BBQ vs Grilling

BBQ vs Grilling! There’s this huge debate that has been going on for a long time as people think that barbecue and grilling are the same especially when they are discussing topics like outdoor cooking.

So, in this guide about BBQ vs Grilling, I will be giving you some information about barbecue and grilling and also how different they both are.

Although I might deny the fact that this might be true, that will only be limited to some other countries around the world.

This is because in the United States, barbecue and grilling are definitely different things and this is so mostly in the Southern.

The difference between these two is nothing something you cannot realize without learning about outdoor cooking for a while so, let’s get to the important details about this BBQ vs Grilling guide.

Going Down the History (BBQ vs Grilling)

I will be starting from about 491-years ago with Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo who was then a Spanish writer and historian.

He was the man that was all about bringing the New World into the light and what he referred to as grating or a trivet over a pit was what he noticed from the natives roasting meat on woven wooden sticks over coals.

In his history book, De la Historia General y Natural de las Indias, he was the first person to write the word “Barbacoa” and what Barbacoa meant, was to define the authentic grill and not the technique or way of cooking.

He was also quoting the now Central America which was then the Indians of Tierra Firme and fortunately the word Barbacoa finds itself in the English dictionaries as Barbecue.

About 500,000 years back was the time a man first domesticated fire so, it will be right to say that grilling has been way long down in history a long time before the barbecue.

But now, we are only thinking of grilling just be when we use fire to cook our hamburgers and hot dogs in our backyard.

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So, the bottom line of this is that barbecue and grilling make use of separate styles even though they happen to have the same roots.

In this guide will be more details about barbecue and grilling achieving the goal of BBQ vs Grilling.

What Is The Difference Between Barbecuing and Grilling?

The short response to this is often time. So, the difference between Barbecuing and Grilling is precisely just the time it takes to prepare and cook the food, and also the sort of heat you are making use of to cook it.


Barbecuing is just solely about cooking food slow and low. And, also act of making use of indirect heat and smoke that’s gotten from the burning wood or coal.

Barbecuing is the normal method of cooking cuts of meat such as ribs, pork shoulder, or brisket.

And, to get soft, juicy, and also a delicious taste in your mouth from the meat using this method of cooking will only require your patience as it will take a few hours.

So, if you are working in a barbecue restaurant, BBQ joint, or even at home, you should make sure your customers or probably even guests are being entertained some other way as they wait.

You can also make use of marinade or dry rub to douse your meat before putting it to the smoke and this is sure a good method to make food that goes quite well with barbecue sauce.


Grilling is just a quick way or method to quench or satisfy your hunger or that of your guests, and customers in some minutes.

And, grilling makes use of high and direct heat which is quite the opposite of barbecuing.

You can make use of this technique of cooking to grill chicken, steaks, hamburgers, hot dogs, seafood, and pork chops. Vegetables are also compatible with grilling.

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Grilling is easy but, it also has its disadvantage as you can get your food burnt easily using this method.

So, for grilling, your full attention is required and you should also learn a few basics about grilling and even how to use direct and indirect heat.

And, I will say both barbecue and grilling will produce food or meat that goes well with barbecue sauce.

The Main Standard to Differentiate BBQ From Grilling

There are majorly 6 main standards to differentiate between barbecue and grilling and they are;

  • The Sort of Heat
  • Location of the Fire
  • Cooking Period
  • The Cut of Meat
  • Smoke or Not
  • Temperature Range


The Sort of Heat

Often, the sort of heat used for barbecue is convection heat, with a little conduction and radiant heat.

Location of the Fire

The location of the fire for barbecue is always placed in an indirect position to the side or even distant from the food.

For people making use of a charcoal grill, the hot coals are all pushed to one side or distant as they will be when using an offset smoker.

And, while for a gas grill, all you need to do is to only turn one or two burners and leave the rest off.

Cooking Period

The cooking period for making a barbecue is hours and the estimation is around from 4 hours to about 18 hours.

The Cut of Meat

Meats that are suitable or compatible for barbecue are thick meats that have quite a good amount of fat and also connective tissues such as pork butt, brisket, ribs, and so on.

Smoke or Not

Smoke has its usefulness in barbecuing. This is for the extra flavor it adds so, yes, smoke. And, wood chunks, pellets, and chips are where you get this smoke from.

Temperature Range

People that live at higher altitudes should go for temperatures that range a little lower than 225 degrees Fahrenheit. But, the recommended temperature range is from 225 degrees Fahrenheit to about 275 degrees Fahrenheit.

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The Sort of Heat

The preferable and recommended sort of heat for grilling is high, strong conduction heat. You can also go for radiant heat.

Location of the Fire

The fire should be located directly under the meat. And, if you are making use of a charcoal grill, you should have an equal layer of hot coals.

And, all the burners should be turned on when it comes to the usage of a gas grill for grilling.

Cooking Period

Grilling does not take much time. So, it will be quick and fast. And, for the estimated period of cooking will fall around 10 minutes to 30 minutes.

Although, the amount of food or meat is the determinant of how long it will take to grill it.

The Cut of Meat

Meats that are suitable for grilling are thin meats like pork chops, hamburgers, steaks, sausages, and so on. Vegetables and seafood are also compatible for grilling.

Smoke or Not

Since grilling is always quick and fast, there won’t be time for the smoke to affect the meat. So, this means no smoke for grilling.

Temperature Range

The recommended temperature range for grilling falls around 500 degrees Fahrenheit to 700 degrees Fahrenheit.

Conclusion on BBQ vs Grilling

The types of grills recommended for barbecue include Offset Smoker or Stick Burners, Ugly Drum Smokers, Water Smokers, Kettle Style Grills, Kamado Grills, and Gas Grills.

And, while for grilling include Kettle Style Grills, Kamado Grills, Gas Grills, and Electric Grills.

With everything discussed above, you should now have a good and better understanding of BBQ vs Grilling.

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