Smoker vs Grill 

Smokers and grills are very different from each other. They are two kinds of devices that can be used for the purpose of smoking and grilling different kinds of food. You can go ahead and work both on the same device. However, you can get different devices for both the function so that you can cook effectively. We have had a lot of questions about the smokers and the grills and what is the difference between the two. We are here to tell you about it. 

What Are the Differences?

You can see the difference between the two when you are going to do the cooking on it. You can match the cooking needs that you have in your requirement. For anyone who is researching about the grilling and smoking methods, you can go ahead and read the article to know about it. At the end of the article you are going to understand all about it. There are certain factors that determines the difference between the two. It comes down to cooking time, temperature, cuts of meat, and the addition of wood smoke for flavor.

You can cook small pieces of food like steaks, chops, chicken pieces, and vegetables at the grill. It comes with high and hot temperature like 400 and 550 degrees Fahrenheit. It goes on for short period of time and it does not add that much smoke to the food. You can cook large and tough pieces of meat on a smoker. This includes cuts like whole birds, briskets, pork shoulders, and ribs. 

The cooking is done at a relatively low temperature and you can cook for a long period of time. The temperature is in between 90 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and it does not go above that in most cases. The wood is added in the smoker to give one that smoky flavor. You can not get that flavor from anything else. 

The only similarity between the grill and smoker is that they generally run on the same fuel and it cooks on the grates. The method of cooking is different and you can get the different pieces of equipment for the different cooking methods. Take a look at the different info that we have about it. 

What is Grilling?

We have said that grilling takes a lot less time and it does not involve cooking for a long period of time. High temperature is used for the cooking process. You can not expect to cook slowly. Roasting can be said to be a part of grilling but it is generally very slow and goes on for a long time. You might have to wait to get the good food but grilling can help you get the good as soon as you cook it. There is not much of a wait. Typical food that you can cook on the grill includes stuff like steaks, chops, fish, chicken, burgers, hot dogs and sausages, small roasts, and vegetables. 

You have to keep the food moving around because you might risk the good food burning if you do not keep it around. Searing is also a part of grilling. You will need very high heat to sear the meat though. The Maillard reaction causes the surface of the food to brown. There is an intense flavor that you can get when the surface gets caramelized. The surface bacteria of food can be killed with the help of the heat. This can also make it safe for the people to eat. You can get the subtle smokiness of the food if you are using charcoal. Grilled food does allow the person to savor the good taste of the food. 

The Different Methods of Grilling

Yes you read it right. There are different methods of grilling that you can try. We are sure that you are going to get the fun out of the different methods. Take a look at them so that you can get a better understanding. 

Direct Method

The fastest type of grilling is the easiest one too. This is the direct method of grilling. This is like the direct method where you can place the food on the flames and allow it to cook. The direct radiant heat is going to cook the food. It will take a few minutes to cook the food. You can get it done pretty easily. Small cuts of meat that can be cooked easily is prefered for this kind of cooking. 

Indirect Method

This is not the direct method of grilling so the food is cooked by the indirect flame. Convention is the style that you can go for when you are cooking using the indirect method. The food does not come in direct contact with the fire. This is more of a slower process than the direct method. It is ideal for cooking the larger cuts of meat over a long time. This is more like oven cooking than grilling. Many people confuse this with smoking but that is not the case. 

What is Smoking?

Smoking is a cooking and preserving method that you can use to cook the food. Low heat and smoke is used for the process. Time is also needed if you want to get the perfect temperature. You can select the temperature according to the need. There is no direct heat that is used for the smoking process. The temperature and heat is consistent in the cooking chamber. The convection heat can help you cook the food from all sides. The wood can smolder and create smoke that adds to the flavor of the food. The flavor of food depends on the wood that you are using and the intensity of it. There is time for the smoke to penetrate the outer layer of the food. 

