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Beef Rib at SmokeLine
Photograph: Jessica LinBeef Rib at SmokeLine

Smoked-meats glossary: Must-know BBQ terms

Learn how to talk ’cue like a true pit master with our smoked-meats glossary, packed with in-the-know BBQ vocab


Know Mr. Brown from Mrs. White? A smoke ring from a sugar cookie? With Time Out New York’s handy smoked-meats glossary and guide to BBQ styles, you’ll be talking ’cue like a true barbecue pit master at the best BBQ restaurants in no time.

RECOMMENDED: Full coverage of the best BBQ in NYC

Black and blue
Red meat that’s charred on the outside and “blue” (or very rare) on the inside

Cadillac cut
A term used in barbecue competitions for a cut of rib that goes all the way down to the adjacent bone on each side, resulting in a large, meaty piece. Also known as the Hollywood cut.

A pit master who uses the Big Green Egg ceramic grill (affectionately known as Humpty) exclusively

Fat cap
The thick layer of fat between the meat and the skin

Golden brown and delicious—the motto for good barbecue

Knife and fork
Objects that are never allowed near ribs

The favored charcoal of serious ’cuers, lump contains only burning wood, with no additives or by-products like sawdust. It burns hotter and longer and has a flavorful smoke.

Maillard reaction
The chemical reaction between amino acids and sugars that browns a food’s surface, giving barbecue its crackling bark

Mr. Brown
The browned, rub-seasoned crust that forms on the outside of barbecued meat

Mrs. White
The fatty, moist inside of barbecued meat

A thin sauce often brushed onto meat

Meat cooked sans pan or foil on the grill

A pit master with more than one BBQ pit in his or her backyard

Reverse sear
Cooking over indirect heat to gently raise the temperature of the meat’s center

Skin ’n’ trim
To prepare a slab of ribs: Excess fat, loose flaps of meat and the thick membrane on the concave underside are cut away.

Smoke ring
The moneymaker pink layer near the meat’s surface, resulting from a chemical reaction to wood smoke

Sugar cookie
A sweet, crunchy bit of surface fat embedded with spices

Texas crutch
Aluminum foil wrapped around meat with a little liquid (water, juice, beer) to prevent dryness and accelerate the cooking process

A sign that ribs have been overcooked. If you pull on two adjacent ribs and one “whitebones,” the meat pulls off the bone, leaving it white

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