Barbecue Cooking

What is the difference between preparing a barbecue and grilling?

In most households, having a barbecue and grilling are synonymous. However, while the two are quite similar there are distinct differences. Most people believe that the difference between barbecuing and grilling is that when barbecuing one must use barbecue sauce. And while yes, barbecue sauce can be a fundamental ingredient in barbecue, it is not the only defining factor of barbecuing. Barbecuing does refer to a form of cooking that generally takes place outdoors, as does grilling. However, grilling solely applies to cooking food, especially meat, on a grill at higher temperatures, and barbecuing refers to a form of cooking that takes place using indirect heat and therefore requires more time. While one can barbecue on a grill, barbecue can also be prepared in smokers, barbecue pits, and in water smokers.¬

How do the various methods of barbecuing differ?

Barbecuing with a wood-smoker is perhaps the eldest form of barbecue. However, a wood-smoker is not a smokehouse (a room like a meat refrigerator where meat is slowly cooked at a low temperature with smoke). Generally, real wood-smokers use either wood or charcoal as fuel, attain higher temperatures and require shorter cooking times than a smokehouse. While there are many parts to a wood-smoker, the three essential parts are the firebox, cooking chamber and the smoke chimney. Each part can allow one to prepare food, particularly meat, using different methods ranging from grilling, to indirect cooking, and wood-smoking. Each is a valid form of barbecuing.

Using a grill, whether it be a wood/charcoal burning grill or a gas grill, is not actually barbecuing, but rather grilling. The reason it is considered grilling rather than barbecuing is because the food is cooked over direct heat. By using direct heat, the necessary cooking time is shortened, but the frequency with which one must flip or turn the food greatened.

Water smokers are a stand-alone type of smoker, that is generally smaller than a wood-smoker and may be seen as an alternative to a grill. In a water smoker, water is heated to boiling temperature, creating steam. The steam bonds with the smoke from the wood. The smoky steam actually collects around the items in the water smoker, allowing them to attain a smoked flavor. Generally, the temperature in a water smoker remains around 212 degrees Fahrenheit, allowing cooking done in water smoker to truly be considered barbecue.

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