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Difference between Barbecue or Barbeque?

barbecue or barbeque

The terms “barbecue” and “barbeque” refer to both a cooking method and the social gathering centered around cooking food over an open flame or heat source. The primary difference between these two terms is in their spelling, which reflects variations in regional usage rather than differences in meaning. Both spellings are used to describe the same activity and the apparatus used for this type of cooking.

Spelling VariantMore widely accepted and used spellingAlternative spelling, less commonly used
Part of SpeechNoun, VerbNoun, Verb
DefinitionA cooking method involving slow cooking over low, indirect heat from wood or charcoal, often involving a sauce. Also refers to a social event featuring this type of cooking.Same as “barbecue”
UsageGlobally recognized in both professional and casual contexts.Often seen in casual contexts or as a stylistic spelling choice.
barbecue meat on a grill

Difference Between “Barbecue” and “Barbeque”

Definition of Barbecue

"Barbecue" refers to the method of cooking food (usually meat) slowly over low, indirect heat from wood or charcoal. This term can also denote the social event where food is cooked and served in this manner, as well as the grill or smoker apparatus used for cooking.

Definition of Barbeque

"Barbeque" is an alternative spelling of "barbecue" that carries the same definition. It encompasses the cooking technique, the social gathering, and the equipment used for this style of cooking. The choice between "barbecue" and "barbeque" often comes down to regional preference or personal style.

Origin of Barbecue

The term “barbecue” is believed to have been derived from the Spanish word “barbacoa,” which itself comes from an Arawakan word meaning “wooden frame on posts.” The term originally referred to a wooden structure used by indigenous peoples in the Caribbean to smoke meat.

Origin of Barbeque

Barbeque” as a variant spelling of “barbecue” shares the same etymological roots. The variation in spelling likely emerged due to phonetic transcription of the word or regional variations in spelling preferences.


Both “barbecue” and “barbeque” are pronounced similarly, although the standard pronunciation adheres more closely to “barbecue“: /ˈbɑːrbɪkjuː/. The pronunciation does not significantly change with the spelling variation, emphasizing the primary difference as orthographic rather than phonetic.

Comparing Barbecue and Barbeque

SpellingStandard and widely acceptedAlternative and less formal
Usage ContextProfessional, culinary, international contextsCasual, regional, stylistic contexts
EtymologyDerived from Spanish “barbacoa”Same etymological origin as “barbecue”

Usage in Sentences with Explanations

Use of Barbecue in Sentences

  1. The annual family reunion wouldn’t be complete without a barbecue in the park.
    • Here, “barbecue” refers to the social event centered around cooking outdoors.
  2. He prides himself on his barbecue skills, especially when it comes to brisket.
    • Refers to the cooking method of slow-roasting meat.
  3. We bought a new barbecue to celebrate the start of summer.
    • In this sentence, “barbecue” denotes the grill or smoker used for cooking.
  4. Barbecue sauce is a crucial component of his secret recipe.
    • “Barbecue” is used to describe the type of sauce typically used in this cooking style.
  5. Their barbecue menu features a variety of meats and vegetarian options.
    • Refers to a menu designed for a barbecue event or restaurant specializing in barbecue cuisine.

Use of Barbeque in Sentences

  1. Invitations to the annual barbeque were sent out early.
    • “Barbeque” is used here to describe a social gathering featuring outdoor cooking.
  2. She offered to bring her famous barbeque chicken to the potluck.
    • Indicates a dish prepared using the barbecue cooking technique.
  3. The new barbeque has become the centerpiece of their backyard.
    • Refers to the equipment used for barbecuing.
  4. They’re known for their unique barbeque rubs and sauces.
    • Uses “barbeque” to describe the culinary products associated with barbecue cooking.
  5. Looking for a barbeque recipe, he browsed through several cookbooks.
    • “Barbeque” is used in the context of seeking instructions for preparing food in this style.


Whether spelled as “barbecue” or “barbeque,” the essence of this beloved cooking method and social activity remains the same. The choice between spellings largely depends on regional language norms or personal preference. Regardless of how it’s spelled, barbecue is a universally appreciated culinary tradition that brings people together over delicious, slow-cooked food.

Commonly Asked Questions

  • Is one spelling more correct than the other?
    • “Barbecue” is the more traditionally accepted spelling, but “barbeque” is widely understood and used.
  • Why are there two spellings for the same word?
    • Variations in spelling often emerge from regional preferences, phonetic interpretations, and the evolution of language.
  • Can both spellings be used interchangeably in writing?
    • Yes, though “barbecue” is preferred in formal and culinary contexts, both spellings convey the same meaning and can be used based on personal or regional preference.
  • How can I decide which spelling to use?
    • Consider your audience and the context of your writing. “Barbecue” is safer for formal or international contexts, while “barbeque” might be more suitable for casual or stylistic purposes.
  • Does the spelling variation affect pronunciation?
    • The pronunciation remains largely the same for both spellings, emphasizing that the primary difference is orthographic.
smoked meat on a BBQ grill


What is the difference between barbecue and barbeque?

Barbecue and barbeque are essentially the same thing. The difference in spelling comes down to regional preferences. Barbecue is the more common spelling in the United States, while barbeque is commonly used in other English-speaking countries. However, both terms refer to the same method of cooking meat low and slow over indirect heat, resulting in tender, smoky, and flavorful dishes.

What is the history of barbecue and barbeque?

Barbecue and barbeque have a long and fascinating history. These cooking techniques can be traced back to ancient civilizations, where methods like pit cooking were used to slow-cook meat. Over time, barbecue and barbeque evolved, influenced by different cultures and regions, particularly in the United States. Today, they have become beloved culinary traditions, with various styles and flavors representing different parts of the country.

What are the regional preferences in barbecue or barbeque?

Regional preferences in barbecue or barbeque vary across the United States. Each region has its own unique style and flavor profiles. For example, Texas-style barbecue is known for its bold and smoky flavors, often using beef as the main protein. On the other hand, Carolina-style barbeque is characterized by its tangy vinegar-based sauces and pulled pork. Other regions, such as Kansas City, Memphis, and Alabama, also have their own distinct barbecue traditions.

What are the common uses of barbecue or barbeque?

Barbecue and barbeque are incredibly versatile cooking methods with a wide range of uses. They are commonly enjoyed at backyard cookouts, family gatherings, and picnics. Additionally, barbecue has become a popular cuisine in restaurants, with dedicated barbecue joints serving up mouthwatering smoked meats. Some people even participate in barbecue competitions or use barbecue grills to prepare meals at home. There are endless possibilities when it comes to barbecue, and it has become an integral part of American food culture.

Jessica Smith

Jessica Smith

Jessica Smith, writer at, blends creativity with insight, exploring technology, culture, and psychology. With a background in English Literature, she crafts engaging stories inspired by nature and urban life. Outside writing, she enjoys exploring and continuous learning.View Author posts

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