Understanding The Difference Between Grill And Barbecue

Difference-Between Grill And Barbecue

Do you know the difference between grill and barbecue? Nothing brings people together better than a meal and this makes cooking outdoors one of the best activities for bonding with your family and friends. Sharing juicy pieces of steak with your loved ones will provide you with great memories that you will cherish for long, but sometimes such gatherings end up in frustrations.

Preparing your meat the wrong way may result in it being undercooked, charred or worse remain stuck to the grill much the annoyance of the people anticipating the meat. When preparing meat, grilling and barbecuing are some of the best of ways of going about it in popular culture. Most people, however, use these two terms interchangeably but is that really the case?

Can one term be used in place of the other and still mean the same thing? Definitely not! Grilling and barbecuing are two distinct and unique ways of preparing meat and we will highlight the difference between grill and barbeque so as to help you prepare your meat in the right way.

The main Difference between Grill and Barbecue

Both of these methods will result in tasty pieces of meat but that is where the similarities end. The methods of preparation are different for each of these cooking styles and the outcomes are different as well. Let’s now take a look at the main difference between grill and barbecue.


This is the main difference between these two types of cooking. Both grilling and barbecuing have different heat requirements which we will highlight below.


grillingGrilling relies on the high and direct heat from a stove to prepare the meat. The high temperatures generated from the glowing charcoal in a charcoal stove or the flames from a gas stove radiate below the grill gate and this is what is used to cook the meal.

When preparing meat this way, the meat receives meat from only one direction and as such, you have to periodically flip the meat to ensure it cooks properly. Grilling relies on two forms of heat transfer to prepare the meat, that is, radiation and conduction.

Heat energy from the burning flames in the gas stove and the glowing charcoal reaches the meat through radiation and this helps in cooking the meat. The meat is also placed directly on the grill gate and this ensures that the meat receives heat energy through conduction when the grill gets heated up flames by the burning charcoal or gas flames.

Grilled meat gets its flavor when fat from the meat drips to the heating source and generates smoke that seasons the meat slightly. The temperature of the glowing charcoal and the gas flames can be in the region of 2000 – 3500F while that of the grill gate can be in the region of 500 – 700F, depending on the amount of coal burning in the stove or how high the gas stove has been turned up.


barbecuingBarbecuing is a slow and indirect method of preparing meat. In this method, flames from the burning coal or gas are far away from the meal being prepared hence its indirect nature. The flames can either be below the meat or to the side but not in direct contact with it.

When preparing the meat, the grill lid should always be kept closed so as to conserve the heat energy within the grill. Ambient heat circulates within the grill and reaches the meat by convection currents. The cooking temperatures within the grill do not exceed more than 300F which is a lot less than the temperatures used for direct grilling.

The type of meat preferred for each method of cooking

Each of these cooking methods is ideal for different cuts of meat. This is because different cuts and meat types require different heating temperatures to ensure they are cooked properly.


Since grilling relies on high and direct heat to prepare meals, you should only use it to cook small and tender meat types. These include soft steaks, pork chops, seafood and chicken breasts which cook quickly and hence are perfect for this type of direct and high heat cooking.


The slow and indirect form of cooking is ideal for large and tough pieces of meat that contain lots of connective tissues. Barbecuing will turn those sinewy and large pieces of meat into tender and succulent pieces for you and your family or guests.

Some of the cuts of meat that you can prepare this way include briskets, shoulders, and ribs. These parts contain heavily worked tissues and as such, they have to be cooked thoroughly and slowly for them to be ready for the dinner table.


This is another aspect that can be used to differentiate these forms of cooking. This because the different cuts and types of meat not only require different levels of heat but also need to be cooked for different periods of time for them to be ready for eating. Here is how long you need to prepare your meats using either of these methods before serving.


The direct and high heat method associated with grilling ensures that the meat is done in a short period of time. The average amount of time that you will need to prepare your meat when grilling is roughly 5 – 20 minutes depending on the type of meat and its size. You should, however, keep the pieces small so as to ensure that the meat is done properly.


The slow and indirect form of cooking that is barbecuing ensures that food takes longer to get ready when prepared this way. Meal preparation time can be as low as 2 hours and as much as 10 hours depending on the cut and the size.


Grilling and barbecuing are some of the best ways to prepare food. Most people, however, confuse the two and this article tries to highlight the difference between grill and barbecue. Read it comprehensively to understand what it takes to prepare meals using these two styles.

Tadej Kozar
About Tadej Kozar 55 Articles
Do you love to grill? If you do, then you are on the right website. I have a passion for grilling and I know how important it is to get the right grill. There are many different kinds of grills these days and I will help you to find the one that will suit your cooking needs and wishes.

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