By Tim Sousa
Grilling and Barbecuing, two of the most popular cooking methods in the U.S., especially in warmer weather. There are some who know the difference between grilling and barbecuing, and some who don’t. Do you?
To put it simply, Grilling is fast cooking over high heat, while barbecuing involves a slower cooking method, over a lower heat.
Grilling is generally done over a gas flame, or hot coals. Tender cuts of meat are best for this cooking method. The quick cooking and the high heat seal in the juices, creating a juicy piece of meat, but leave the meat on too long, and it will dry out, as with any dry cooking method. Barbecue sauces can be used, but since the heat is so high, it should be added right at the end of the cooking time, especially for sweeter barbecue sauces, so that the sugar in the sauce doesn’t burn. Vegetables and fruits can also be grilled, as they don’t need a long cooking time. Peaches and pineapple are particularly good for grilling, the natural sugars in the fruit carmelize over the high heat. When you grill food, you need to pay attention to it, so it doesn’t get overcooked. You need to stay by the grill the whole time.
Barbecuing is typically done over charcoal or wood, although gas can be used. I’ve seen kalhua pig being cooked slowly on a gas grill, but usually, barbecuers will use either charcoal or wood. The meats usually used in barbecuing are tougher cuts of meat, such as the beef brisket, or pork ribs. These meats benefit from the long, slow cooking process, becoming so tender that they will just fall off the bone. Since the cooking process is slower, and the heat not as high as grilling, barbecue sauce can be brushed onto the meat throughought the cooking process, forming a delicious glaze on the outside of the meat. Apple juice is sometimes sprayed onto the meat to keep it moist and flavorful. Damp wood chips added to the fire add a delicious smoky flavor to the meat.
Some meats, like chicken, will benefit from either cooking method. It’s great either grilled quickly with a glaze or barbecue sauce applied towards the end of the cooking time, or slowly barbecued, absorbing the flavors of the smoke.
Tim Sousa is the webmaster of Classy Cooking, an online library of great recipes, cooking tips and more.