Getting to the point
The difference between smoking and barbecuing meat is huge. Firstly, they are difficult to compare, as one is a high temperature cook, whilst the other uses the low and slow method.
Cooking meat at a high temperature:
- Is quicker
- Gives you that chargrilled taste
- Can dry food out
- Can overcook food quite easily
- Gives you a tender finished meat
- Keeps all the juices within the meat
- Gives you a lot more flavour
- Is a much slower cook
- Delivers a beautiful smoky flavour to the meat
If you’re in the middle of deciding on a BBQ smoker or a traditional BBQ, we would recommend that you always opt for a smoker. If you need something that has all the benefits of a BBQ smoker but with all the features and ease of use of a traditional BBQ, then opt for a pellet BBQ smoker.
A bit more detail
The BBQ market, long believed to be a summer activity fit only for a warm sunny day fuelled by beers and time with friends and family, is quickly expanding to encompass a much wider range than just a few chargrilled burgers and sausages.
Cooking meat outside is an art designed to be explored and experimented with; something which the teams at Pit Boss and Louisiana Grills have done. This has led to the creation of the pellet smoker – a new player on the BBQ smoker UK market which is creating waves due to its abilities to create an intense smoked flavour and the rich aromas that get picked up and distributed through the meat as it cooks.
With that said, it seems clear from the offset that smoking and barbecuing are two very different arts, but where are the links, and is one clearly any better than the other?
For us, it all comes down to preference. But when you really get into the heart of it, who doesn’t want a meat finish with a smoky flavour, soft and juicy texture, and a caramelised chargrilled exterior?
What does it really mean to barbecue meat?
Despite the umbrella term “barbecue”, there are in fact a number of different ways in which the modern market chooses to use a BBQ. These range from those disposable charcoal mini grills that picnickers and beachgoers buy for a lunchtime feast, right through to wood fired BBQ drums, open campfire flames, and the most technical and innovative advances in the gas BBQ market.
The fact is, barbecuing meat means to cook it over a grill, generally directly over the source of heat in order to achieve a quick and easy finish. When barbecuing over charcoal or wood, the flavour from the fuel source gets picked up by the meat during the cooking process a little, though the cooking time is usually so quick that the exterior of the meat become chargrilled before any of that flavour can really be absorbed into the meat itself. What you will find is that most of that aroma gets soaks up into your hair and clothes – and that you live with it for the rest of the day.
Using a gas grill is another matter entirely, removing the authentic flavour of a direct woodfired flame and replacing it with the control and power of a gas grill – completely regulated in terms of temperature and cook time by the user.
What does a smoker do?
When it comes to using a pellet smoker, the main thing to point out is that creators have learnt from the concepts that came before them. They combine the best bits of the direct charcoal and flame grill with the advantages of using a gas grill to create a superior BBQ smoker which is now dominating the BBQ market.
A pellet smoker relies on a controlled source of fuel in the form of 100% hardwood pellets, which can be fed into the grill via a small box on the side of the grill that funnels the pellets straight down into the cooking cavity. Once there, the pellets sit in a fire pit that produces the heat and smoke – and that’s where the real control comes in. Both Pit Boss and Louisiana Grills have designed pellet BBQ smokers where the user has complete control over the cooking style of their meat; giving them the ability to slide the cooking plate so that it either sits directly atop the fire for a flame-grilled finish, through to the indirect “low and slow” cooking method of smoking by only using the transference of heat and smoke for the cooking process.
What this means is that the meat takes longer to cook, but that the overall flavour and texture is far better than when compared to the flash grill of a standard BBQ; retaining all those important juices, and giving the meat plenty of time to really become infused with the power of the smoke coming from the pellets.
If you want to try something different for a midweek meal, that’s where the pellet smoker in particular really comes into its own. The adjustable cooking tray and digital control panel allow the smoker to turn from smoking machine into a grill, roasting oven or even a baking oven at the click of a button.
Above all, this gives the pellet smoker a real edge when it comes to usage. The pellet BBQ smoker is the perfect outdoor cooking tool all year round, as opposed to merely being used for those limited summer months.
How do I decide which is best for me, and what products should I start looking at?
The difference between a pellet smoker and a standard BBQ is that the pellet smoker boasts all the best bits of a BBQ – with a few added extras to make the user experience and overall effect that little bit better.
Louisiana Grills has taken this one step further to offer users a fully digitised experience with built-in WiFi and Bluetooth, allowing the grill to be completely controlled by a smartphone without ever detracting from the authentic smoked experience. Meanwhile, Pit Boss offers a complete range which offers the 8-in-1 advantage of a pellet BBQ smoker, giving you access to 8 complete cooking methods all within 1 grill.
When it comes to a direct comparison, the smoker will always win because of the complete control it gives you over a fully authentic wood smoked cooking environment. If versatility is what you’re looking for, Pit Boss and Louisiana Grills have both got it right. Pit Boss, in particular, offer a wide range of pellet smokers available in different sizes and with different features – including removable trays and shelves, adjustable heights and wheels for easy transport.
Buff BBQ provides the broadest range of pellet smokers now available on the BBQ smoker UK market, all with an industry-leading 5-year warranty.