Barbecuing and Grilling Differences

People often use the term barbecue when referring to foods that are grilled, but barbecuing and grilling are two completely different processes.


  • Barbecuing refers to foods that are cooked with a long, slow process using indirect, low-heat generated by smoldering logs or wood chips that smoke-cook the food.
  • The fuel and heat source are separate from the cooking chamber, but the cooking chamber contains enough heat to properly cook the food over a long period of time.
  • The cooking chamber fills with smoke, giving the food its characteristic smoked flavor, which varies depending on the type of wood that is used for the fuel.
  • The best temperature for barbecuing is between 200°F and 300°F. If the temperature rises above 300°F, it is considered grilling.


  • Grilling refers to foods that are cooked quickly and directly over high heat.
  • Grilling temperatures typically reach 500°F or more, but any temperature above 300°F is considered a grilling temperature.
  • The high heat of grilling sears the surface of meat, creating a flavorful browned crust.

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