Wait, wait! Am I BBQing or Grilling?

We would like to talk about the difference between BBQ, grilling and smoking meat. This may be a entry-level blog post, but that's ok. It's a topic some people don't understand, which is also ok. I over hear people talking all the time about how they are going to throw a steak on the BBQ. Now this isn't totally wrong, but it's certainly not right. Some people believe BBQ is with charcoal and grilling is with gas. This is also incorrect. But why you ask? Before we get ahead of ourselves, let's define some of the words. 


Barbecue (Dictionary.com)

A framework, as a grill or a spit, or a fireplace for cooking meat or vegetables over an open fire.

Barbecue or BBQ (To pitmasters)

Cooking meat or vegetables at 275 to 450 degrees over an open fire.


Smoking (Dictionary.com)

To cure (meat, fish, etc.) by exposure to smoke.

Smoking (To pitmasters)

Infusing smoke flavor using hard wood. Temp is between 200-275 degrees. This is also called low and slow.


Grilling (Dictionary.com)

To cook (meat, fish, etc) by direct heat, as under a grill or over a hot fire, or (of meat, fish, etc) to be cooked in this way.

Grilling (To pitmasters)

Cooking over 500 degrees, normally for anything that needs searing. Cooks all food very hot and fast. Most steakhouse searing temps are around 650-700 degrees. Not all home BBQ grills can get that hot. 


Cold Smoke (To BBQ people)

There is no definition on dictionary.com of this, but to us in the BBQ world it has a lot of meaning. Cold Smoking is keeping your temp super low at 90-100 degrees. It is used to cure meats and smoke cheeses. Very few people are doing this a home. 


This should help a lot.

This should help a lot.

As we can see the Dictionary.com meaning is a bit different from what us pit masters know. Cooking over an open flame has a lot to do with two things, time and temp. It does not have anything to do with whether you have a gas or charcoal grill. Now as far as using the correct wordage, the definitions above can give you an appropriate term. Say you're grilling burgers at 250 degrees, let's talk about why this is inaccurate. First, grilling is cooking fast at 400+ degrees. Second, burgers should be BBQed as the temps are lower and cook time is slower. Lastly, 250 degrees is for smoking. Is it starting to make any sense?


But hey. If it tastes good, there really isn't any right or wrong in BBQ cooking. Just because you learn the terms doesn't mean you can cook, but hell it may help you understand what you're doing. I started writing this blog to help you understand the lingo. If anyone has any questions, please feel free to comment or shoot us an email.