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The Ultimate Face-off: Grilling Vs. BBQ

Grilling Vs. Bbq
Making a decision has never been harder! With the top choices being grilling and barbecuing, the meat that we eat tastes differently on either one. So, in order to help you choose, here's a bunch of things that both cooking methods use.
Arun Prabhu
Last Updated: Feb 26, 2018
There seems to be a slight misunderstanding when it comes to knowing the real difference between barbecuing and grilling. This problem mostly results from locations. Simply put, if you're down south in Texas, a barbecue would mean chomping down juice beef, pork ribs and some coleslaw. It would be mostly pigs as wild pigs were a staple in the old days. Now, when you're up north, BBQ stands for hot dogs and burgers with family and friends, downed with some beer. Because of that, you just might confuse yourself between traditional grilling and the art of making the perfect barbecue. Here is what they are actually all about.
► Grilling
Grilling is what you would mean if you thought about cooking in open flames and in direct contact with the source of heat. As far as the heat is concerned, it is much higher compared to barbecuing.
The Speed
When you say grilling, you mean cooking it fast. You get home at 7 in the evening, with all the meat preparations done with already. You get the grill out, start it up and cook your meal in 30 minutes or so. Grilling is much faster than barbecuing. Although a typical grilling goes for about less than an hour or maybe till a few short hours, it's still much faster than barbecuing.
The Meat
Grilled pork chops
The cut is tender. You will only be grilling thinner slices of meat. This is one of the main reasons of the shorter time required, along with the high heat. The cut can range from your New York strip, Filet Mignon and porterhouse steaks to flank steaks and skirt steaks. It is important to choose the right size of meat for grilling, generally around 1 inch or 1¼ of an inch. Also note that meat near the bone takes longer to cook, which results in some tossing and turning of the meat.
The Way
Grilled chicken breast
You will see a world of differences in the two methods of cooking. For your regular 1 inch steaks, you'll spend around 7 to 10 minutes on one side, then flip it over on to the other side. A common problem with grilling comes with tender meat, like skinned chicken breasts. The high heat makes it very important to get the timings right to the second, or you risk drying out or burning the meat.
The Flame
Hot flaming grill
Heat source for grilling is gas or coal. Most of the time we use gas, because it is smokeless and doesn't change the taste of the meat. In fact, gas is easy to start, clean to use and doesn't really need time to fire up like coal. Grill enthusiasts may also prefer coal over gas, as it adds that particular smoky taste to the meat. If you like that, go for a coal fired grill. You can also get the whole art of spreading the coal to get the right kind of grilling.
The Taste
Since the heat source is closer to the meat, you get a charred effect on the meat. This has to be done carefully, as the slightest extension in time can lead to over-cooking the meat.
► Barbecuing
The whole atmosphere of a barbecue, especially if it's the one from down south, can be enjoyed very much. Your typical barbecuing is done over slow heat, letting the meat cook evenly and slowly. The heat is much lower than a proper grilling. High heats for a slow barbecuing are logically disastrous.
The Speed
Barbecue pork ribs
Slow cooked meat can sometimes be an understatement when it comes to typical barbecues. You have whole pigs slowly getting cooked over hot coals for days together. That includes the underground type of barbecue, where the entire pig is buried under for days so the meat becomes juicy and tender. That, remains as one of the principles of a good barbecue - making the meat tender.
The Meat
Barbecue with meat
Barbecues generally use tough cuts of meat like beef briskets and pork ribs, whole chicken and whole pigs too. The meat has to be thick and marinated to the perfect extent. The advantage of a slow cooked barbecue is that you won't char the meat in case you overcook it.
The Way
Your average heat source would be charcoal or wood. You can use gas as the heat source, but won't be as great as the traditional ones. Actually, with the kind of wood you get for barbecuing, you'll just want to stay on it for the rest of your life! You get to choose from Apple, Alder, Maple, Hickory, Mesquite, Oak, Pecan and Cherry.
The Smoke
The entire apparatus is built outdoors, you cannot have that kind of smoke indoors. The problem with barbecuing is the amount of space it needs and the possible smoke problems. If you live in a house with a small backyard (or non at all) or have family(or neighbors) with asthma problems, you might want to skip this, or wait for your neighbor to take a vacation. The other problem is the weather. It will be very hard to get a barbecue going in the middle of winter, especially if it snows where you live.
The Taste
A true barbecue always gives you the perfect smoked flavor to your meat, undeniably tasty and boastful. Even if you can't have a huge barbecue grill, you can use your oven(provided it can go as low as 95C and 80C), with the perfect marinate and still enjoy good, tender meat.
All in all, if you're in a hurry or like the charred taste, go for grilling. If you like to torture yourself in order to taste a piece of meat heaven, go for the barbecue.

In my opinion, the barbecue is the way to go. Yes, you need a lot of planning ahead, get a lot of ingredients together and then keep at it for hours at a time. But that's the price you pay for perfection!
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