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Lesson 8: The Best Barbecue

Let's Learn English Level 2 Lesson 8: The Best Barbecue
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Let's Learn English Level 2 Lesson 8: The Best Barbecue


Anna goes to a barbecue battle in Washington, D.C. She learns that there are secret ingredients in the sauces. And people are VERY loyal to their favorite kind of barbecue.


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Anna: Thanks for meeting me.

Kelly: Sure.

Anna: I’d like to get your advice on my latest project.

Kelly: Of course. I heard you were sent to cover a big food festival that has all kinds of barbecue. So, how did it go?

Anna: Well, things started out great! But then, well, maybe you should watch it yourself.

Prof. Bot: Hi English learners! Your lesson today is about my favorite food -- barbecue! Your assignment is to find passive sentences. What are those, you might ask? In passive sentences the subject receives the action!

For example, “Anna was sent to cover a food festival.”

Passive sentences have a form of the BE verb + the past participle of the main verb. This lesson is LOADED with passive sentences. Hey! That’s a passive sentence, too!

Okay, now, it’s Barbecue Time!

Anna: Today, a Barbecue Battle is being held in Washington, D.C. This festival, which is known as one of the biggest food festivals in the United States, brings together barbecue lovers from all over the country! Barbecue is meat that is cooked over an open fire or on a grill.

Chicken, pork and beef are all common meats to grill on a barbecue! No matter which meat you like to barbecue, the sauce is very important. Sauces are taken very seriously by chefs. Most ingredients are kept secret!

So, can you tell us what is in your barbecue sauce?

Chef 1: No, I can’t tell you.

Anna: So, tell us, what is the secret ingredient in your barbecue sauce?

Chef 2: (says nothing.)

Anna: Sauces are made by the barbecue chefs themselves. Most sauces are made with a tomato sauce, vinegar, and spices.

Prof. Bot: How many passive sentences did you find? Here is one I found:
Today, a Barbecue Battle is being held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Now you try. Turn this sentence from passive to active.

Barbecue is loved by Prof. Bot.
Professor Bot loves Barbecue!

Good job! And yes, I do.

Anna: There are some areas of the U.S. that are known for their tasty barbecue. The states of Texas, North and South Carolina and the cities of Memphis and Kansas City are known as the Barbecue Belt. People who are loyal to barbecue are really loyal to their favorite barbecue. That is why this festival is called a battle! Let’s ask a couple of people which barbecue is best.

Person 1: Texas, of course!

Person 2: Carolina barbecue is the very best.

Person 3: Kansas City!

Person 4: Memphis style!

Person 3: Kansas City!

Person 5: Texas!

Person 3: Kansas!

Person 5: Texas!

Person 3: Kansas!

Person 5: Texas!

Person 3: I say Kansas.

Person 5: Texas!

Person 3: She keeps saying Texas, I say Kansas.

Anna: This is Anna Matteo reporting.

Anna: Kelly, people feel so strongly about barbecue. Unbelievable! So, what do you think of my project?

Kelly: This is what I think. There is no way that Texas has the best barbecue. I am from Kansas City and we have THE best barbecue in the whole country. My mother and father owned a barbecue restaurant, which was really famous! So, I know barbecue! Anna, I know barbecue! I know barbecue! I know barbecue!

Prof Bot: Oh my. Kelly knows a lot about barbecue! And you know more about passive sentences! Be sure you go to the website to learn even more! Ah! Now, if you excuse me .. I'm hungry

New Words

barbecue - n. a flat metal frame that is used to cook food over hot coals or an open fire
barbecue - v. to cook (food) on a barbecue or to broil or roast (meat, fish, etc.) over hot coals or an open fire
battle - n. a fight between people or groups in which each side tries to win a contest (such as a game or an election)
brown sugar - n. a type of sugar that is brown because it contains a dark syrup (called molasses)
chef - n. a professional cook who usually is in charge of a kitchen in a restaurant
grill - n. a metal frame that is used to cook food over hot coals or an open fire
- v. to cook (food) on a metal frame over fire
loyal - adj. having or showing complete and constant support for someone or something
molasses - n. a thick, brown, sweet liquid that is made from raw sugar
sauce - n. a thick liquid that is eaten with or on food to add flavor to i
spice - n. a substance (such as pepper or nutmeg) that is used in cooking to add flavor to food and that comes from a dried plant and is usually a powder or seed
spicy - adj. of food. flavored with or containing strong spices and especially ones that cause a burning feeling in your mouth
sweet - adj. containing a lot of sugar
tasty - adj. having a good flavor
tomato - n. a round, soft, red fruit that is eaten raw or cooked and that is often used in salads, sandwiches, sauces
vinegar - n. a sour liquid that is used to flavor or preserve foods or to clean things

Learning Strategy

The learning strategy for this lesson is Ask Questions. One of the best ways to learn is to ask many questions.

In this lesson, Anna asks the barbecue chefs questions like, "Where does the best barbecue come from?" and "What is the secret ingredient in your sauce?" She gets many opinions on the best barbecue, but she never learns about the secret ingredient in the sauce.

How about you? How often do you ask questions as you study English? When you are learning English, do you ask teachers, friends or classmates to help you by sharing their knowledge? Write to us in the Comments section or send us an email.

Listening Quiz

See how well you understand this lesson by taking a listening quiz. Play each short video, then choose the best answer.

Free Materials

Word Book
Word Book

Download the VOA Learning English Word Book for a dictionary of the words we use on this website.

For Teachers

Send us an email if you have comments on this course or questions.

Grammar focus: Passive Voice

Topics: Asking for and Giving Reasons​; U.S. Culture & Cuisine​

Learning Strategy: Ask Questions


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Let's Learn English - Level 2 is a new course for English learners. Certified American English teachers designed the course for intermediate learners.

Each week, there will be a new lesson with a video showing the lives of young Americans. The lesson includes instruction in speaking, vocabulary, and writing.