Skip to main content

With the summer months just around the corner, many of us are now looking to get our backyards ready to entertain our friends and family. A BBQ is an essential addition to any garden, but which is the better addition, a smoker or a grill?

These are two great products to help transform your backyard, but to help ensure you can find the perfect solution, we thought we would take a closer look at the differences.

What Is The Difference In A Nutshell?

There is nothing better than cooking outdoors when the sun is shining. Whether it is cooking dinner for the family or whipping up a storm for your friends, using the right products is essential. When it comes to grilling, the primary factor is about the heat of the device, which can be powered by electricity, gas, or charcoal.

On the other hand, a smoker utilizes smoke to cook the food. This smoke surrounds the food, cooking it evenly and helping to enhance the flavor. This can be a far more time-consuming method, though, and users are limited to the types of food that they can cook.

What Is Grilling?

When it comes to summer cooking, grilling is one of the most common and easiest methods of hosting a BBQ. This is a very fast and simple way of cooking food, using a significant amount of direct heat either from a pan or a griddle.

Through the use of thermal radiation, grilling is able to reach very high temperatures, ensuring you and your loved ones can be enjoying a delicious meal in no time. This extreme heat can mean that your food will soon burn if not managed properly.

What Are The Different Methods Of Grilling?

When it comes to grilling, there are two main methods that homeowners can use for their summer BBQ. These are:


Direct grilling is the most common form of cooking a BBQ and involves the food being placed directly over a heat source, such as charcoal or gas burners. This process is very quick and simply requires the food to be placed uncovered onto the grill, making it the perfect solution for searing meat or cooking things such as burgers, steak, hot dogs, and vegetables.


Indirect grilling is a slower alternative and is the process of creating two heat zones. One of these zones has direct access to the heat source, and an adjacent area that has no direct access. This means that the food is not coming into direct contact with flame, allowing it to cook at a lower temperature.

Indirect grilling often requires the lid of the BBQ to be down, helping to trap the heat inside and cooking the entire food throughout. This method is often used for food such as large briskets, ribs, and pork shoulder.

What Is Smoking?

If you have the time, then smoking is a great way to help you take your summer BBQ to the next level. This method of cooking happens at a far lower temperature than grilling and uses the smoke created from burning wood to cook the food.

Cooking times of over 24 hours are not uncommon, and as the smoke encapsulates the food, it creates an even cook alongside infusing the meat with a delightful smoky flavor.

What Are The Different Methods Of Smoking?

Just like grilling, there are several methods of smoking that users can utilize, including:

Low n Slow

As the name suggests, low n slow cooking sees the food placed in the smoker for a long time. This method helps to give a truly memorable flavor to the meat, slowly cooking it at temperatures of around 200 – 225 degrees.

Smoke Roasting

Another popular method of BBQing is to use your smoker to smoke roast your food. This process involves the meat being cooked in a roasting pan that has a lid placed tightly on it. This can be a much quicker method of smoking, making it a great solution for your next summer BBQ.

Cold Smoking

Cold smoking is one of the best methods for giving your food a truly delicious flavor. This method sees the meat being cooked without any direct exposure to heat, often cooking at temperatures under 100 degrees. This process does take far longer, though, so be prepared to start early!

How To Choose Between A Grill Or A Smoker – Questions To Ask Yourself

Now you know the difference between a grill and a smoker, which one is right for you? In most cases, if you are looking to host a summer BBQ but do not have the time to wait for your smoker to cook the meat, then grilling is your best option. However, if you do have the time, then here are some of the key questions to ask yourself:

1) Do You Like Smoked Food?

When it comes to choosing between grilling or a smoker, the first thing that you should ask yourself is whether you like smoked food. If you prefer your meats without that smoky flavor, then grilling is the better option. Not sure what you like most? Visit your local BBQ restaurant and try out the various meats on offer.

2) What Sort Of Foods Do You Intend To Cook Outdoors?

The next question to ask yourself is what kind of foods you will be cooking at your summer BBQ. Sometimes, the tastiest foods are those that are very quick to cook, such as hamburgers, sausages, and chicken, and if these are your preferred foods to cook at your BBQ, then grilling could be the better option.

On the other hand, if you are looking to take your event to the next level, then a smoker can be a fantastic addition that lets you expand your menu and impress your guests.

3) Do You Have The Patience For Smoking?

Even if you have the time for smoking, do you have the patience? Cooking meats on a smoker is a very time-consuming task that some people simply do not have the patience for. Not only does smoking meats take time, but they also require constant care and management, needing you to regularly monitor temperatures, add wood, and adjust the vents to ensure an optimal cooking environment.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to choosing between grilling or opting for a smoker, it is all down to personal preference. Decide what kind of meats you prefer to cook, the flavors that you are looking for, and the type of summer BBQs that you will be hosting, and you will be able to understand the perfect solution for you.

Come by Jacksons Home & Garden today to speak with one of our grilling experts to help get you started on your dream grill setup, we’ve got everything you need and more!