A Mini Glossary of BBQ Terms

How to speak barbecue (even with a Boston accent).

Bark (a.k.a. Mr. Brown):
The crust that forms on a piece of meat from the seasonings in the rub, rendered fat, smoke, and caramelized sugars.

Burnt Ends:
Heavily charred, bite-size brisket pieces typically taken from the fattier point end. These flavor-packed morsels were made famous by writer Calvin Trillin, a Kansas City native, in the 1970s.

Egghead:
A fanatic of the Big Green Egg, an oval-shaped ceramic grill and smoker.

Fat Cap:
A thick slab of fat between the skin and the flesh.

Money Muscle:
A tender, well-marbled section of the pork butt that’s located high on the shoulder. It typically pulls in the most money and trophies on the competitive circuit.

Mop:
A thin, vinegar- based sauce basted on a piece of meat while it’s cooking.

Mrs. White:
The light, moist interior of whole-hog barbecue.

Shiggin’:
Engaging with a fellow pitmaster in order to steal barbecue secrets.

Shiner:
A poorly butchered slab of ribs, in which the meat has been hacked away and the bone “shines through.”

The Stall:
Specific to larger cuts of meat, when the internal temperature reaches between 150 and 165 degrees and doesn’t budge for hours. A common problem for rookie pitmasters.

Smoke Ring:
A ribbon of pink meat found beneath the bark, caused by the interaction of nitric oxide and myoglobin, the protein that gives flesh its red color.

Texas Crutch:
Wrapping cooked brisket in aluminum foil to slow evaporation and preserve moisture.

White Sauce:
A specialty of northern Alabama, this all-purpose mayo- and vinegar-based sauce is traditionally used to dress chicken and pulled pork.


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Yiqing Shao Yiqing Shao, Digital Editor at Boston Magazine bmagdigital+yshao@gmail.com