried steak, an acquired taste.’
      • ‘We fed everyone loads of barbecue and cake, no big deal.’
      • ‘Kentucky substitutes mutton for pork and in Texas, barbecue is all about beef.’
      • ‘I ate burritos in New Mexico, barbecue in Memphis and a steak the size of a hubcap in Minneapolis.’
      • ‘In the evening festivities got under way with a barbecue, fish and chip supper and skittles match at the Rose and Crown pub on Lower High Street.’
      • ‘Throughout the weekend, club members and their families came by to eat barbecue and many side dishes.’
      • ‘Wade, is it true that you had eaten barbecue, were throwing up over people, had a broken arm, and it was gushing blood, all while you were playing?’
      • ‘We would be eating pizza or barbecue food, not spaghetti by candlelight.’
      • ‘The Carolinas can rightfully claim to be the cradle of American barbecue and Texas is by far the brisket capital of the world.’
      • ‘As a preventative measure, don't drink anything carbonated while you eat Korean barbecue.’
      • ‘On the northwest corner is pulled lamb shoulder reminiscent of barbecue accompanied by thin rings of pickled red onion.’
      • ‘The white bread was still pristine and soft, fresh but somehow infused with the heady scent of barbecue.’
      • ‘There's a fun tour of a lollipop factory and tips on making good barbecue.’
      • ‘But, with beautiful weather, lots of sleep, strawberries, ice cream and barbecue - what more can you really ask for?’
      • ‘It may be all-you-can eat, but this isn't your father's barbecue, fellow peers.’
      • ‘In New York, demand for great barbecue tends to outstrip supply.’
      • ‘What could be better than barbecue, beer and football?’
      • ‘Further attractions are Latina, for Brazilian barbecue, and the Golden Elephant Thai Restaurant.’
      • ‘Roses or blush wines that border on the sweet side also pair well with informal food such as barbecue.’
      • ‘Trust me, to a pig, the smell of barbecue isn't exactly romantic.’


  • Cook (food) on a barbecue.

    ‘fish barbecued with herbs’
    ‘barbecued chicken’
    • ‘I was looking forward to barbecuing this summer, but now I hear it's not a safe way to cook meat.’
    • ‘The flesh is firm and sweet, lending itself to grilling and barbecuing, and to fish stews such as this.’
    • ‘Peppers and tomatoes can be barbecued on the skewers between meat pieces.’
    • ‘I had a dream about barbecuing a yak as some sort of retribution.’
    • ‘Nobody knows more about barbecuing meat than the Argentinians.’
    • ‘At rural banquets, entire cows are barbecued slowly with their hides.’
    • ‘On the veranda, a chef in gaucho clothing was barbecuing a variety of Argentine meats.’
    • ‘Once the coals are covered in a fur of white ash, start by barbecuing a few vegetables.’
    • ‘Winthrop drifted by, fatigued from barbecuing supper.’
    • ‘Thick, succulent tuna steaks are first marinated in a simple dressing, and then barbecued until just cooked.’
    • ‘This Georgian-influenced recipe can be barbecued or grilled, but the meat must be marinated overnight.’
    • ‘Dad barbecued some steaks, and Mom made potato salad and corn on the cob.’
    • ‘While Stephen and Louis sat down on the sand drinking beer and talking, Jessica and Cecilia took turns in barbecuing the yummy food.’
    • ‘In this dish, boneless chicken, after being barbecued, is cooked with spices giving the chicken a fragrant taste.’
    • ‘For the first few steaks I barbecued this season, I used the prepackaged marinades.’
    • ‘Freshly caught octopus hang out to dry on a washing line before being barbecued.’
    • ‘But when a group of golfers strode across the course at Skipton, the last thing they expected to see was a party of Iraqis barbecuing their burgers just beyond the second green.’
    • ‘I once barbecued a whole fillet of beef marinaded in a bottle of Jack Daniel's and enclosed in tinfoil.’
    • ‘Then spend the afternoon barbecuing steaks and sausages while catching up with friends and family.’
    • ‘When the American Institute for Cancer Research issued guidelines for barbecuing meat safely, this somehow reminded Corcoran of the Nazi era.’
    cook outdoors, grill, spit-roast
    View synonyms


Mid 17th century: from Spanish barbacoa, perhaps from Arawak barbacoa ‘wooden frame on posts’. The original sense was ‘wooden framework for sleeping on, or for storing meat or fish to be dried’.