Grill vs Smoker – Which One is Better?

Buying a Grill vs a Smoker

Photo of a grill vs smoker

Grills and smokers are principal at summer cookouts; however, these cooking devices have some pretty big differences. For instance, grilling meat offers you a distinct taste that only seared meat (complete with burn marks) can give you. And the smoky flavor you get when using a smoker adds triggers your taste buds in a way like no other food can. And just as importantly, the way you cook with each system can differ greatly, changing everything from how you’ll prepare your food with each to how long you have to wait until your delicious food is properly cooked and ready to serve.

So, do these grill vs smoker differences add up to one being better than the other? That all depends on a few factors. And it may even all come down to personal preference. Let’s take a look at the similarities and the key differences between these two great outdoor cooking methods and see if it can help you decide what’s right for you.


Grills are found in most backyards around the world. These models can be powered by gas, electric, or charcoal. There are various opinions about which kind of grill offers the best flavor. Gas and charcoal are favored over electric units. Grilling permits you to cook faster, which means that foods require to be turned more often for even heating throughout the cooking process. The foods of your choice are capable of being grilled using low or high heat. Grills are generally more effective at cooking smaller portions of food such as steaks, chicken breasts, and chops.

Some advantages that grills provide include ease of use, faster cooking of foods, meats and vegetables preserve more vitamins, extra fats drip off meats which makes it a healthy way to cook, and foods remain moist and appetizing when basted. However, some drawbacks that you may encounter with a grill can include things like having to rotate or flip your food often to avoid burning. And charcoal grills can be challenging to get started for those who aren’t as experienced with using them.


Smokers use the smoke they produce in order to prepare food and can be fueled by electricity, wood, gas, or charcoal as a power source. Electric smokers and gas smokers are simpler to use and need less attention. Conversely, wood smokers and charcoal smokers offer a more genuine BBQ taste. Smokers commonly result in a similar design with a wood chip container and water basin positioned at the foot of the smoker compartment. In the water basin, you can either place sand or water inside. The wood offers the smoky taste to the food while also creating the smoke, and the sand or water aids in maintaining the interior temperature.

It is important to bear in mind that the kind of wood you pick will directly affect the taste of your food and that certain woods are better matched for particular foods.

Some advantages of using a smoker include that they provide a smoky flavor to your food, foods are generally tender and flavorful, electric smokers are accessible as well as convenient, they permit lengthy slow cooking with slight attention, and they give your food a genuine BBQ taste. Some disadvantages you may experience with a smoker may include difficulty controlling the temperature, wood and charcoal smokers need more attention, food safety can be a worry, and smoking foods takes a longer amount of time than most other types of cooking methods.

Key Differences Between Grills and Smokers

Smokers and grills can look a lot alike, but from there we can discuss how they differ. Here are a few of the main points that make each stand apart.

Heating Temperatures

Smokers and grills utilize diverse temperatures to heat foods. When you use a gas or charcoal grill, the interior temperature can be as high as – or higher than 400 degrees. This is due to the grill utilizing direct heat to prepare foods. Smokers use smoke to indirectly prepare food.

The interior temperature of a smoker can span anywhere amid 160 to 300 degrees. These lower temperatures are suitable for vegetables, cheese, and fish, while meats are smoked around 200 to 220 degrees.

Diverse Construct

A grill and a smoker can have comparable characteristics; however their interior designs are very diverse. Grills are constructed to utilize direct heat to cook foods while smokers are designed to use indirect heat to cook foods. While grilling, it does not matter if you are cooking your food using an electric, charcoal, or gas grill because the heat is applied precisely to foods and results in shorter cooking times. With a wood or charcoal smoker, heat is usually expelled into the cooking compartment from the fire cavity.

Cooking Method

Cooking methods that are utilized to grill meats are extremely diverse from the preparation methods that are utilized to smoke meats. While grilling, it’s crucial to rotate the food often to avoid it from being burned. The direct temperature that grills produce cook foods fast, which can burn food fast if the cook is not paying attention.

When you use a smoker, it is usually not crucial to rotate the food since indirect warmth is what prepares the food. The smoker produces an atmosphere much like that of an oven as it cooks food slowly and let’s more smoke aroma to access the food.

Nutrition Protection

Using a smoker is the best method to preserve your foods if it is prepared appropriately. Food preservation is a recipe that is not achievable when grilling foods. Before the invention of refrigerators, individuals depended on smoking as well as salting in order to uphold their foods.

Upholding meats is achieved through a method called hard smoking and the result is a lot like jerky. Methods use a large quantity of salt as meats are smoked at low heat until there is almost no moisture left in the meat. The salt inhibits the development of bacteria as well as the removal of the moistness from the meat.

Grills vs Smokers – Summary

To be honest, whether you choose to purchase a grill or a smoker will be contingent on your own personal liking and the kind of food you desire to cook. Grilling is an easy and straightforward means to prepare foods, while smoking will offer you with certain exclusive choices. For instance, you can utilize your smoker to make beef jerky or to smoke cheese. Both of these options are not methods that you are capable of achieving with a grill.

In contrast, grills let you cook foods fast, which explain why they are more appropriate for barbecues rather than smokers. You are able to prepare a large quantity of food in a moderately short span of time. Alternatively, smoking yields hours. For accessibility, most folks prefer grills however; it is difficult to overcome the taste that smokers offer.

Smoking is the desired choice for cuts of meat that are large such as briskets, ribs, hams, and roasts. It is likewise the best choice for creating jerky. Should the food will profit with a smoky taste and slow preparation is desired, than smoking is the most suitable option. However, cuts of meat that is small like steaks, chops, and chicken breasts are more suitably cooked on the grill.