Do You Know the Difference Between Barbecuing and Grilling?

Is there actually a difference between barbecuing and grilling? You bet there is! And those who take these things seriously will be quick to point them out.  Here we outline the very simple differences between these two methods of cooking meat.

What is Barbecue?

The first thing that anyone should know about barbecue (or “barbeque” or “BBQ” as it’s also known), is that it is never a verb. One does not “barbecue.” Similarly, a “barbecue” is not an event, nor is it a type of grill. The term “barbecue” means, quite simply, meat. Specifically, it is meat that has been cooked low and slow – at 225 – 249 degrees F over charcoal or wood. Purists will never allow gas-cooked meat to be considered real barbecue.

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Getting Saucy

Another bone of contention in the BBQ world is the sauce, which is likely the best way to differentiate the regional barbecue styles in the U.S.  Sweet or smoky? Vinegar heavy or spicy? Throughout the South and the Midwest, you will find many variations, each of them hotly defended as the one true BBQ sauce.

One variation is Alabama white sauce. Both tangy and creamy,  it is traditionally served with smoked or grilled chicken, but this versatile and easy sauce is delicious on any grilled or smoked meat. We paired it with succulent grilled quail and found it to be a perfect match.

grilled-quail-with-alabama-white-sauce-recipe

Best Cuts of Meat for BBQ

Pitmasters agree that ribs of all kinds, pork shoulder, beef brisket, and whole chickens are great choices. These cuts tend to have more connective tissue and fat, which makes them ideal for the low and slow treatment.

Our barbecue and smoking collection will give you a wide range of options. 

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BBQ Master Ray Lampe’s Sweet-and-Sticky Baby Back Ribs

Our recipe for tender, sweet, and sticky ribs recipe can be made in the oven. Is that a deal-breaker? In this recipe, slow-cooked ribs are glazed with a bourbon-spiked brown sugar BBQ sauce and are equally delicious as a main course or party food (extra napkins recommended).

bourbon-brown-sugar-barbecue-ribs-recipe

Grilling: All About the Heat

On the other hand, grilling can be done over gas or charcoal, with more direct heat that is over 310 degrees F. Grilling is the original way humankind cooked – right over the flames. Today we use sophisticated equipment to recreate the primal campfire and get that unmatched flavor which is the result of the Maillard reaction.

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Grilling steaks right over the flames.

Best Cuts of Meat for the Grill

Obviously, hamburgers and hot dogs are perfect for grilling.  The best cuts of meat for grilling are steaks, chops, chicken thighs and drums, and rack of lamb. We also like semi-boneless quail on the grill – they cook up fast and are great with a little char on the skin.

Explore our grilling collection and try something new.

Grilled Quail Closeup

Tell us about your best barbecue, whether homemade or enjoyed at your favorite BBQ joint. Share with us here, or find us on social media, where we love to talk about food!


Since 1985, D’Artagnan has been at the forefront of the farm-to-table movement, producing superior tasting products by partnering with small ranches and farms. We are committed to free-range, natural production, sustainable and humane farming practices and no use of antibiotics or hormones. That’s why D’Artagnan products have been revered by America’s most renowned chefs for over 30 years. We offer the same high-quality products to home cooks at dartagnan.com, along with recipes and guides to help you live the tasty life.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. John Paul says:

    I love grilling rather than barbecue! Really great, I loved it! Clear got the idea difference between grilling & barbecue! Hey by the way, really awesome insights you have putting on this website! Love this!

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