When the weather starts to warm up, and the kids are done with school, two things are bound to happen-longer nights and outdoor cooking. When it comes to outdoor cooking, you have two main options- grilling and barbecuing. While they have many similarities, they also include a few big differences. In simplest terms, when you grill, the food will normally be cooked quicker and at a higher temperature, cooked with a direct heat course. On the other hand, when you BBQ, the heat will be lower (using an indirect heat source), thus resulting in a longer cooking time.

Normally, when you grill, you are going to do so over either hot coals or gas flame. Grilling results in what essentially comes down to a seal on the juices, which creates a juicy piece of meat if you properly grill it. When you are grilling, you are normally going to grill food such as vegetables, fruits(pineapple), and tender meat (hot dogs and hamburgers). The reason for this is that these are the products that are best cooked in a shorter time frame. In general, you will also grill more expensive meat. This goes along with the fact that more expensive meat tends to be the most tender.

While grilling tends to be done on coals or a gas flame, barbecuing will normally be done on charcoal or wood (occasionally gas, but gas is the least used method). Barbecuing tends to be tougher meats such as ribs. The reason for this is that the tougher types of meat benefit from a longer (albeit slower) cooking time, resulting in the meat becoming so tender that it falls off of the bone. The longer cooking time also allows the meat to soak up the smoke and any type of extra flavor that you like to add to your meat. One option is to add barbecue sauce. When barbecuing, you can add it at the beginning; however, if you add it when you grill, you will have to add it at the end or risk burning the sauce. Another common option is to occasionally add apple juice. This will add even more flavor to your barbecue. Barbecued food will normally have a more thick, tangy taste based on the added flavor from the smoke. You will be hard pressed to get this taste from grilling.

Both of these options are great for specific types of food. The decision to barbecue your food or to grill normally comes down to what you feel like eating that day. Some foods, however, such as chicken, are capable of being grilled and barbecued with the decision coming down to what you prefer-do you want the quick, grilled taste, or the longer process of barbecuing the chicken and getting a smoky, perhaps better tasting chicken.

Barbecuing and grilling are both great options for those warm summer days (or, for some people out there, they are great even on the sub zero winter days). The choice is yours. However, with these two great options of cooking your food, you can’t go wrong. Whatever you choose will produce great tasting food for you and the family.

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