Grilling on the BBQ and smoking meat have quite a bit of crossover. In many ways, they are two sides of the same coin. But you still have to ask: what are the significant differences between smoking and BBQ?
The most significant difference is temperature level. Both use indirect heat, but barbecue typically has higher temperatures. Smoking uses the lowest available temperatures, sometimes cooking at around 200, therefore taking the longest time.
In the rest of this article, we will dig into the details that cause a barbecue and smoker to be different. We will also look into the most significant difference in the cooking process.
What is Barbecuing?
Contrary to grilling (which uses direct heat), barbecue’s essence is cooking with large cuts. While grilling uses the grill’s surface to 204 degrees celsius, barbecuing involves lower temperature. Typically, you will see these recipes from 107 to 148 celsius or 225 to 300 Fahrenheit.
The barbecuing process holds a lot of similarities between other types of activities. Typically, your method of temperature control will depend on the type of barbecue you use. For example, you can easily control a gas grill with a knob. When using charcoal, you control the temperature by the level of coals.
By the end of the cooking process, you can still typically sear your food by turning up the heat. Barbecuing is still commonly done on a grill, but smoking is a different animal.
What is Smoking?
Smoking is the slowest version of all of the cooking methods discussed on this list. By using quality wood chips, chunks, or pellets, wood smoke what cooks your food. Much like barbecue, the critical element is “low and slow,” which means lower temperature over an extended time.
Smoking can cause cooking times of your food to take upwards of 24 hours. The most significant difference between grilling and this is that extended wait. Combine that with the indirect burning of wood, and literal smoke is cooking your meal.
Both barbecuing and smoking lead to incredibly tender meats, but the significant difference comes from cooking times and charcoal usage. Smoking burns actual wood, such as hickory, to get natural smoky wood flavors from what you burn.
How are Smoking and Barbecuing Similar?
Both cooking methods can cook a variety of animals:
- Pork shoulder
You can also use different wood types, like cherry or hickory, to enhance the smoky flavor. They can also use moisture treys to ensure the insides of your chosen meat are moist.
Can You Get a Grill To Combine All Three Cooking Methods?
While smokers are the only cooker in a vertical variety, all three can technically come in the same machine. To find a device that can handle all three, look for something with an offset chamber to place the wood or charcoal.
Remember that indirect cooking is the key to what makes your smoker/BBQ unique. The “grill” portion can seer your meat, which can get you a crispy outside with a moist inside.