Smoking time can vary depending on the cut that you are cooking. It can be around 90 to 120 minutes when you are smoking a small item and if you are cooking something bigger then it can last up to 12 hours. You can also get the smoking done in 5 hours if you are cooking a medium sized cut. The long period of cooking renders fat and connective tissues inside the larger cuts of meat. Certain foods that you can smoke is poultry, large hams, and picnic shoulders, butts, brisket, ribs, salmon, and roasts.

Different Ways of Smoking

There are more styles to smoking than the one that you think. Many options are available for you so that you can test it out. Take a look. 

Low n Slow / BBQ Smoking / Hot Smoking

This is known as the best form of smoking that is followed by many people. The ribs that you can make out of the smoking method will fall off the bone and it is going to give you competition-grade ribs. The smoking happens at 225 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. The larger cuts of meat will become very soft and even the toughest of cuts will melt in your mouth. 

Smoke Roasting

 If you have a smoker that can reach a temperature above 275 degrees Fahrenheit then you can smoke roast. Most grills can also be used for this method but that does not mean that you will be able to keep the temperature down. This is like cooking in an oven with the flavor of the added smoke. You can cook stuff like crown roasts and lamb with this method. It is a relatively fast process so it will not risk your meat going dry. 

Cold Smoking

This is a unique form of smoking where there is no heat involved. You can preserve food with the help of this method. Cold smoking can happen at a temperature of 90 degrees Fahrenheit. This is also why many people avoid this style of cooking. Many bacteria may be present on the food and the lack of heat can cause the bacteria to not die. It takes a lot of skill and research to cook food safely using the cold smoking method. This is a skill of an advanced level that can not be mastered in one try. 

Types of Grills

There are many grills that you can buy. The different kinds can help you with the different cooking methods. You are very welcome to do your own research on the kind of grill that you are looking at. However, we are going to discuss as much as we can. 

Standard Kettle Charcoal Grill

This is the most ancient grill that you can find in the market. The Standard Kettle Charcoal Grill is something that is not that uncommon among the grilling world. You can enjoy the features of a good charcoal grill that comes at a minimum price. They look like onions and UFOs. Burning charcoal is used for cooking the food on the grill. The temperature can be properly adjusted with the help of the vents that you can find in the grill. These vents can be difficult to use but you will get the hang of it. 

Ceramic Kamado Grill

This is the ultimate kind of charcoal grill that can extraordinary in the ceramic construction. You can grill, bake, roast, and even smoke on the kamado grill. These grills can be highly expensive so you are going to need some budget in order to buy this. We are sure that you are going to enjoy cooking on the grill. 

Barrel Type Grills

These are kind of barrel grills that are like oil drums. This kind of grill is usually made by the people but they are not that hard to construct. Obviously there are many companies that will go ahead and make a good construction of the product to make that professional level grill. We are sure that this is the best one for people who like the rustic kind of grilling. 

Gas Grills

Gas grills are very popular among the people. They are easy to use and they are generally of two types. The first one is the propane gas kind and the other one is the natural gas kind of grill. You can pick one that is most suited for you. They are known to be the perfect grills for quick grilling. You can grill all the food that takes a few minutes for cooking. They are made for beginners because they are very convenient and easy to use. You will not get any added flavor on the food but you have to understand that this is just gas burning and not anything else. 

Pellet Grills

The pellet grills are more like pellet smokers. There are auger system and other hoppers that can help you cook on the pellet grills. There is also a digital thermostat that can help you with the temperature control. The pellets are made with compressed sawdust. They burn to create heat and smoke. They deal with smoking and that is what helps with the cooking. So they are pellet smokers rather than pellet grills. 

Electric Grills

Electric grills are that good because it comes with a very versatile nature. You can use an electric grill wherever you want. Electric grills are not always considered to be the real grill or the real barbecue experience but they are better than having no grills. If you are in a place where you are not allowed to generate fire then you can use the electric grill for your advantage. 

Infrared Grill

These kinds of grills can reach a very high temperature. They are best for extreme cooking where the temperature can reach a high of 1200 degrees Fahrenheit. You can cook food in minutes or seconds. There are not many infrared grills that can be said as standalone grills but there are some that you can find. 

