Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Barbequeing vs Grilling - Fighting Words

When you hear the word "barbeque" what comes to mind?

The Fourth of July feast with hamburgers & hotdogs. Huge hunks of beef over a blazing hot fire. Baby back ribs, smoking slowly over a hickory wood fire?

Everyone loves a barbeque. But what exactly is "barbeque" ? Ask 100 people "what is barbeque", and you will get 100 different answers.

Let's define two different methods of outdoor cooking - barbequeing and grilling.

Grilling is a cooking method which uses high heat over real flames. High heat usually means over 450 degrees on your backyard grill -- restaurant grills easily exceed 800 degrees! The cooking time is usually short - most recipes will refer to cooking times in minutes.

Now, barbeque is a different story. Travel the U.S. and you will taste a different style of barbeque each time you stop. Each region has its own style: what to cook, types of sauces, using dry rubs, etc.

But even with all these differences, all versions of barbeque have some common points.

Barbeque is a low heat, indirect method of cooking. Indirect means that the source of the heat (e.g. charcoal or wood chunks) is NOT directly below the food that you are cooking. Unlike grilling, the temperature stays very low - usually never higher than 225 degrees. Cooking times are measured in hours, not minutes. And unlike grilling, this cooking style creates smoke which adds flavor to your food.

So which is better, barbequing or grilling? Well, that depends. If you have beautiful steaks, then grilling would be the best choice. If you want to make mouthwatering ribs, then barbeque is the way to go.

Either way, you can't go wrong!

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