Person opening kamado grill with oven mitt on and smoke coming out with veggies smoked inside.

Grilling vs. Smoking

We know that every BBQ connoisseur has their favorite techniques and methods when using a grill or smoker, which is exactly why we want to break down for you the advantages and beneficial practices between grilling vs. smoking.

While every griller may be able to recognize the benefits of grilling and has their own grilling techniques, we have a few that truly stand out to us, especially when it comes to things like grilling vegetables. We also plan to share with you our tips for perfect grill marks on food like steak. First and foremost, the quality of the kind of grill you use for grilling something is important – this can make or break how your food turns out! Whether you’re making a meal for yourself or your friends or family, even if it’s something as simple as grilling a side of some veggies or something that might take a little bit more attention, like a juicy steak, we guarantee that you could never go wrong with utilizing one of our top BBQ grills at BBQ Outlets.

Marinades Make a Difference!

A grilled and marinated and spiced pork chop on a pan with a cut vegetable on the side with some garnish.

Something that we feel can often be overlooked while grilling is the preparation that takes place before the food is even placed on your grill. If you want to make good food taste even better, and have your guests’ tastebuds asking for more, we strongly suggest carefully considering the kinds of spices or marinades you are using to prep your food beforehand. Vegetables alone can soak up a lot of the different flavors that can help enhance their natural sugars once on the grill. It’s a good idea to allow them to soak up the marinade you may be using for at least 30 minutes before cooking. Don’t be afraid to also have a post-marinade for your veggies after they are done being grilled!

Tips for Grilling Vegetables

It is also important to consider pre-cooking vegetables that may be a bit heartier, such as potatoes, and then finishing them on the grill with a light char. Not only will this save you time for grilling other food, but it will help improve the overall texture of your veggies. We, of course, also recommend using a grilling basket for any smaller vegetables since this will allow them to get closer to the heat source, without slipping between the grates of your grill. A grilling basket can even be a great thing to use for something like shrimp!

Tips for Perfect Grill Marks

As for our tips for perfect grill marks on some steak or chicken, the most important first step is making sure that your grill is hot enough to achieve the perfect hatches or diamond-shaped grill marks you have always dreamed of making. It’s a good idea for you to first make sure the grates of your grill are clean. You then want to let your grill preheat on high for at least 10 to 15 minutes before ever putting a piece of meat down on it. Some professionals recommend not only using cooking oil on the grates directly, but also using some to coat the meat you will be cooking too, before placing it on the grill.

Steak with sear marks being cooked on the grill and about to be turned by metal tongs while the flames flare up from beneath the grates.

Once your grill is ready to go, and your meat has been prepped for grilling, place it carefully on the grill and allow it to sear until the meat begins to free itself organically from the grates. If you try to take it off the grill before it’s ready, you will feel a slight pull for it to continue cooking for a bit longer. Once the meat willingly has freed itself from the grill, find the midpoint of the piece of meat and use this as the axis point. You then want to turn the meat about 45 degrees, or one quarter turn, and let it sear for a few more minutes, or until it is at your desired level of doneness. To completely achieve the perfect grill marks on whatever meat you may be grilling, make sure to flip it over one last time and repeat the process for searing on the other side – just be careful not to overdo it! Nobody likes a steak or piece of chicken that was meant to be juicy and grilled to perfection that is now dry.

Of course, while some people may relish in the benefits of grilling their food, others may enjoy using a smoker. Luckily for you, we here at BBQ Outlets have some of the best smokers you can find and purchase for your dream backyard! We offer several premium brands of smokers – like the Twin Eagles smoker, and the Kamado Joe, which is great for smoking fish. Just like with the techniques for grilling, there are a few smoking techniques that really stand out to us.

Wood Chips for Smoking Meat – Best Practices

Those who are fans more so of smoking meats vs. grilling meats, already likely understand the importance of using wood chips. One of the biggest debates is on how to prepare them beforehand. Some may say soaking them before using them is beneficial so that they do not burn up as quickly, while others may say that using dry ones is better since it allows for smoke to form more immediately.

Another method that one could always consider when preparing their wood chips for smoking is having a combination of both wet and dry wood chips. Above all else though, whatever you feel tastes the best when it comes to smoking, we recommend you continue to do. If you are using a grill, and smoking with a Kamado Joe, we suggest using a smoker-chip box to store your wood chips. You do not want to begin grilling until you can visibly see the chips starting to smoke. No matter what you are using for smoking, and especially if you plan to smoke the meat for a while, make sure to add in more wood chips about every 45 minutes or so.

Fish on a black board that has been smoked and is cut open with some pieces cooked next to it and a fork and some garnish.

Besides deciding on how to prepare your wood chips for smoking, another important factor is the types of smoker chips you will be using paired with the meat you will be smoking. For Alder, Apple, or Pecan wood chips, we recommend pairing these with meats like beef, chicken, or pork. Hickory wood chips can also work well with these same types of meats, as well as for ribs or turkey. There are also Maple wood chips, which besides Alder wood chips, pair very well when it comes to smoking fish.

Obviously, there are dozens of other types of wood chips you can use, but these are some of our favorites when it comes to smoking meats. Don’t be afraid to also mix different kinds of wood chips together and experiment with the overall aroma of smoke the combination of wood chips could create!

In Conclusion…

So, whether you prefer to use one of our top BBQ grills or smokers, we are confident you can create the perfect flavor that will have everyone’s mouths watering. Even if we aren’t able to settle the debate of whether smoking meats vs. grilling meats is more advantageous for you, there are still smoking techniques and grilling techniques that everyone can benefit from when preparing their next meal. Ultimately, the key is to keep trying different things until you find what works best for you.

If you still have questions on the differences between smoking meats vs. grilling meats, please reach out to our BBQ Outlets experts at 714-276-8289 or contact@bbqoutlets.com. Not only are we happy to talk you through different grilling and smoking techniques, but we’d also love to help you find which of our top BBQ grill brands and/or smokers will be best for you and your needs.

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