Not only do barbecue sauces have many variations, but the spelling of "barbecue" also does. From changing one letter to adding multiple hyphens, there are many different versions of the spelling of barbecue. Some people call it barbecue while others use barbeque. Here is an explanation on the difference between barbecue and barbeque.
Barbecue or barbeque also referred to as BBQ in Australia, is a cooking method and a name for a meal or gathering at which a style of food is cooked and served. It can refer to the cooking method itself or the meat cooked this way as well as the type of social event featuring this type of cooking, which is usually done outdoors. Smoking, roasting or baking, braising and grilling are all barbecuing techniques.
The word barbecue originated in mid-17th century from the Spanish word barbacoa. It is believed that this was derived from the word barbakoa “framework of sticks” found in the language of the Arawak people of the Caribbean. Originally, a barbacoa wasn’t a way of cooking food, but the name of a wooden framework used by Taino Indians to either sleep on or store meat or fish to be dried.
After a while people started using it to refer to the process of cooking food in a barbacoa and the cooked food itself. Barbeque is a variant of the same barbecue word and the q is said to come from the French term barbe à queue. It was one of the many spelling variations that arose long before someone decided to officially add the cooking method to the dictionary.
In today’s English, barbecue is the standard spelling of the word that tends to appear in edited writing, and it’s the one that dictionaries note first. It occurs at a rate many times that of its variants. Barbeque is a secondary spelling that appears especially often in the names of restaurants and products but has steadily gained ground over the last few decades.
In Australia, barbecue or barbeque have both been embraced. The reality is that most barbecue folks aren’t too particular when it comes to matters of orthography. But when about specific restaurants, you may want to use whatever spelling the owner has picked for his or her place. While there may still be debate over what should be the correct spelling, there is one thing everyone agrees on: a barbecue is definitely more than just a shelter or a sleeping structure now!
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