The Difference Between Barbecuing and Grilling

This is a question that is asked by many, but not widely known or understood. A lot of the confusion lies in the fact that people often use the same piece of equipment for grilling as they do for barbecuing. The two are very different.


Barbecuing lies at the opposite end of the temperature spectrum from grilling. It is a long, slow process, indirect, low-heat method that uses smouldering logs or charcoal and wood chunks to smoke-cook the food. Barbecue temperatures are usually between 95C and 150C. This low heat generates smoke, and the smoke gives barbecue its characteristic flavour. The heat source is often separate from the cooking chamber, which contains the actual food. This method of cooking is suited to large pieces of meat such as whole pigs. It is also perfect for cuts with lots of tough connective tissue, like brisket and spareribs. In fact barbecue was traditionally associated with the poorer people of southern US, who could not afford the better cuts of meat.



Grilling is cooking at high heat. Food is cooked directly over the coals, it is usually ready in minutes. Grilling temperatures are around 200C to 260C, this depends on the food being cooked,the food is cooked near the heat source. The high heat chars the surface of the food, this seals in the juices and creates a smoky caramelised crust. Grilling is one of the oldest and most widespread forms of cooking. rich and poor men alike do it all over the world, and it's also one of the most forgiving methods of cooking.


Indirect grilling

Recently a hybrid method of cooking, Indirect Grilling, has become very popular. This method bridges the gap between barbecue and grilling. Like barbecuing the food is not cooked directly over the coals. But the actual cooking takes place in the same chamber as the heat source, and temperatures usually range between  150C and 210C degrees. Wet wood chips or chunks are placed on the heat source to generate smoke for the flavour. Indirect grilling effectively makes your Barbecue grill into and outdoor smoke oven, which is perfect for cooking larger cuts of meat.

Indirect grilling gives you the best of both grilling and barbecuing. The charcoal flavour from grilling and the tenderness and smoky flavour from barbecuing. The flavour of real barbecuing is difficult to beat, Indirect grilling comes a close second.



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