What is the Difference Between Grilling and Barbecuing?

Well, Barbecue (BBQ) or Grilling? We all hear them both all the time, almost interchangeably. Yet most of us don’t understand what the difference is between Grilling and Barbecuing. I know it’s confusing but in this content, we will explain some point what make them different from each other.

I am sure, everything will be clear to you if you read our content. As I said it is confusing!  In general, the words barbecue and grill are synonymous typically they involve cooking meats outside. But there is really an actual difference between these two words, and if you don’t know it, you are probably to use the wrong tools and get the wrong results. You do need the proper and basic tools to get the best results.

Difference between Grilling and Barbecuing

There have four major differences between grilling and barbecuing. If you’re a true outdoor chef, it really does matter! Let’s have a look some basics about the types of meats each technique of cooking uses, the particular times needed, as well as the required cooking temperature:

  • Heat
  • Time
  • Type of Meat Used
  • Smoke

1. Heat:

The most important differences between this two words are the amount of heat involved.

Grilling is a high, direct heat technique

“Grilling” technically means you’re cooking food fast and hot and directly over the fire. Since the heat is only coming from one direction, the meat being cooked needs to turn over in order to cook equally. Today grilling is one of the preferred ways of cooking that involves dry heat applied to the surface of the food especially during the summer, because of its aroma and flavor meat gets from being exposed directly to heat. Meats like steaks, pork chops, seafood, hamburgers, and hot dogs are great for grilling.

 BBQ is a low and slow, indirect heat cooking procedure

Barbecue cooking is used to refer to foods that are cooked at a lower indirect heat and generally used for cuts of meat like ribs, pork shoulder, beef brisket, or whole chickens or turkeys. During the cook, the lid of the grill or smoker is kept closed and the food is cooked over very low heat usually 225 F or lower.

2. Type of Meat Used:

Various cutting style requires different levels of heat to cook perfectly.

Grilling: As I said the high heat is required to cook the meat so, grilling is best for small, naturally tender cuts of meat. Steaks, pork chops, chicken breasts, and seafood are great for this quick cooking method.

BBQ: Typical cuts of barbecue meats include ribs, pork shoulder and butt, beef brisket, mutton (aka lamb), the occasional goat, and whole chicken and turkey. These type of food is ideal for the low and slow cooking process. Charcoal or wood are commonly used as the heat source for barbecue.

3. The amount of Time:

Barbecue and grill need to cook for different lengths of time.

Grilling: Meats exposed to this type of cooking can only be cooked for a short amount of time before being burned (the time is usually between an hour or less). The average cook time when grilling is only 5-20 minutes.

Barbecue: Barbecue is cooked low and slow. So, it takes time! Cook times are typically 2 hours and up and can be as much as 18 hours, depending on the size of the meat being cooked.

4. Smokey Flavors

Grilling is cooking food hot and fast and smoke is not used in grilling. It can be in the oven or stovetop. However, smoke can be used in the hybrid cooking method called grill-roasting.

BBQ: Smoke is always used in BBQ. The key to barbecuing is the phrase “slow and low” which allows the meat to soak up the smoke. The best barbecue chefs pride themselves on a very long cooking time to get the juicy, Smokey, most flavorful meat.

Hopefully, you understand the difference between Grilling and Barbecuing! Knowing the difference is not just a good piece of information, it helps you to know which procedure will be your next outdoor cooking adventures.

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