What’s the Difference Between Smoker and Grill BBQs?
You can’t have the best barbecue without the best equipment, but to get there you’re going to have to do a little bit of research — including understanding the difference between smoker and grill BBQs.
Among the many questions we get from customers, one of the most common is “should I buy a smoker or a grill?” And while the answer is different for everybody, there are some guiding principles that can help you make your decision.
In this blog post, we’ll outline the biggest differences between smokers and grills that you should know about so that you can find your fit and get to cooking.
Grill vs. Smoker: Breaking Down the Basics
When it comes to the grill vs. smoker decision, there are a few big differences that you should know about.
Heating method. The major difference between a smoker and a grill is the heating method that’s used to cook your food. Grills use direct heat, with the flame positioned under one side of the food on the rack. Smokers, on the other hand, use indirect heat, cooking your food through the use of smoke (and sometimes moisture, too) dispersed throughout the heat chamber.
Hot and fast or low and slow. The distinct cooking methods of smokers and grills affect more than just the outcome of your food. Direct heating means that grills can reach high temperatures for fast cooking. Meanwhile, smokers are limited in their heat capabilities due to indirect heating, and as such, are better for cooking food low and slow.
Flavor. Both smokers and grills offer flavor benefits, but not in the same way. Smoking your food with charcoal or wood chips imparts that inherent BBQ flavor that we so often associate with the craft. Grills however operate almost like outdoor ovens, trapping in the flavors that you’ve added to the rack for succulent results instead of imparting additional ones.
So, How Do You Choose?
When you’re trying to decide whether to go with a smoker or a grill, ask yourself the following questions to narrow down your options.
- How do you like to cook your BBQ?
Are you aiming for low and slow cooking or looking for something that will cook the classics at your next backyard BBQ? The different heating methods of grills and smokers mean different techniques and different results, so think about what you want to achieve and then work backwards from there.
- What food do you like to cook?
Grills are well-suited to BBQ staples like hot dogs and hamburgers, while smokers are a premiere choice for things like brisket, ribs, and whole pig cooking. That’s not to say that you can’t get creative with both, but if you tend to skew toward one end or the other, choose the BBQ implement that’s designed to help you get there.
- How much smokiness do you want to achieve?
It probably comes as no surprise that we love smoky flavor, but everyone’s taste buds are different. If you love smoke as much as we do though, a smoker is the way to go.
Answering these questions should provide you with a clear winner in the smoker vs. grill debate, though when in doubt, you can’t go wrong with either — or with both.
The Best Smokers and Grills for the Best BBQ
Whichever way you go, it’s important that you stick to the best smokers and grills on the market. At Myron Mixon Smokers, our products are made by barbecue lovers for barbecue lovers, with a wide array of options for both at-home chefs and restaurant pros.