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Smoking, Grilling, Frying, Barbecuing and Roasting, Do You Really Know the Differences?

not enough time for bbq

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5 Cooking Methods to Make Your Summer Extra Sizzling

Summer is right around the corner, so it’s about time to dust off your grill to get ready for some barbecue fun under the sun. There’s just something mouthwatering when the grill is fired up and the scent of barbecued food permeates the air. Gathering with friends over steaming plates of freshly cooked hot food is just a great way to bond and spend the afternoon.

You don’t have to be a certified chef to prepare for an afternoon summer picnic. There are many distinct ways to get food ready from BBQ vs grill vs smoking vs roasting vs frying. Many people often interchange these three concepts, thinking that barbecuing, grilling, and roasting are all the same; but in reality, these processes are actually different, and they also yield different results. Only smoking and frying procedures stand out on their own. Knowing the differences between barbecuing, grilling, smoking, roasting, and frying will help you get the results you want.

Slaving over a hot kitchen stove or passing the time away on a grill is not easy, so prepping ahead of time and learning more about the procedures will help you not to stress out over your menu. Getting to know the basics, as well as finding out the differences in these cooking procedures, can help you choose the best method on how to cook your food.


This method requires a pan filled with hot oil, set on a top of gas or electric burner to cook the food. There are two types of frying: the regular frying where food is partially submerged in oil and deep frying where the food items are deeply covered in rolling hot oil. Regular frying is easy enough to do in your home kitchen with standard favorites like your fried egg, fried chicken, and fried rice. Temperatures do not have to get too hot to cook the food and oil splatters aren’t really a big issue.


Deep frying, on the other hand, is a whole different ball game. Deep frying can be done in a regular pot, too, using a digital food thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature of the oil. Some types of food taste better when they are double fried in two different temperatures, so a thermometer is an essential component. For instance, crispy pork belly can be fried initially at 350 degrees, and towards the end of the cooking process, it can be increased to 425 degrees, to make sure that the skin is extra crunchy while the meat remains soft and tender.

There is a safer and easier method using a deep frying machine that allows you to conserve the oil because the machine adjusts itself to ensure the temperature doesn’t exceed the burning point you set. Some smaller machines, for frying regular stuff like spring rolls and french fries, come ready to plug into an electric outlet with their oil compartment, net basket, rack, and a thermometer. There are also industrial sized deep fryer that can be used outdoors to cook things like a whole turkey. An example is a 32 quart stainless steel fryer that comes with a cooking pot, burner, rack, and thermometer. The only thing you need to provide is the propane gas and cooking oil.


This process is only for the patient ones because it requires a great deal of time to smoke food. For most people, taking several days for food to be ready is just too much commitment and is not practical. You can’t just throw some wood chips over hot coals and call it a day. Doing that will only flavor the outside and cook the surface. A cooked surface can no longer allow smoke to penetrate into the the food. This is the reason why smoking takes several days or even a few weeks if you want the smoky taste to penetrate the meat.

There are two methods to smoking meat: cold smoking and hot smoking. Cold smoking cooks meat between 68 to 86 degree F. This method is used to flavor only, so the meat has to be fully cured or cooked before it is eaten. Examples of these are sausages, hams, and the like. Hot smoking, in contrast, cooks the food you’re smoking with temperatures between 126 to 176 degrees F. This method is perfect for briskets and ribs. Don’t forget that one of the most essential parts of smoking is choosing the wood chips because these are the ones that add a depth of flavor to the food.


This method came about for cooking meat from animals that have tough muscle tissue. They don’t cook very will with the higher heat of grilling. Instead, they are cooked with a lower temperature and a longer amount of time, rendering the meat to be more tender and flavorful. The lower and slower concept of barbecuing paves the way for the meat to soak up the smoke coming from the hot coals. The rub coating the meat is also slowly absorbed which allows the meat to become tender, flavorful, and moist. Tougher cuts of meat that go well with this barbecue method are pork butt, pork ribs, beef shank, and the like. Typically, barbecued food is basted with a sauce from time to time because moisture is a primary concern.


This method uses a direct high heat and cooks the food for just a few minutes in an open atmosphere. The purpose is to char the meat surface and seal the juices. This allows a smoky and caramelized crust to form on the exterior of the meat. Meat can be done over charcoal and gas, and it is best suited to more tender meats like chicken, fish, ribs, beef loin, and the like. Vegetables and fruits like corn, eggplant, pineapple, or peppers can also be grilled. This is best for thinner cuts of meats or vegetables that have been sliced thinly for easier handling and cooking. Grilling is perfect for steaks whether it is rare, medium rare, or well-done.

indoor grilling tips


This is an indirect heating of food, which usually happens in an insulated compartment with a set temperature. Typically, this is performed in the oven; but in today’s modern age, some grills come with a lid, temperature control, and a rotisserie option so it can be done there, too. The cover allows the ambient air of the food to be heated up to the desired temperature. The air inside the compartment rises in to the set temperature and uses the air to slowly cook the food till it is the perfect temperature inside and out. This minimizes a charred look on the exterior and ensures that the middle portion of the meat is not raw. This method can handle thicker cuts of meat such as a whole chicken, a giant turkey, a whole potato, and more.


