Do you know the difference between barbecuing and grilling? Both techniques make some amazing food, but there is one very important difference between them. Its getting warmer and we are ready to head out of our kitchen and onto our decks to do some grilling. Or is it barbecuing? As it turns out, even though we tend to use the words “barbecue” and “grill” interchangeably, there is a difference between barbecuing and grilling. And, any outdoor chef will tell you so!
This is what most people do in their backyards and this is also what most of us mean when we say “barbecue.” Grilling is cooking foods hot and fast (usually 500-550 degrees Fahrenheit, or higher). It is usually done over direct heat, where the flame (either gas or charcoal) is directly below the meat. Meats like steaks, pork chops, seafood, hamburgers, and hot dogs are great for grilling. Many vegetables and some fruits are also great cooked on the grill.
Barbecuing is cooking foods low and slow. Barbecued food is cooked over very low heat (usually 225 degrees Fahrenheit or lower) for a very long time (hours, or even all day long). Barbecuing is usually used for cuts of meat like ribs, pork shoulder, beef brisket, or whole chickens or turkeys. These types of meats tend to be tougher, and need the low, slow heat of a barbecue (or a slow-cooker) in order to get them good and tender. Barbecuing is often done with indirect heat, where the heat source is connected to the chamber where the meat is held, but the meat is not directly over the flames like on a grill. Charcoal or wood are commonly used as the heat source for barbecue. Different types of wood give off different smoky flavors that the meat can absorb.
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