Below is a BBQ glossary of common terms used in the barbecue community, especially at barbecue competitions.


3-2-1

This is a method commonly used for cooking ribs. It means cooking 3 hours unwrapped, 2 hours wrapped and then 1 hour unwrapped with sauce.


A9

Meat in Australia is graded on a quality scale from 1-9. An A9 is the highest grade meat can receive and is usually only found in wagyu beef. Some pitmasters will use a wagyu brisket with an A9 grade to ensure they’re starting with great quality.


Ancillary

Some contests offer ancillary contests, which is a category other than chicken, ribs, pork and brisket. This can include sauce, dessert or other proteins like turkey or sausage.


Bark

Bark is the mahogany crust that forms on the outside of meat as it smokes.


Barrel

A vertical smoker made out of a barrel.


Bend

When you pick up a rack of cooked ribs, you want it to have a natural bend. If the rack doesn’t easily bend, it’s undercooked. If it bends so much that it breaks, it’s overcooked.


Blue Smoke

When your wood or charcoal is burning clean, the smoke will have a slightly blue hue to it.


Box

The white Styrofoam box provided by contest reps that you use to turn in your meat entry. Everyone gets the same type of box to keep the judging blind.


Brisket Point

A full packer brisket includes two muscles. The point and the flat. The point is the fattier, thicker cut used to make burnt ends.


Brisket Flat

A full packer brisket includes two muscles. The point and the flat. The flat is the thinner, leaner cut used to make brisket slices.


Build a Box

The art of filling a Styrofoam box with greens and at least six pieces of meat for the judges to taste.


Burnt Ends

While burnt ends were originally known as the crispy ends of the brisket that were slightly overcooked and full of bark, on the circuit burnt ends are created when you cook the point end of the brisket. The meat is cut into symmetrical cubes and usually brushed with sauce.


Call

When someone says they hope to get a call, it means they hope to hear their name called at the awards ceremony.


Cambro

Cambro is a brand name. The company makes insulated food tray carriers that keep meat hot or cold for hours. Pitmasters place their meat in the carrier after its cooked to keep it warm before turn ins.


Chasing Points

Different barbecue organizations issue points based on how a team finishes. These points are used to determine the team of the year. When a team is chasing points, it means they’re trying to get more points to earn that title.


Chimney

A charcoal chimney is a meta