All three of these cooking methods can deliver some great results and produce some outstanding-tasting foods, but do you know the differences between each of these cooking methods? It might be helpful for you to have an understanding of each of these, so you can get the most out of each one. Of particular value will be knowing the actual recommended cooking temperature for many different kinds of foods, because that will help you achieve the best results from your cooking. Continue reading below to find out just how each of these three cooking approaches is a little bit different.
If you don’t own an actual smoker, you can still achieve the same results by using your grill, although it will take some extra tending. The rule of thumb to keep in mind for smoking technique is ‘low and slow’, which means the temperature must be kept low (between 175 and 250 degrees Farhenheit), and the process should be done slowly, so the smoke has a chance to fully penetrate the meat and cook it. If you have a gas grill, you can put some flavored wood chips inside so as to achieve the kind of taste you want with whatever meat or fish you’re smoking. Many people enjoy smoking briskets, pork butts, turkeys, salmon and other fish in order to achieve a well-cooked, smoky flavor to their food.
Even though most people call it ‘barbecuing’ whenever they’re cooking on a grill, to be true barbecuing you would need to maintain a moderate temperature between 350 and 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Barbecuing relies on indirect heat, usually with the lid closed, so that convection heating can begin working to cook whatever foods you have on the grill. Foods cooked for at least a half hour, or anywhere up to several hours, can thus have a crispy, tasty exterior, while the inside juices are preserved, providing a real taste experience for all who are joining you. Some of the most popular foods for barbecuing include bone-in chicken and ribs, both of which require the convective heating afforded by a closed-lid barbecue.
Grilling is the only cooking method of these three which relies on direct heating for a relatively short period of time. Temperatures for grilling generally are at 450 degrees or even higher, especially when you’re grilling steaks or other meats for which you desire a seared exterior. Most of the time, you would be grilling with the lid of your grill raised, because you’re not aiming for convective heating, but instead you’re counting on the direct heat which will quickly cook meats, vegetables, and other foods. Probably the most commonly grilled foods are hotdogs, hamburgers, and steaks, all of which can be thoroughly cooked by direct heat in a short period of time.
The health benefits for all three of these cooking methods are considerable. You’ll be consuming less fat when you cook on the grill, because excess grease will drip off, and cooking on the grill seals in flavor and many of the nutrients which might otherwise be lost. This is even true of vegetables, which retain more of their vitamins and minerals when grilled. Another side benefit of grilling or barbecuing your food is that it’s an outdoor activity, and that has a tendency to promote other outdoor activities, which is good, healthy exercise for you and everyone else at your cookout.