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Beyond the BBQ: Demystifying the Differences Between Grilling and Barbecuing

Beyond the BBQ: Demystifying the Differences Between Grilling and Barbecuing

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Grilling is another way of cooking food. Grilling uses a heat source like charcoal, lump coal, propane and even natural gas. The flame creates heat which rises to the grilling rack located above the flame. This is where the raw meat is set and starts to absorb the heat and actually cook.

Different grills heat different ways which allows you to cook direct, indirect and with the correct grill you can even allow more of a convection style cook. A standard gas or propane grill the meat is usually cooked directly, meaning there is nothing between the flame and the meat. This method allows the food to be heated and cooked from the bottom.

If you start looking into Kamado grills you can in fact start cooking more versatile cooks. A Kamado grill, like The Big Green Egg, allows you to cook directly, indirect and convection. With the Big Green Eggs shape of a dome at the top it allows the BGE to cook with a convection style.

Convection style is where the heat is radiating from all sides of the meat. As the heat rises in the BGE the dome deflects the heat back to the meat from all direction which is how it is able to cook as a convection style heat, very similar to a convection oven.

The Big Green Egg and others that have followed the design also comes with whats called a place setter or conv”egg”tor. This is basically a deflector that sits between the heat source and the raw meat. This is what is known as indirect cooking.

It is indirect cooking because the heat is deflected up and around the plate setter which forces it up around the food and allowing the food to cook from all angles and not just from the under side.

This method is also best for smoking the meat in which you just keep the temp for a low and slow, which is usually around 225 – 250 degrees.

The more obvious method is direct on the Big Green Egg. This is simply cooking on a grate directly over the flame. This method is very popular for searing steaks, burgers, hot dogs, brats…Its basically the same as a propane or charcoal grill with the exception of the flavor.

The Big Green Egg uses lump charcoal which has added flavor to the food. Not only does it add flavor to the food but you have the option to use different types of wood like Mesquite, Apple, Hickory…which adds even another layer of flavor to the cook.

What is the Difference Between Barbecuing and Grilling?

Many people think barbecuing and grilling are the same thing but this just isn’t true. While barbecuing and grilling are both used interchangeably by a lot of people they are actually two different cooking methods.

Grilling is typically done at a much hotter temperature. This hotter temperature cooks the food much faster and for quite a few meats, it is definitely the way to go.

Typical items that are usually grilled instead of barbecued are meats like steak, burgers, hot dogs, brats, pork chops, chicken…The meats are usually less tough.

On the other hand, barbecuing is a method of cooking low and slow. These types of meat are usually more tough in which the fat needs to render down in order to get the meat tender. There is definitely a learning curve to this process so you don’t wind up with a dried piece of beef jerky, but once mastered it is a whole other different ball game.

Meat that is usually barbecued is pork shoulder or Boston butts, brisket, ribs…Things like burgers, chicken, pork chops are also good low and slow around 300 degrees but they are just as good grilled.

Once you get good at both you can start to advance yourself and start doing cooks like reverse searing. This process requires cooking a 2″ or so thick steak low and slow to about rare – medium rare.

Once this is achieve they are pulled and set aside. The vents on the Big Green Egg are then opened up to get it blazing hot which is about 600 degrees. Once achieved they are thrown back on the BGE for about one to two minutes on each side.

Even a steak house can’t beat this cooking method!


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