Smoking Vs BBQ: What You Need to Know

Summer is a time for backyard barbecues, and smoking meat is a popular way to cook it. However, there are some important things you need to know about smoking meat compared to BBQing it, as these are different methods of cooking with their own benefits. In addition, while most individuals might be used to the standard practice of barbecuing, they might not necessarily be so familiar with smoking, a practice that’s usually reserved for long and slow cooking periods.

So before you start this blog post, we will discuss the differences between smoking meat and BBQing while also providing some tips on how to smoke meat correctly. We hope this information will help you have a safe and enjoyable summer barbecue season! Remember that you can always visit our online catalog for a full range of BBQ products and accessories to make your grill season a great experience.

The history of smoking and BBQ

For many people, smoking vs. BBQ is synonymous with one another. However, the history of these two cooking methods is actually quite different. Smoking has been used for centuries as a way to preserve food. The practice began in the Americas, where natives would use smoke to dry and flavour meats. 

This method eventually made its way to Europe, where it became popular among peasants who could not afford to keep their meat fresh, especially in a time without refrigerators. In time, smoking came to be associated with luxury, and chefs began to use it as a way to impart a unique flavour to their dishes.

Barbecue, on the other hand, is a much newer cooking method. It originated in the Caribbean, where locals would slow-cook meats over an open fire. This method eventually made its way to the United States, where it became popular during the 19th century. Today, BBQ is enjoyed all over the world, and it continues to evolve as new cultures add their own twists to the traditional cooking style.

These historical factors might not make a big difference in whether you decide to go with a smoker vs. a BBQ machine for your next cookout, but it does provide some context on why BBQing is more well-known and prevalent in the Americas. As such, smoking tends to be an outlier, and when comparing BBQ vs. smoking, it's clear that the latter might need more explanation. 

How smoking and BBQ are different

Smoking and barbecuing are both methods of cooking food with fire, but there are some key differences between the two. For example, smoking typically involves cooking food at a lower temperature over a longer period of time, while barbecuing is typically done at a higher temperature over a shorter period of time. 

This difference in cooking methods results in some key flavour differences as well. Smoking tends to give food a richer, more intense flavour, while barbecuing lends food a more subtle smoky flavour. In addition, smoking usually involves using wood chips or pellets to generate smoke, while barbecuing simply uses the direct heat of the fire. 

As a result, smoking is often used for meats that benefit from a longer cooking time and a more intense flavour, while barbecuing is better suited for quick-cooking foods like vegetables or hot dogs. This is not to say that you can’t smoke vegetables or that you can’t barbecue your favourite cuts of meat, but when comparing smoking vs. BBQing, it’s clear that each cooking method is more fit for specific types of food compared to the other.

The benefits of smoking vs. BBQ

Many people enjoy the taste of food that has been cooked over a smoky fire, but few realise that there are actually some benefits to smoking food rather than BBQing it. For one thing, smoking helps to infuse food with a greater depth of flavour. In addition, the smoky aroma is also known to stimulate appetite, making smoked foods more enticing. 

In addition, smoking can help to preserve food, as the smoke creates a barrier that prevents bacteria from growing. As a result, smoked meats and fish can last for weeks or even months without spoiling. Of course, it is important to use a quality smoker in order to get the best results, but for those who take the time to learn how to smoke food correctly, the rewards can be great.

Smoking tips for beginners

Smoking meat is a true art form. It takes patience, practice, and a lot of trial and error to perfect. However, anyone can start smoking meat at home with little guidance. Here are some easy-to-follow tips for smoking to help you finally decide on whether you’ll pick up smoking vs. BBQ for your get-togethers over the rest of the summer.

Choose the right smoker

The first step is to choose the right type of smoker. There are several different types on the market, and each has its own pros and cons. Do some research to find the one that best suits your needs. Depending on the features you prefer, one might have clear benefits over the other.

Determine your wood chip selection

Once you have your smoker, it's time to select your wood chips. Different woods will impart different flavours to the meat, so experiment to find the ones you like best. From applewood to hickory, there are several options available that will impart unique and distinct flavours into your meats and veggies, so make sure you try out several kinds to broaden your taste range. 

Smoking the meat right

When it comes time to actually smoke the meat, the most important thing in smoking vs. BBQ is to maintain a consistent temperature. Start by preheating your smoker to the desired temperature, then add your wood chips and meat. Set a timer and check on the meat every 30 minutes or so, adding more wood chips as needed. Remember, smoking meat is a slow process, so be patient and enjoy the journey. With a little practice, you'll be smoking like a pro in no time.


We hope this article has helped you understand the differences between smoking vs. BBQ, as well as what you need to know in order to start cooking like a pro. At Dickson BBQ, we want to help everyone have amazing grill-outs and backyard parties, so be sure to check out our website for all your grilling needs. Whether you’re looking for a new smoker, some accessories, or just some advice on how to get started, we’ve got you covered.