T Nation

BBQ & Grilling...


There's a distinct difference between the two that I've seen many people on this site mix up on occasion. So here they are:

- Slow cooking
- Low, indirect heat
- Smoke (from smoldering wood chips)

- Fast cooking
- High and direct or indirect heat
- Charcoal briquets, natural gas/propane or wood chips

That's it. Both can use either dry rub and/or sauce. But that's another subject. This post was mainly for our foreign friends and Yankee brethren. I wouldn't want any of you clubbed by a Texan for confusing the two cooking techniques, so I felt compelled to post this message :).


That's funny. In Australia, a griller is usually in the top part of an oven, so the heat is just over the top part of the food, but not touching it. Like a sandwich grill.

BBQ is basically anything cooked on a BBQ, except when you roast something on the BBQ. When we roast something on the BBQ, we basically do what you call a BBQ.

Nice and confusing isn't it?


I've seen the terms defined as the following:

Grilling. High heat, over gas.
BBQ. High heat, over coals.
Smoking. 225-250F, for hours.

I have a gas grill, charcoal grill, and wood smoker and tend to call anything off the smoker BBQ. Everything else is grilling. Though you can smoke/BBQ on a Weber charcoal grill pretty well.


This might get some people hot (no pun intended!) because grilling and BBQ are like a religion to some, but I thought I'd add a fact - purely FYI.

Grilled meats that blacken produce heterocyclic amines (HCAs) - that have been linked to cancers, especially of the stomach and colon. Smoked meats have also been linked to stomach cancer.

So what can be done? Minimize the blackening of grilled meat; add veggies to the grill when you do, and don't eat smoked or char grilled meat frequently or all year long.

There are certainly worse things one can do than grill, though! It's just a suggestion on moderation.


My mom rags on me every 4th of July about this very thing (she works at Johns Hopkins Medical Center). Of course, that doesn't seem to stop her from sampling my grilled and bbq'd food, lol.


We call those broilers here in the states. Pretty damn confusing indeed :).


Someone here (LL, DB, Cy?) also recommended taking vitamin C right as you start to eat the grilled stuff. The vitamin C binds to the carcinogens before you digest them, minimizing the nasty stuff that enters your system.

I think it might have been a Cool Tip once.



How much is frequently? If you ensure the meat is not blackened, is the risk eliminated or is it still bad? I didn't know this and we grill just about everything, year round.


I haven't seen actual data on this but I would guess that if it's done year- round, limiting it to a couple times per month could be prudent. The feasibility depends on a person's current cooking habits (that is, it's not fair to ask someone who grills every day to suddenly limit it to < once per month). Oh, and less blackening is probably better.