The difference between grilling and barbecue

(CNN)After moving to Atlanta from New York years ago, it quickly became evident I had a language problem.

I embraced "y'all" with ease for its gender neutrality. Sweet tea somehow made sense, too. But it took years for me to let go of the habit of declaring a "barbecue" every time I decided to cook hamburgers, steaks or hot dogs on the grill.
A friend from Memphis was the first to call me out. Surely, I meant I was going to "grill out," he said.
Barbecue involves slabs of meat cooking for hours -- in a grill, in a smoker or maybe in the ground, depending on one's level of enthusiasm. Grilling meat or vegetables for minutes at a time, he said, does not a barbecue make.