The Difference Between Grilling and Barbecuing

  • A platter of cooked ribs next to a bowl of barbecue sauce and a basting brush
In the battle of BBQ vs. grill, there is a clear winner.

When you barbecue, meat is fall-off-the-bone tender with amazing flavor. Grilling, on the other hand, is not a whole lot different than just making dinner on your cooktop.

Many people think they’re barbecuing when they crank their grill up, throw a rack of ribs on it, and slather on barbecue sauce. But the truth is that’s just grilling.

The Grill and Barbecue

Barbecue is often prepared in a smoker, which can range in price from $100 to $10,000. While that price is steep, they can also be made on a good old-fashioned charcoal or gas grill.

Either way, the trick to barbecuing is to cook over indirect heat. If you cook on direct heat, that’s called grilling—and it’s more suited for burgers, steaks, or kabobs.

To barbecue on a charcoal grill, rake all the coals into two piles on opposite sides. The empty space in the middle is where you’ll cook your meat low and slow.

Barbecuing on a gas grill is easier. You turn half of your grill on and cook over the other half.

Where There’s Smoke … There’s Flavor

You can cook over indirect heat and end up with fall-off-the-bone ribs or chicken, but the second element to good barbecue is the flavor.

The secret to great barbecue is in the wood chips, which can be bought at hardware stores or big superstores such as Walmart. These wood chips come in flavors such as apple, hickory, mesquite, and oak.

About 15 minutes before grilling, soak your wood chips in water, apple juice, or even beer. To use them on a charcoal grill, add them to the burning coals. To use them on a gas grill, pick up a wood chip smoking box from Amazon and place it between your cooking grate and the burners.

If you’ve got burgers, you can go ahead and grill them. However, for true barbecue, you’ll want to cook low and slow.

About StorageMart

At StorageMart, we’re proud to be a part of the communities we serve. We’re always up for an order of ribs or some barbecue chicken, especially when sharing a meal with family or friends.

About Sarah Little

Sarah Little, Marketing Director at StorageMart, holds a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration. She serves as Vice President on the Board of Directors for the Central Missouri Foster Care & Adoption Association, a non-profit group dedicated to improving the lives of children.

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