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Barbecue And Grilling: Is There A Difference

1885 words - 8 pages

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|Barbeque and Grilling |
|Is there a difference? |
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|BruceSedlak ...view middle of the document...

To some, the term “barbeque” refers to the cooking method, to others it refers to the type of meat, and the seasonings or sauces used to complement it. Barbeque is an art, a community, a state of mind. Grilling is just cooking outdoors.

Barbeque is about patience, smoking and slow cooking meat at low temperatures. Grilling is quick and done at high temperatures. Barbeque is seasoned with an endless variety of sauces and rubs. Grilling uses marinades, which are baths of liquids where the meat is soaked for a period of time before seared over a hot fire (Barbecue vs. Grilling: What's the Difference). Finally, barbeque denotes a community, an obsession, and a lifestyle. There are barbeque competitions all over the United States, sanctioned by organizations whose sole mission is promoting the enjoyment of barbeque (About the Kansas City Barbeque Society). Grilling has nothing of the kind. So what makes these two cooking methods so different?

“Grilling” is the method of cooking food on a grill, directly over high heat (400 degrees or more) over a short period of time. This method often leads to charring on the surface of the meat and is most suitable for cooking hot dogs, burgers, steak, chicken, and other cuts of meat that are less likely to toughen when exposed to high heat (Grilling vs Barbecue). Grilling does have its place in the world of outdoor cooking. Who doesn’t love a perfectly medium rare char-broiled inch and a half thick rib eye? Grill it at 500ºF to 600ºF, six minutes on one side, and four minutes on the other (Steak Cooking Chart). It will be delicious, but this is not what barbeque aficionados would refer to as “barbeque.”

Traditional barbeque is the process of cooking meat in indirect heat at very low temperatures.  This can be done by smoking or slow-roasting the meat. This process accomplishes four things.  First, the long exposure to low heat renders the fat out of the meat.  Second, the collagens and connective tissues dissolve making the meat tenderer.  Third, the surface of the meat caramelizes and becomes a flavorful crust, which is known in the barbeque world as “bark.” Finally, the juices aren’t cooked out, which makes for meat that is both tender and juicy (BBQ vs. Grilling and 4 Regional Styles of BBQ). 

Barbeque isn’t just about the cooking method, but the prep work that goes into it as well. The recipes for spices that make rubs and sauces become closely guarded secrets. Sometimes the best sauce becomes a once in a lifetime creation because no one writes down all the ingredients or quantities. It starts off as something good, but needs a little more of this, or a little bit of that. Homemade barbeque sauces can be like snowflakes – something beautiful that can never be duplicated.

While all barbeque has the method of cooking in common, there are many variations based on the type of meat used, how it is seasoned or sauced, and the way it is served. There...

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