Differences between Smoking, Grilling, Frying, Barbecuing and Roasting

You roast a chicken, grill steak, barbecue a pork butt, fry potatoes, and smoke ham. The easiest way to differentiate between the five elements is the source of heat, the place where it is cooked, the temperature, and the time it takes to cook the food. To check out the basic differences from BBQ vs grill vs smoking vs roasting vs frying, read up the itemized bullets below. The differences can be broken down and easily understood in this manner:

* Roasting: This technique of cooking uses moderate heat (200 to 400 degrees F) for a few hours, cooking the food inside an enclosed and insulated compartment. This is preferably an oven, but it can also be done in more high tech grills that have a cover and a temperature setting. The heat is indirect and its pattern of distribution is diffused allowing all the sides of food to be exposed to heat. This creates a perfectly moist dish because of the even cooking all through out.

* Barbecuing: This style of cooking uses low heat (190 to 300 degrees F) for a few hours. This can be done with charcoal or gas using a barbecue equipment or it can also use a grill with a barbecue setting. This also relies on charcoal, flame, or metal grates, but it is done covered relying on circumvented heated air to ensure that food remains moist. This needs more than one burner to cook the food.

* Grilling: This method utilizes very high heat (400 to 550 degrees F) with the intention of creating a charred look on the exterior. Perfect grill marks are desired in meats cooked with his method. They only stay on top of a gas or charcoal grill for a few minutes in an open air setting. Food is directly exposed to charcoal, flame, or metal grates. One burner is enough to grill something.

* Smoking: This method is both a preparation method for cured meats and a cooking method for other types of food. It requires very low heat (68 to 176 degrees F), cooking the food in a smoker using wood chips. Food can take 1 hour to as much as two weeks depending on the purpose and the temperature.

* Frying: This is the only technique that requires the use of hot oil, a pot to serve as the compartment for the oil, and a basket to place the food. The temperature of the oil depends on the kind of food being cooked. It can be done in a regular pan or a deep fryer. For something like fried eggs and fried Monte cristo, it will only take a few minutes to cook the food. For more complicated types of dishes like crispy pork belly, it requires a higher oil temperature and a longer time for cooking.

The Most Dangerous of the 5 Cooking Methods

Of all the cooking methods mentioned above, deep frying is a bit more dangerous than the other cooking methods because of the use of gas and oil. Oil has the possibility to cause splatters, which can burn and harm the skin of the one doing the frying. Hence, safety precautions must be taken to ensure that the propane tank is away from anything flammable that can cause the unit to explode. It is also important to have a fire extinguisher on hand in case of emergencies.

Frying food results in a crunchy exterior that people love to sink their teeth onto, while keeping the interior meat moist, juicy, and flavorful. The most important thing to remember is that oil hates moisture, so to avoid any splattering, try to keep your food as dry as you possibly can, before lowering the food into the hot oil. Oil must be very hot before food is set into it, otherwise, the food will absorb all the oil. A perfectly fried item is one that doesn’t feel like an oil slick when you take a bite. Unfortunately, frying your food is not the healthiest option because it soaks the food in fat, which when consumed too much, is harmful to the health.

What is the Best Method (Smoking Vs. Grilling Vs. Frying Vs. Barbecuing Vs. Roasting)

Clearly, the frying method is not the healthiest because the food sits in oil. Roasting is also not as healthy because the fat that renders from the meat sits on the roasting pan. If you want a more healthy version of roasting, then you must put a cooking rack to lift the meat from the pan so it doesn’t cook in its oil.

Unlike in barbecuing and grilling, the fat drips down over the metal grates, so this is the preferred choice of many health buffs. From the health stand point, smoking is also not as preferred because of the amount of salt used to cure the meat. That being said, other health aficionados will say that charcoal grilling is also not the best method because the black stripes in the meat are seen as carcinogenic or cancer causing.

But whatever methods you choose to utilize this summer, know that every choice you make has possible repercussions. Cooking your own food is still so much better than buying takeout or eating outside because you’re aware of the food safety handling procedures in your own kitchen. On top of that, you’re informed of what exact ingredients have gone into your food, so you can be assured that no unhealthy additives or preservatives have been placed into them. Life is very short and one of the ways where we can enjoy it is through eating good food. And of course, food is best enjoyed in the company of great people because they enrich the whole dining experience. Eating alone is for survival, but eating with other people is for keeping your sanity.

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