The Difference Between BBQ Grilling & Smoking

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The Difference Between BBQ Grilling and Smoking can be abit confusing for some, we all have heard about barbecuing, but we are unaware of the real tricks in it. Barbecuing is also a form of art.

To a person who is new to this art may get confused, because cooking meat in an open fire is a really tricky method. In order to get a really good and delicious bbq dish, one must have a lot of patience.

Barbecuing can be done in two methods: through grilling and smoking. Grilling is the quickest method of cooking meat over a direct source of dry heat, whereas, smoking is a slow process, where the food is kept at a particular distance from the fire. Now let us take the two separately, to know the real processing.

BBQ Grilling

Grilling is of two types: direct and indirect. But before going into the details,let me tell you that there are three varieties of grills: charcoal grill, gas grill and electric grill. Charcoal grills are relatively inexpensive when compared to the other two.

Now we’ll go back to the types of cooking. Direct method is a high heat method and is used for cooking relatively small pieces of food. Steaks, chops, chicken breasts,etc are some of the typical foods that can be grilled directly. In indirect method, as the name suggests, the food is kept to the side of the heat source.

It is somewhat like baking a cake or such type of foods.Now we will move on to smoking.

BBQ Smoking

Smoking is the finest way to cook food,even though it takes time. If grilling is best for cooking smaller pieces, smoking is best for cooking larger pieces. Roasts, ham, ribs, brisket, etc are some of the foods that can be smoked. One must maintain a steady temperature, to come up with a deliciously smoked food.

The normal, suited temperature for smoking is between 200-225 degrees. If you cook the meat until it’s 165 degrees in the middle, it would make the meat more tastier,as the smoke flavour gets deep into it. For basic bbq smoking, you can use the regular grill.

The only thing that one must be aware while smoking is, the selection of right type of wood. Because, each wood is different in its own way. So we have to experiment with all sorts of wood to find out which one is the best. Smokers may vary in shapes and sizes.There are smokers running in gas and charcoal.

Time to smoke

But the heat coming from any type of smoker is a cooler one, which is why it takes a lot of time to smoke.

Now to end with it, barbecuing has to undergo one more process, that’s topping it with sauce.In fact it is the topmost ingredient, which one can’t omit while barbecuing.Types of sauce varies according to the region.

If vinegar-base sauce is typical in Southern United States, tomato-base sauce is typical in Western United States. The best time to apply sauce is during the last stage of cooking. ie, when you are sure that the meat is well cooked,because,sugar is one of the main ingredients in barbecue sauces and it tends to burn easily.

So you must cook the meat before you burn the sugar.

2 BBQ Techniques You Should Know

When it comes to barbecuing, there are two main schools of thought for the techniques that you can use.

The first of these techniques – and the most popular method for those who grill in their back yards – is the style where the food is cooked directly over the source of heat. This way, the food is rapidly cooked on a hot grill suspended directly over the charcoals, the wood, or the gas burners. Rarely is the lid ever closed.

Any foods, including the most tender cuts, hamburgers, steaks, kabobs of all kinds, chicken, and even vegetables are quickly seared and cooked to perfection using this technique. If sauces are desired, they can be added before hand, during the cooking process, or even after the food comes off the grill.

These choices will all create different and enjoyable tastes and flavors.

Using Heat Indirectly

The second barbeque cooking technique uses heat indirectly. This is more appropriate when you’re cooking much larger or whole cuts of meat, such as especially thick steaks, roasts, a whole hog, or a pork shoulder. When you’re cooking using this method, the food is cooked away from the actual source of heat.

This usually requires a water pan of some kind in order to maintain the moisture level of the food. The temperatures generally sit in around 250ºF. During this cooking method, the lid of the barbeque remains closed most of the time, and the length of the cooking is much longer than in the first method.

When you’re using an indirect barbecue cooker, there is usually an additional fire box that allows you to combine charcoal and wooden logs for burning. This allows the heat and the smoke to rise through the cooking chamber where the meat is, so that it is heated perfectly.

The rule of thumb of this technique is a low temperature for a long time.

Don’t cook too quickly

No matter which method you use, it’s important not to cook your meat too quickly. If the internal temperature of your meat rises too quickly as you cook it, the water and the fat within it will be expelled before the collagen is able to melt.

This means that your cut will be dry and tough. However, you cannot cook too slowly or you will risk a bacterial contamination. Though there is a fine line for barbecuing properly, it’s important to find that line and stick to it.

If you’re already dealing with a cut of meat that is tough, such as a brisket or a pork roast, consider cooking slowly as the collagen adds flavor to the meat.

If you buy a less tough, more expensive cut, you can cook at a higher temperature for a shorter period of time. This is why ribs and steaks take such a short time to cook, while pork shoulders or beef brisket can run up to 20 hours.

As a final note, it’s important to have fun while you barbeque! Your pleasure will come through in your cooking as it will leave you motivated, and willing to try new and interesting things.

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About Joyce Walcott 41 Articles
I had the opportunity of working and learning alongside the best chefs in Barbados many years ago until I became an Executive Chef, I still cook and write on all things cooking.