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Grilling and Barbecue: What is the difference?

While browsing the various amounts of barbecues on offer in our store. You may often be wondering why some of the listings make reference to “Grilling” food while some offer “Barbecue”.


It can often be a confusing subject when trying to discover new recipes and new ways to cook online. The hardest of hardcore take their grilling and barbecuing very seriously and are meticulous in categorizing it. It might be a little off putting when you just want to know the recipe for a hearty quarter pounder when you stumble onto a debate on the merits of grilling versus barbecue. But don’t worry, while there is a difference, it’s easy to explain and you will soon know your way around.


What is grilling?


If you ever, you were putting the sausages on your previous grill and waiting till they charred black. You were grilling this entire time. Grilling is the oldest form of cooking in human history. And for good reason. It was fast, reliable and all you needed was to have a good source of dry kindling, some rocks and some sticks for your meat. While we have evolved beyond the neanderthal way of cooking (especially since we have cutlery now).


The principle remains the same. You cook your meat, fish and vegetables by placing it on top of a very hot fire, usually provided by charcoals and wood. More modern grills can also be powered by gasses like propane.  The combination of heat and fresh air helps flavor the meat, giving it a unique taste.


Speaking of the meat. Grilling is reserved for certain cuts of meat as well, such as steaks and fish. These foods are essential for grilling alongside prepared foods like sausages and burgers. More than likely, you were already grilling before you even knew it.


What is barbecue?



Barbecue is an altogether different matter. While its origins can be traced back to Spain in the 16th Century. The modern, popular form of barbecue as we know it was pioneered in the Southern United States in the 19th century.

As many prime meat cuts were out of the pricing range of the poor, A “Low and Slow” method using wood and coals was created that would help soften the meat for consumption. The principle of Barbecue is to, again, cook “Low and Slow” using a combination and wood and coals over a low heat. The heat of the coals and smoke slowly cook the meat. Depending on the cut, the cooking can take up to 18 hours.

So it is certainly a method that requires a good deal of preparation and patience. Also like grilling, certain meat cuts are essential to barbecue such as pork ribs. Pork is the most common Barbecue meat as it was cheaper to buy in the more poverty stricken areas of America. To this day, Pork remains the most popular with many BBQ restaurants in the US primarily being “Rib Joints” serving Pork Rib all day.

Although you are not limited to pork and recipes such as “Beer Can Chicken” (Pictured) have become increasingly popular. Barbecue has become increasingly popular in Ireland, although there is still a bit of confusion of what it means. But always remember, it’s “Low and Slow”.



Need some more help?

While there still can be debates over what constitutes grilling and barbecue (Some experts even contest that barbecue is a form of grilling). Both are excellent ways to cook and prepare delicious food. If you just want a grill to make flame grilled burgers in minutes or a large smoker that makes delicious pulled pork if you are prepared to wait a bit (Or even get you a grill that can do both).


Have a browse of our online store or pop into our retail store. The Outdoor Scene will be more than happy to explain the difference and get the grill that suits you.


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