The terms grilling and smoking are just amongst the many terms many people confuse and might have used interchangeably throughout time. That’s understandable, especially if you’re not a cooking method enthusiast. These two terms don’t seem to differ from each other.

They resemble as far as our eyesight and sense of smell are concerned. However, these two have significant differences, ranging in terms of the methodologies, including the applicability of the products you will cook through these cooking methods. In other words, not all products can and should be done through grilling but can and should be cooked through smoking and vice versa. Other than that, there are some differences you should take note of too.

In this article, we will finally put an end to a seemingly forever debatable topic as to how grilling and smoking differ from each other by explaining each of them as detailed as possible.

They differ in terms of the heat requirement in which the products will be cooked.


Grilling is cooking the product (ex. meat) on a hot fire. Meaning, high temperature is what makes grilling, grilling. It cannot be called a grilling cooking method if you’ll not use high heat. The typical temperature range of heat would be 400 to 500 Fahrenheit.

On the other hand, smoking is literally cooking with smoke. It requires a lower temperature in contrast to grilling, which typically ranges from 125 to 175 Fahrenheit. In other words, grilling uses direct heat to cook products, whilst smoking uses indirect heat.

Just like other cooking methods, these two have different requirements in terms of heat and time. So, if you’re looking for something that’s fast and easy, you might consider grilling. However, if you opt for a process that’s slow yet can produce more flavorful and tender meat, smoking is what you need.

Before doing any of those two, make sure to conduct a more thorough research about the whole process since there are more specific details that you really need to know aside from their differences. By that, you’ll ensure the success of the cooking method that you intend to apply.

Grilling and smoking differ in terms of cooking time


Grilling as a cooking method aims to cook food more rapidly than smoking. It usually takes less than an hour, while smoking typically lasts for a minimum of 24 hours. It can also be inferred that grilling doesn’t require thorough cooking. Conversely, smoking requires gradual cooking to achieve a smoky flavor.

Grilling and smoking would be appropriate for some products but wouldn’t be for others. Grilling is intended for small portions of food such as pork chops, steaks, and pieces of chicken, while smoking is intended to cook large, tough-to-cook products such as briskets, shoulders of the pig, and more. Also, grilling doesn’t involve incorporating the smoky flavor into the product; smoking does.

So, if you’re looking for a method that allows you to serve the food in no time, grilling would be the best option. It’s best for unplanned barbecue parties or birthdays. It takes lesser effort as well since you can just grill whenever you want. It’s not much of a process and has lesser waiting time which won’t make your guests impatient.

Smoking, on the other hand, is best for planned events. This process should be done in advance and intentionally since it’s a long process. You’ll really have to patiently wait for it to achieve a lump of perfectly smoked and tender meat. This process is highly recommended for campings or hiking where a large group of people can enjoy the outcome.

The key in using the smoking method is that you’ll have to religiously set the time of the process so it will not be overcooked or undercooked. So, make sure you have a timer or an alarm with you, so you’ll know when it’s really done.

They differ in terms of heat agents or fuel needs


Grilling is done through the use of charcoal or gas, while smoking involves the use or is fueled by wood such as hickory. Like what was said earlier, grilling doesn’t need to have a smoky flavor, while smoking does cause by the fuel you apply. Also, the fuel or wood used to do the smoking enhances the flavor of the product that’s being cooked. The fuel used in both smoking and grilling is a great contributor to the flavor being infused on the meat.

Moreover, since smoking is a long process and using wood, a well-known producer of a more smoky flavor, you expect to achieve a more authentic smoky and tender meat. On the other hand, grilling is known to produce a smoky flavor to any food as well, but it is done in an abrupt way. That is why it doesn’t absorb as much flavor when you opt for smoking.

Final Words

At the end of this article, it is really the right thing to say that grilling and smoking are different from each other. Indeed, they do have similarities but the methods, fuel, and cooking time are some of the very things that make them different from each other. Therefore, you cannot use them interchangeably. Now that you know what and how they differ, you will now have a better grasp, especially when choosing the cooking method depending on the product you desire to cook.

Knowing the basics, you’ll now have to look out for and prioritize the equipment you’ll use to conduct those cooking methods. Of course, you will need high-quality grilling or smoking equipment that will further enable you to achieve the results that you’re looking forward to.

Although there are lots of them that you can find in the market, it would be best if you source out online first since you can obtain more specific details about the equipment. This makes it easier for you to make a comparison. To nudge you in the right direction, you can visit this website that offers tons of grill options, reviews, and cooking tips as well —