Difference Between Grilling and Smoking

There are things that need a special piece of equipment
Grilling and smoking are two of these things.
Although in some case you can use a grill to smoke, when it is large enough for 2-zone setup, most of the time you can not grill on a smoker.

What is grilling?

meat and veggies on a grill

Grilling is done over a hot bed of coals or on a gas grill, with temperatures from 350 to 500+ degrees.

Grilling can be done directly or indirectly.

Meat is cooked fast to sear it and then can be moved to a cooler spot to finish or stay above the hot coals in case of a thin piece of meat.

Examples of grilling are: Hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken.

What is smoking?

Smoking meat is done at a low temperature of around 225 to 250 degrees and can take many hours depending on the meat you are smoking.

Examples of smoking are Boston buts, brisket, a whole chicken.

Smoking on a grill?

You can use a grill for smoking when it is large enough as you can see on the picture above with two Boston buts on my grill.

Grilling on a smoker?

There are smokers like pellet smokers that the manufacturer claims that you can use as a grill. I am not saying it can’t be done but most of the time a smoker is made for low temperatures.


This is a very short and compressed explanation of the difference between grilling and smoking.

I will write several more articles on how to grill and smoke meat.

Eddie van Aken

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