The term "barbecue" refers to a method of cooking by which meat, or other food, is covered and slowly cooked in a pit, or on a spit, using hot coals or hardwood as a heat source. The food is basted, usually with a seasoned sauce, to keep it moist while it cooks.There are many regional barbecue styles in this country, those from Texas and South Carolina being two of the most famous. However, no two of them ever seem to agree on exactly what it is that makes for a perfect barbecue. I have heard grown men argue for hours on the merits of vinegar-based barbecue sauce over tomato-based sauce and vice versa.

This recipe is indeed a pseudo barbecue, but it is delicious and can be done in your own kitchen. Since it may still be a while before we can all get out of doors again to barbecue in our back yards and patios, this "kitchen" recipe offers the perfect solution for enjoying this soul-satisfying comfort food right now.

Dear Jeanne: Enclosed is my best friend's recipe for Jambalaya. Can you make it healthier? Thanks.

- M. Robertson, Akron, Ohio

Dear M. Robertson: For the sake of nutritional analysis and ease of preparation, I first "converted" your list of ingredients into a recipe. Then I found I could use a turkey kielbasa in place of the higher-fat pork version, and I substituted boneless, skinless chicken breast meat for the chicken parts. The only other change I made was to use one can of broth because I like a thicker jambalaya. This is a quick and easy dish to make, with a wonderful combination of flavors.

- Each serving contains approximately: Original Recipe: 775 calories; 110 mg cholesterol; 34 gm fat; 1,502 mg sodium; 38 gm protein; 77 gm carbohydrates. Revised Recipe: 565 calories; 104 mg cholesterol; 12 gm fat; 1,386 mg sodium; 38 gm protein; 78 gm car-bo-hy-drates.

Pasta is another soul-satisfying food for this time of year, and my booklet, "Pasta - Everyone's Favorite Food," contains some of my favorite light and flavorful recipes for it. Order one for $3 from Pasta, P.O. Box 5541, Riverton, NJ 08077-5541. Include a stamped (55 cents), self-addressed, No.10 envelope.

OVEN `BARBECUED' BRISKET

1 fresh beef brisket (3 pounds)

1 1/2 cups water, divided use

1/2 medium onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, pressed or minced

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 cup ketchup

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke

Preheat the oven to 275 F.

Place the brisket in a large casserole or a Dutch oven and add 1/2 cup of the water. Cover and bake in the preheated oven for 2 hours.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining cup of water, and all of the remaining ingredients, except the liquid smoke, and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add the liquid smoke and mix well.

Remove the meat from the oven and drain off any fat drippings. Pour the sauce over the meat and continue to cook, covered, for 1 to 11/2 hours longer, or until meat is tender.

- Makes 8 servings. Each serving contains approximately 270 calories; 59 mg cholesterol; 14 gm fat; 568 mg sodium; 23 gm protein; 13 gm carbohydrates.

JAMBALAYA

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2-pound chicken, cut into pieces

1 pound kielbasa sausage, cut into

1/2-inch slices

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

1 green bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped

2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can chopped tomatoes

1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans chicken broth

21/2 cups converted rice

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste

Preheat oven to 350 F. Place oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken pieces and kielbasa and cook until chicken starts to brown, stirring frequently. Add vegetables and cook until tender. Stir in tomatoes and tomato sauce.

Place meat mixture in 3-quart casserole and stir in chicken broth, rice and spices. Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 60 minutes, until rice is done. Makes 6 servings.

`CONVERTED' JAMBALAYA

2 teaspoons canola oil

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast meat, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 pound turkey kielbasa sausage, cut into 1/2-inch slices

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped (1 1/2 cups)

1 green bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped (1 1/3 cups)

2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped (2/3 cup)

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can chopped tomatoes, undrained

1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can chicken broth

2 1/3 cups (16-ounce package) converted rice

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

Preheat oven to 350 F. Place oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and kielbasa and cook until chicken starts to brown, stirring frequently. Remove meat to 3-quart casserole. Place onion, bell pepper and celery in the skillet and cook, stirring frequently, over low heat until onion is translucent.

Stir cooked vegetables, tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, rice and spices into casserole with meat mixture and bake in preheated oven for 60 minutes, until rice is done. Makes 10 cups, six 1 2/3-cup servings.