Barbecue Slang to Become a True ‘Cue Expert

Barbecue Slang to Become a True ‘Cue Expert

Want to be able to talk barbecue like the pros? Of course, you do.  Poker players, computer techs, accountants all have their own jargon, and grill masters have theirs! From Fat Cap to Jiggle, Barbecue Country has put together an entire list of barbecue vocabulary you need to know to become a true 'cue expert.


Pit Boss

The sweaty, greasy badass reigning over the red-hot coals in charge of creating smoky, char-encrusted proteins of perfection.  Also known as pitmaster.



The smaller, fatty, marbled cut of the brisket (also referred to as the point) and is preferred by brisket aficionados.


Fat Cap

This thick layer of fat between the skin and flesh ensures that a piece of meat is flavourful and tender.  The long-standing debate of whether brisket should be cooked with the fat cap up or down continues to this day among pitmasters.


Burnt Ends

The crispy, fatty bark bits of a smoked brisket; a delicacy in Kansas City. You may also know them by the very appropriate term - meat candy.



The flavourful, crispy outer layer of crust that forms on a brisket.


Mr. Brown

The dark, crunchy exterior of whole-hog barbecue.


Miss White

The light, moist interior of whole hog barbecue.


Mr. Brown Goes to Town

Refers to the Memphis ritual of adding crunchy pork pieces to sandwiches.


Chipped mutton

A Kentucky specialty mix of bark and meat from mutton ribs, neck, and shoulders together in a dip liquid.


White Sauce

Alabama’s official sauce - this zesty mayo-based concoction typically dresses BBQ chicken.


Crash in the Smoker

Sometimes meat sways off the track in a smoker. When it loses its balance, the collision is called a crash in the smoker.



What’s just as important as the smoking process? Preserving the meat post-fire. Wrapping the meat in butcher paper helps absorb grease and creates a protective shield, the crutch.


Bounce Test

A test for checking the doneness of low and slow smoked ribs. Pick up the rack of ribs by the middle/center bones with a pair of tongs then bounce them slightly.  If the ribs are ready, the slab will bow until the meat starts to break away. Also called the bend test.


Texas Crutch

Many pitmasters prefer aluminum foil to butcher paper.  It holds in moisture to create extra-succulent slices.



When a rack of ribs has had too much meat butchered off, too much bone “shines through”. Avoid the shiners!



A vinegar-based sauce that is brushed, or mopped, onto a piece of meat before cooking to add a burst of flavour and caramelization.



Use a syringe full of your favourite marinade and get right in there with extra flavour by infusing it directly into the meat.



Juicy skin sometimes gets bruised due to overheating or a scratch that swells under fire. When this happens, a pitmaster has a blowout on their hands.


Wide and narrow

The description of a rack of rib’s girth.


Smoke Ring

You know you’re a grillmaster when the coveted pink hue called the “smoke ring” appears just underneath the bark.  Smoke rings form when meat releases nitric oxide and carbon monoxide which combine with myoglobin, a protein found in the meat.


Blue Smoke

That magical moment when the smoke coming off of the flame is a light blue colour; the signal that now is the time to throw the meat onto the smoker.


Power cook

Getting behind in your cooking time? Time to crank up the heat and power cook to compensate for lost time.


Low n' Slow

The method of barbecuing where food is cooked at a low temperature for an extra-long time over indirect heat -sometimes up to 18 hours. The heat doesn’t exceed 275°F and usually is closer to 225°F.


Hot n' Fast

Refers to cooking over high, direct, radiant high heat (usually an open flame) at temperatures over 350°F. The high temp requires you to turn the meat more often, to prevent burning.


Money Muscle

This cut of pork, located high on the shoulder, is the moistest and most flavourful. It’s called the Money Muscle because it often does well in competitions and brings in the money for its pitmaster.



When at barbecue competitions, some pitmasters spy on the competition to uncover their secrets, otherwise known as shiggin’.



A properly cooked brisket will quiver when touched.



The gush of juice that comes from a brisket when it’s cooked just right.


Butt over Brisket

When fatty pork butt is cooked over a brisket so its juices flow down through the grate basting the beef with extra flavour.


Skin n' Trim

The process of removing the membrane on the underside of the rib, which can become tough when cooked. Removal is optional.


The Stall

When the internal temperature of the protein you are smoking can plateau or even drop. Fight “the stall” by staying the course and resisting the temptation to increase the heat.


The Tug

Ribs should fight back a bit when you bite into them. Rib meat that slides right off the bone will lose points in a competition. A slight “tug” is essential in a properly cooked rib.

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  • Taylor Mitchell