What's the Difference Between BBQ Smoker and BBQ Grill Cooking?

So, you want to cook better slow-cook barbecue Thing is, you’re wondering whether you should use your outdoor gas grill for this, or purchase a smoker. Let’s take a look at some of the trade offs?

The BBQ Smoking vs. Grilling Question

There’s some confusion as to what constitutes BBQ Grilling vs BBQ Smoker preparation.  In short, grilling is the quickest method of cooking meat over a direct source of dry heat.  Think sizzle and searing… and those restaurant style grill marks.  That’s BBQ Grilling. Smoking  – on the other hand – is a slow process, where the food is kept away from direct heat or flame, and is instead cooked by being bathed in hot, smoky air.

BBQ Grilling

Using a standard charcoal, gas or (blech…) electric grill allows you to apply direct heat, indirect heat, or a combination of the two.

Direct method is a high heat method and is used for cooking relatively small pieces of food. Steaks, chops, chicken breasts,etc are some of the typical foods that can be grilled directly. In indirect method, as you might guess, the food is kept to the side of the heat source. What’s going on here is that you’re effectively using the grill as an oven – such as you would in your kitchen.

BBQ Smoking

Smoking your meat is really the only way for you to achieve that true “smoked” flavor.  Larger cuts of meat like roasts, ham, ribs, brisket, and the like are great examples of what you should consider smoking.  One must maintain a constant, even temperature, so that you wind up with awesome, smoked food. On average, you’re shooting for a temperature between 200-225 degrees F.

There are a lot of choices out there for BBQ smokers – including water smokers and the traditional drum style.  One of the main things to understand is that you need to choose the right type of wood.

Feel free to experiment with all sorts of wood to find out which one is the best. Smokers can vary in shapes and sizes.There are smokers running in gas and charcoal.  But just remember, the heat coming from any type of smoker is a cooler one, so you need to plan for extra time.

BBQ Smoker Resources:

  1. BBQ Smoker Info for Beginners
  2. BBQ Tri-tip Roast Suggestions

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Comments on What's the Difference Between BBQ Smoker and BBQ Grill Cooking?

chefroy708 @ 3:03 pm #

i prefer smoker but you can smoke on gas. wrap soaked smoke chips in a foil pouch and poke holes all throguh it with a fork and put it on gas grill with lid closed. it will work almost the same but i dont think it works as well as smoke chips on charcoals

Steve G @ 10:01 pm #

The difference is about 100 degrees. For slow BBQ learn how to cook with indirect heat, not “over” the flames. Smokers, yes you could BBQ depending in the type, smokers “smoke” at about 200 degree constant where as a BBQ you’re actually “baking” the product over low heat, 200 and above. BBQ with 4 independent adjustable burners is what I use.

Cheap BBQ Grill @ 5:23 am #

“A wonderful article you posted. That is so informatory and creative. Please keep these excellent posts coming. You helped me so much. Thanks for sharing!”