If your idea of "barbecue" involves a gas grill, a Crock-Pot, or recipes your girlfriend found on Pinterest, read this very slowly, very carefully, and maybe even out loud once or twice so it sinks in thoroughly. There's an art to mingling fire and meat -- a combination of technical pyro skill, meat savvy, and just a little bit of barbecue wankery. Whether you're trolling for competitor treats at Memphis in May or trying to win over the pitmaster at your favorite joint, this is what a true BBQ nerd knows.
"Barbecue" is a noun, not a verb
We go by the Southern definition of barbecue, which means the end product -- i.e., what you get when you slow cook hunks of meat over a wood and/or charcoal fire. We know barbecue is not what happens when you throw a porterhouse on a propane-fueled grill, it's not the metal contraption you cook it on, and it's not the party you throw in your backyard. We don't "barbecue" meat. We smoke it, we cook it, we even grill it. But we eat barbecue.