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 main purpose of the garden would be for open air parties and barbecues.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Neighborhoods are putting on open, outdoor barbecues and pancake breakfasts, complete with music and face painting.’
    • ‘Everyone has the opportunity to invite neighbours over for coffee, a meal, or a barbecue.’
    • ‘For barbecues, only start cooking when the charcoals are glowing red with a layer of grey ash.’
    • ‘On my last day in Australia, my parents cooked me a barbecue in their backyard barbecue area.’
    • ‘It would be great for starting a charcoal fire for a barbecue, though.’
    • ‘Another helps tame a sloping site by dividing it into usable stairstepping levels, complete with built-in planters and a barbecue area.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The barbecue area is actually a fully equipped kitchen with sink, refrigerators, and electrical outlets.’
    • ‘‘I'm my own event planner,’ Hargreaves says of his regular Sunday football gatherings, barbecues and pool parties.’
    • ‘Now that fish is the new meat at the best barbecues in town, the curly question is what to serve with it.’
    • ‘There are less formal meals, picnics and barbecues and the forthcoming brunch is one of these occasions.’
    • ‘The crews cooked up a free barbecue after all the work was done.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This colorful dish takes about 15 minutes to cook and is great for dinner parties, summer barbecues or even a family meal.’
    • ‘Fundraising meals, picnics and barbecues are great ways of inviting whole communities into Respect.’
    • ‘I think I forgot to mention that Saturday my family was supposed to have a little gathering around a barbecue pit.’
    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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘While we want people to enjoy themselves in the National Park, they should avoid lighting barbecues and fires on the open moorland,’ he said.’
      • ‘Members on one picket line set up a barbecue to cook breakfast.’
      • ‘And since he had just saved her from Billy's annual torture of meat at the barbecue, he was obviously nice and a gentleman.’
      • ‘Leave to marinate for a couple of hours, then cook on a hot barbecue for about five minutes on each side.’
      • ‘It's good for steaming and roasting and can be grilled or cooked on the barbecue - but watch out, as it tends to stick.’
      • ‘This keeps them firm so they cook evenly on the barbecue.’
      • ‘Time to turn on the barbecue and get things cooking.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The women all cook together on dow tarns - wood fire barbecues out the back.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Complement your healthy summer lifestyle with fresh food cooked on the barbecue.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Mr Kelly asked that everyone coming on the day to bring their own food, which can be cooked on a giant barbecue.’
      • ‘There's nothing that can't be cooked on a barbecue and usually there's nothing that isn't.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Of course, all the meals are eaten outside, cooked on the barbecue.’
      • ‘Brush the langoustine with a little extra olive oil and grill on the barbecue until cooked.’
      • ‘They also cooked their own evening meals on barbecues.’
      grill, rotisserie
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2North American mass noun Food cooked on a barbecue.
      ‘all the barbecue he could eat’
      • ‘On the northwest corner is pulled lamb shoulder reminiscent of barbecue accompanied by thin rings of pickled red onion.’
      • ‘I ate burritos in New Mexico, barbecue in Memphis and a steak the size of a hubcap in Minneapolis.’
      • ‘It may be all-you-can eat, but this isn't your father's barbecue, fellow peers.’
      • ‘What could be better than barbecue, beer and football?’
      • ‘In New York, demand for great barbecue tends to outstrip supply.’
      • ‘Trust me, to a pig, the smell of barbecue isn't exactly romantic.’
      • ‘The Carolinas can rightfully claim to be the cradle of American barbecue and Texas is by far the brisket capital of the world.’
      • ‘Further attractions are Latina, for Brazilian barbecue, and the Golden Elephant Thai Restaurant.’
      • ‘But, with beautiful weather, lots of sleep, strawberries, ice cream and barbecue - what more can you really ask for?’
      • ‘The food is quite good - Mexican, barbecue, chili, shrimp and chicken-fried steak, an acquired taste.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Roses or blush wines that border on the sweet side also pair well with informal food such as barbecue.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘As a preventative measure, don't drink anything carbonated while you eat Korean barbecue.’
      • ‘We would be eating pizza or barbecue food, not spaghetti by candlelight.’
      • ‘Kentucky substitutes mutton for pork and in Texas, barbecue is all about beef.’
      • ‘Throughout the weekend, club members and their families came by to eat barbecue and many side dishes.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We fed everyone loads of barbecue and cake, no big deal.’


[with object]
  • Cook (food) on a barbecue.

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