Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Tue Sep 3 16:00:38 UTC 2002

Here's what it is:

Meat, usually rubbed with a local (and secret) combination of spices,
is cooked at very low heat, not directly over coals or flame, for a
very long time. Something like this may be achieved on a (covered)
grill by building a charcoal fire on one side and cooking the meat on
the other, but the traditional way involves very deep pits, placing
the meat considerably above the heat. The wood or wood from which the
charcoal is derived (or soaked wood chips) are also responsible for
flavor addition. Sauces are always added late in the process (often
in several coats), so as not to burn.

I invite you to use Bar-B-Que to refer to this process (allowing for
local variation), but implore you to use "grilled" (or some other
local verb of your preference) if you mean cooked over high heat,
quickly and directly. You do not Bar-B-Que hamburgers (usually), for

I ask you especially not to use "Bar-B-Que" to refer to meats which
have been heated up with Bar-B-Que sauce in them.

I don't know what to say about the event. People say "We went to a
Bar-B-Que and appear to mean something like a picnic where the meat
dishes were grilled (not brought along).

What's the language coming to!


>So what is it?
>At 06:48 AM 9/3/2002 -0400, you wrote:
>>Easy to see why not. Bloomington is geographically but not culturally
>>south of Indianapolis. Why would a bunch of Minnesotans just going to
>>school in southern Indiana know anything about Bar-B-Que?
>>>At 05:40 PM 9/2/2002 -0400, you wrote:
>>>>So limited (Chicago) is Mike's experience that he believes that "soft
>>>>drink" is only a written form (or an "explanatory" one for non-native
>>>>If he would get in his old VW Peace bus and drive south of
>>>>Indianapolis (where he could even find that Bar-B-Que is not a
>>>>synonym for "cookout" or "grill"), he would discover otherwise.
>>>I lived in Bloomington ten years but don't recall a distinctive meaning for
>>>Bar-B-Que???  Now Gnaw Bone and Bean Blossom I DO remember.
>>Dennis R. Preston
>>Professor of Linguistics
>>Department of Linguistics and Languages
>>740 Wells Hall A
>>Michigan State University
>>East Lansing, MI 48824-1027 USA
>>Office - (517) 353-0740
>>Fax - (517) 432-2736

Dennis R. Preston
Professor of Linguistics
Department of Linguistics & Germanic, Slavic,
      Asian & African Languages
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1027
e-mail: preston at
phone: (517) 353-9290

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