Types of Smokers

There are many smokers in the market that can be used for the cooking process. I am sure that you are going to find one that is perfect for you. Take a look at the different kinds. 

Charcoal Smokers

They are basic smokers that can be used for smoking. They can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. You can find a number of options for yourself. Charcoal is the fuel that you can use along with the wood that adds to the smoky flavor of the food that you are cooking. 

Electric Smokers

The electric smokers can heat up the heating element to burn the wood chips that are present in the smoker. This allows the heat and smoke to penetrate through the smoker and then cook the food. You can impart the smoky flavor as much as you want. They are generally vertical in shape and they can look like mini refrigerators. They are known as the set it and forget it kind of smokers. They are easy to manage and this gives a good flavor to the food that you are cooking. 

Gas Smokers

This kind of smoker uses the propane gas or natural gas to power up the smoker. They ignite the wood chips and it perfectly cooks the food. The digital controller is going to allow the user to control the temperature of the grill. They do not add that much heat in the cooking process. You are going to need some practice to get right on the gas smokers. 

Stick Burners — Offset Smokers

This is a simple kind of smoker that helps you burn the wood in a different place so that you get the smoke and heat from the side firebox. The smoke comes from the firebox and gets infused with the good food. Then it can pass over to the chimney so that it can get out of the smoker. 

Pellet Smokers

This is a very easy smoker that you can use according to your needs. The smoke chamber can maintain the temperature in the chamber. You can just preset the temperature according to the needs. Wood pellets are specifically used for the pellet smokers and you can go ahead to stock them up because they are pretty notorious for being difficult to find. The wood pellets can generate heat and smoke for food. 

Choosing Between a Grill or a Smoker — Questions to Ask Yourself

So if you are wondering what you should be buying for themselves then you are going to need some answers to your questions. When you have done this then you will have the answer to what you will need. Take a look at the questions that we have here and when you answer them honestly then you will have the perfect answer. 

Do You Even Like Smoked Food?

You should go ahead and try smoked food before you can decide what you have to get. If you are someone who have never tried smoked food and you are basing your liking on the food articles then you need to go ahead and check the taste to be sure. Unless you know that you like smoked food for sure then you should not go for a smoker. Try going to a barbecue joint that you trust in and then try the smoked food. 

What Sort of Foods do You Intend to Cook Outdoors?

There are so many things that you can cook. You have to understand which one is the best for you. Are you more prone to make complicated dishes or are you more of a simple cook. There are many good dishes that can be cooked easily. Some of them include hot dogs, hamburgers, sausages, chops, chicken breasts, and vegetables. If that is what you want to cook then a grill is good for you. They are the perfect option for a quick meal.

However, if you have the need for ribs and briskets then you need to go for the smoker. There are many additional features that you can use. Think about what you need to eat and then make a choice. Do not be very impatient with it. Take your time and then think about it. 

Do You Have Time and Patience for Smoking?

It takes a long time to smoke good food. We know that this kind of food might look delicious and the dream of smoking can feel incredible but if you are someone who does not have the patience then you are going to give it up. It takes a lot of effort for smoking. You have to keep a regular attention for using the smoker. You do not want to lose sight of the controller. You might end up ruining your food if you forger about it. Many people do not have the patience to wait for the food to cook. 12 hours is not child's play. So make sure that you understand what it entails. Do not go into the hobby without having a passion for it. Thats the first rule. 


Thank you so much for giving this article here a read. Both grills and smokers are perfect for cooking different kinds of food. The methods can differ according to the device that they have in the market. If you read the article then you know that there are many options for you to choose from. The smokers and grills have many types and can be used for the barbecue feast that you are going to throw. Thank you once again for giving this article here a read. Make sure that you have a lot of fun grilling. Do share the good food with your friends and family because food always tastes best with the people that you love around you. Take care guys!