Grilling vs BBQ: What is the Difference Between Grilling and BBQ?

What is the Difference Between Grilling and BBQ?

We are talking about two of the most popular cooking methods of our time. But, there's a problem - many people are getting confused about these cooking techniques and thinking that these are interchangeable terms.

Now, what's the truth? Are these methods too similar?

We are going to find out shortly. Before you are done with this article, you will learn a lot of things about grilling and BBQ.

Because here, we are gonna talk about the nature of both these cooking methods, their similarities, and the differences.

And by the end of this article, you’ll know exactly which method you should go for.
So, let’s begin! 


The Similarity

The only common thing these methods share is that they both include cooking meat and other foods with a particular type of heat source beneath them. Yes, that’s it. There’s no other similarity between them. They are different from each other in a lot of ways. Let’s talk about them.


barbecue steak t bone

Barbecuing refers to a particular cooking method where you cook meat by taking a lot of time. Yes, waiting for hours to have the yummy dish on your platter needs patience. Now, does that mean it’s not worth going through the trouble?

Of course not; it will be worth every second. For, there’s nothing tastier than those extremely soft and tender pieces of meat. Now, what’s the preferred temperature for BBQ? Well, professionals are seen applying 200-degree F to 300-degree F to the food, which, of course, is done indirectly.

Yes, unlike grilling, you keep the meat at a fair distance from flames. This way, the meat gains the most delightful flavor very slowly. So, you only try barbecuing when you have time. Otherwise, it's most likely to drive you crazy with the endless hours of cooking.

We know that the heat transferring process in BBQ is convection. And that’s why you don’t need the temperature to be as high as that of grilling where the heat transfers via conduction and radiation.

Now, what should you do with the lid? Do you leave it open as chefs do during grilling? No, you don't. If you want the best result, keeping the lid closed will be the way to go.

• Suitable for

Pick up the toughest of meat pieces for barbecuing and watch the magic happen. Yes, the ideal cuts of meats for BBQ are the ones that give a cook a hard time when he's cooking them using any other method.

See, BBQ is all about turning solid pieces of meat into tender, juicy ones. And that's why we see the professional chefs use this technique for cooking cuts like ribs and briskets. The slow heating process will make them yummy as ever. 

• Cooking Time

We’ve said that you need to be patient with barbecuing. Now, how long does it take to cook the food in this method? Well, it varies according to meat sizes. Though you are unlikely to get it done before at least a couple of hours, it can be as long as 3 quarters of a day. 

And, if you are cooking a huge dish, you should warn your guests beforehand that the cooking time will be really long.


When it comes to grilling, you don’t have to wait all day to enjoy your food. If you love to cook fast, this should be your favorite cooking method. We’ve seen this cooking technique to be more commonly practiced than BBQ. For, it doesn’t require that much skill as it does with barbecuing.

All you need to do is make sure that your food is neither overcooked nor under cooked. This is very important since we are dealing with direct heating over here. Yes, you need to be alert all the time, which shouldn't be difficult considering the short cooking time.

Grilling offers incredible versatility. I couldn’t help but be amazed at the variety of foods this cooking method can deal with. You can even enjoy eating a grilled vegetable. Great, isn't it? Now, what's the heat source in case of grilling? Well, it's a charcoal grill most of the time. And gas is also used for the purpose.

The temperature is a lot higher with grilling than barbecuing. And that’s the reason you are getting your meat cooked in no time. Now, make sure that you are flipping the meat from time to time unless you want one side of it burnt and the other one under-cooked.

For, we are talking about direct and extreme heat, remember? It’s not 200 degrees anymore; rather, it’s as high as 500 degrees F at the very least. So, keep a watchful eye on your dish, will you?

You can put the lid on or off according to the requirement of cooking. As for me, I like to leave it open. This way, I get the desired result out of the grilling. Now, is there any seasoning needed when it comes to grilling? The answer is, no. For, the fat that is peeled off the meat ends up serving the purpose.

• Suitable for

I would recommend this method for tender pieces of meat. The smaller they are, the better. For, the heat is extremely high for cooking the meat in no time.

If it was any large meat cuts, then there would’ve been uneven cooking. And nothing breaks the heart of a cook like the sight of disproportionately cooked food. So, you should choose tender cuts like chicken breasts, steaks, etc. for grilling. Also, seafood, fruits, and vegetables can be great options.

• Cooking Time

We are talking about a way faster cooking method than BBQ. You would be ecstatic to know that you need only about 10-15 minutes to cook the most perfect grilled meat. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? But, keep in mind that the piece of meat you are cooking should be tender and small.

Difference Between Barbecuing and Grilling

Grilling vs BBQ: Which One Should You Choose

Now, if you are someone who favors smoky flavor, then I’d suggest that you go for bbq because, in grilling, there’s no use of smoke.

However, if you are short in time and want juicy meat in a short period, then grilling is the best option for you as it won’t consume much of your time. On the other hand, bbq will take up hours of your time and that much free time is available to us only during holidays.

Moreover, the method also depends on the type of meat you’re gonna cook. For a better idea, go through the above-mentioned “suitable for” sections of both the methods.

Conclusion: If you are a beginner, you should try grilling at first. Then once you master the art of cooking, you can take an interest in barbecuing. 

We hope that our article was worth your time. If there’s anything you want to know, you are very much welcome to ask in the comments section. We will be happy to reply.

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Theresa Lori

Hi, I'm Theresa. My passion for grilling delicacy gradually built during the time I was living with my parents. My family members especially my mother was a great fan of grilled dishes to and from the love of food. I started preparing smoked food with my mom. This bonding helped me to know more and more about to smoke, grill what always I share on So, in two words you can call me a BBQ lover.

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