Summer is here, and that means another season of outdoor grilling, good times, and good food. While it’s true that if you look up the words, “barbecue” and “grilling” in the dictionary, they have different meanings, here in the Midwest both are used as an adverb, noun, or even a verb. Midwesterners talk about “barbecued chicken” or say, “I’m going to a barbecue” or “I’m going to grill tonight” and everyone knows what they are doing. So what DO barbecue and grilling actually mean? Let’s take a closer look at each one.

Grilling
Grilling (or direct and indirect grilling) has two basic requirements: quicker cooking times and medium to hot temperatures. According to Forkful.com, grilling “at its core is considered the most primitive of all the cooking methods.” In other words, grilling over a live fire is not that complicated! Whether you’re charcoal grilling, using gas, or grilling with wood, you’re simply cooking food over an open flame at higher temperatures. Grilled foods, like delicious steak recipes and veggie dishes, are universally appealing because, not only does grilling create those beautiful sear marks on the outside, it gives the food a light smoky flavor on the inside as well.

Before you get grilling, you should know what cuts of meat are typically used for your favorite summer grilling recipes. The most typical kinds of food grilled are those that take 20 minutes or less. These usually include steaks, pork chops, chicken, salmon and other fish filets, and hamburgers. You can even grill fruit and veggies! Just remember to pre-heat your grill, keep it clean, and close the lid when cooking; that is the secret to perfect grill marks and that awesome fire grilled taste.

Barbecue
Barbecue, on the other hand, is low and slow. All of your favorite barbecue joints? They likely cook their meat for up to 18 hours using low temperatures (between 250 and 300F). And there are four main styles of barbecue, to boot. They include Kansas City, Texas, Memphis, and Carolina-style. This kind of variety in the world of barbecue shows how customizable your own can be. The most typical foods barbecued are the cuts that need long cooking times to break down the fibers and develop a deep, rich smoky flavor. Cuts like: beef brisket, pork ribs, chicken wings, and even whole smoked turkeys and whole roasted pigs. Just remember to keep it low and slow.

What Do These Things Have in Common?
At this point, it might seem like grilling and barbecue have nothing in common. But that’s just on the surface! Above all else, grilling and barbecuing bring people together in the backyard, porch, or even the rooftop. Summer is a time for social cooking and social eating, and what goes better than some grilling or barbecue added to the mix?

Not sure how to grill your favorite steak recipes? That’s okay, you’re in good hands. If you’re ready to learn some great grilling tips and tricks with your friends, the Weber Grill Restaurant is here for you. And at Weber Grill Restaurants, our grill masters are the experts at both barbecue and grilling, which makes it easy to choose, because however you say it, our food will be both memorable and exceptionable. Collect new steak recipes, BBQ know-how, and an enjoyable grilling experience. What are you waiting for? Summer’s already here, so let’s fire up that grill.

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Written By Matt Jost, Corporate Chef