Barbecuing Vs Grilling: What's The Difference?

Beef brisket sliced on cutting board
Beef brisket sliced on cutting board - hlphoto/Shutterstock

Whether you want to be known as the grill master or the pit master, one thing is certain: When the weather gets warm, you can get outside and cook some meat on some heat. Despite the fact that hosting a backyard barbecue often means preparing food on a grill, barbecuing and grilling aren't exactly interchangeable terms; they're two different cooking methods.

Simply put, barbecuing is a low-and-slow cooking process, while grilling is a quicker method that uses more heat. Put simply, barbecuing is a low and slow cooking process, while grilling is a faster method that uses more heat. You could grill a great chicken recipe in a pan on the stove, and they'll be ready in about 10 minutes. But if you were to cook a rack of ribs on low heat for several hours to reach peak tenderness, then you're barbecuing. The most common heat sources for both types include gas, charcoal, and wood. Different types of meat require one of the two methods for the best outcome, but thicker, larger pieces often fare best when barbecued rather than grilled.

Read more: The 13 Best Steaks For Grilling

What Is Barbecuing?

Person grilling ribs
Person grilling ribs - Kanawa_studio/Getty Images

Barbecuing is one of the oldest cooking methods. Slowly cooking meat over fire has been around for about two million years. If you're cooking something like a brisket or a whole chicken, the low-and-slow method works best because it allows the meat to heat all the way through without burning the exterior.

An important distinction between barbecuing and grilling is the use of indirect heat. Barbecuing can be done over gas, fire, or even wood, but the meat is not placed directly over the flame; this helps it cook slowly. If you choose to barbecue with charcoal or wood, you'll have to replace those heating elements throughout the cooking process to make sure the meat is always barbecuing at a consistent temperature. The most common temperature for barbecuing is between 200-300 F. For ease, heat conditions, and cleanup, most skilled in barbecuing opt for charcoal. Wood can also be used, such as hickory or cherry, and the wood will infuse flavor into the meat as it cooks.

Barbecue techniques and cooking tools vary worldwide. Tandoori is an Indian method that uses a clay pot (or sometimes a metal one). In Turkey, a mangal is used, which resembles an American-style grill made from metal with metal grates. In Mexico, the barbacoa method consists of digging a hole in the ground and then wrapping meat in maguey leaves before cooking it low and slow.

What Is Grilling?

Chicken cooking on a grill
Chicken cooking on a grill - Grandriver/Getty Images

In the United States, you can barbecue or grill on an American-style outdoor grill, but grilling involves direct heat; the best temperature for grilling is between 450-500 F. It's best for smaller cuts of meat, and either charcoal or gas are commonly used. When grilling, you can get more of a sear because the heat hits the food's exterior harder than barbecuing. It's great for thick steaks that you want to keep rare in the middle or thin chicken cutlets or burger patties that cook through quickly.

When grilling, the flavor from the heat source doesn't have as much time to absorb into the food, so you won't get the same flavor profile as if you were barbecuing using charcoal or wood. And since grilling often involves a sear on the outside of the meat, it's common to flip it halfway through cooking, which is unnecessary for barbecuing.

Read the original article on Daily Meal